If you think this is just like renting, you are wrong. The problem with renting is you are paying a monthly fee without having anything to show for it after the fact. Imagine living in that place for years and years! You are potentially paying thousands of dollars for the years to come. With rent to own homes, your money goes towards ownership. Meaning, it is just like renting but working towards actually owning the property yourself instead of throwing your hard earned money down the drain.
In some US states, particularly those where only judicial foreclosure is available, the constitutional issue of due process has affected the ability of some lenders to foreclose. In Ohio, the US federal district court for the Northern District of Ohio has dismissed numerous foreclosure actions by lenders because of the inability of the alleged lender to prove that they are the real party in interest. The same happened in a Colorado district court case in June 2008.
In this "power-of-sale" type of foreclosure, if the debtor fails to cure the default, or use other lawful means (such as filing for bankruptcy to temporarily stay the foreclosure) to stop the sale, the mortgagee or its representative conduct a public auction in a manner similar to the sheriff's auction. Notably, the lender itself can bid for the property at the auction, and is the only bidder that can make a "credit bid" (a bid based on the outstanding debt itself) while all other bidders must be able to immediately (or within a very short period of time) present the auctioneer with cash or a cash equivalent like a cashier's check. In May 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court, resolved uncertainty surrounding a secured creditor's right to credit bid in a sale under a Chapter 11 bankruptcy plan. In RadLAX Gateway Hotel, LLC v. Amalgamated Bank, 566 U.S. ______ (2012), the Court found it was obligated to interpret the bankruptcy code “clearly and predictably using well established principles of statutory construction” resolving the lingering uncertainties of credit bidding under a chapter 11 plan and upholding secured creditors’ rights.
Be sure that maintenance and repair requirements are clearly stated in the contract (ask your attorney to explain your responsibilities). Maintaining the property – e.g., mowing the lawn, raking the leaves and cleaning out the gutters – is very different from replacing a damaged roof or bringing the electric up to code. Whether you’ll be responsible for everything or just mowing the lawn, have the home inspected, order an appraisal and make sure the property taxes are up to date before signing anything.
Rent-to-own homes will typically cost a bit more than the fair market value of other home rentals in the area. That’s because a portion of the monthly rent-to-own payment will be designated as a “rent credit” -- up to 20 percent of the monthly amount due -- will go toward the purchase of the home when the agreed-upon term expires. It’s important to make these monthly rent-to-own payments on time and as scheduled.