As the end of the rent-to-own contract nears, it’s a smart idea to address any minor problems that the home inspection turned up. It’s also a good idea to make small cosmetic improvements and upgrades as needed, if possible, to help increase the value of the home prior to applying for a mortgage loan. It’s called sweat equity … and it can make a big difference when it’s time to negotiate favorable mortgage loan terms.
Several U.S. states, including California, Georgia, and Texas impose a "tender" condition precedent upon borrowers seeking to challenge a wrongful foreclosure, which is rooted in the maxim of equity principle that "he who seeks equity must first do equity", as well as the common law rule that the party seeking rescission of a contract must first return all benefits received under the contract.
When the remaining mortgage balance is higher than the actual home value, the foreclosing party is unlikely to attract auction bids at this price level. A house that has gone through a foreclosure auction and failed to attract any acceptable bids may remain the property of the owner of the mortgage. That inventory is called REO (real estate owned). In these situations, the owner/servicer tries to sell it through standard real estate channels.
The impact of foreclosure goes beyond just homeowners but also expands to towns and neighborhoods as a whole. Cities with high foreclosure rates often experience more crime and thefts with abandoned houses being broken into, garbage collecting on lawns, and an increase in prostitution. Foreclosures also impact neighboring housing sales on two levels—space and time. For any given time frame, foreclosures have a greater negative impact when they are closer to the property attempting to be sold. The conventional view suggested is that the increase in foreclosures will cause declines in the sales value of neighboring properties, which, in turn, will lead to an extension of the housing crisis. Another significant impact from increased foreclosure rates is on school mobility of children. In general, research suggests that switching schools is damaging for children, although this does significantly depend on the quality of the origin and destination schools. A study done in New York City revealed that students who changed schools most often entered a school with lower, on average, test scores and overall school performance. The effect of these moves on academic performance for individual students requires further research. Foreclosures also have an emotional and physical effect on people. In one particular study of 250 recruited participants who had experienced foreclosure, 36.7% met screening criteria for major depression.
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It’s normally not necessary to commission a home inspection on a traditional home rental, but remember that rent-to-own is not a traditional home rental. This is a short- and long-term investment that requires the utmost attention to detail. And the small upfront cost of a home inspection could save you literally thousands down the road. Therefore, hire an independent home inspection professional to uncover any problems the house may potentially have. It’s important to do this even if the current homeowner furnishes a disclosure statement that attests to the condition of the home. If the independent home inspector points out problems, it’s important to determine whether or not the issues will prevent you from getting a future home loan once the rent-to-own term ends. Therefore, make sure the contract specifies who is responsible for making the necessary repairs discovered during the inspection prior to finalizing the rent-to-own agreement. The homeowner might offer a credit off the final purchase price at the end of the rent-to-own in lieu of payment for damages. Either way, be sure to get everything in writing before finalizing a rent-to-own contract.