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.


Rent-to-own agreements should specify when and how the home’s purchase price is determined. In some cases, you and the seller will agree on a purchase price when the contract is signed – often at a higher price than the current market value. In other situations, the price is determined when the lease expires, based on the property's then-current market value. Many buyers prefer to “lock in” the purchase price, especially in markets where home prices are trending up.
"Strict foreclosure" available in some states is an equitable right of the foreclosure sale purchaser. The purchaser must petition a court for a decree that cancels any junior lien holder's rights to the senior debt. If the junior lien holder fails to object within the judicially established time frame, his lien is canceled and the purchaser's title is cleared. This effect is the same as the strict foreclosure that occurred in English common law of equity as a response to the development of the equity of redemption.
A dual-tracking process appeared to be in use by many lenders, however, where the lender would simultaneously talk to the borrower about a "loan modification", but also move ahead with a foreclosure sale of the borrower's property. Borrowers were heard to complain that they were misled by these practices and would often be "surprised" that their home had been sold at foreclosure auction, as they believed they were in a "loan modification process". California has enacted legislation to eliminate this type of "dual-tracking" - The Homeowner Bill of Rights - AB 278, SB 900, That went into effect on January 1, 2013.[27]

Several U.S. states, including California,[17] Georgia,[18] and Texas[19] 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.
The process of foreclosure can be rapid or lengthy and varies from state to state. Other options such as refinancing, a short sale, alternate financing, temporary arrangements with the lender, or even bankruptcy may present homeowners with ways to avoid foreclosure. Websites which can connect individual borrowers and homeowners to lenders are increasingly offered as mechanisms to bypass traditional lenders while meeting payment obligations for mortgage providers. Although there are slight differences between the states, the foreclosure process generally follows a timeline beginning with initial missed payments, moving to a sale being scheduled and finally a redemption period (if available).[citation needed]
In other words, to challenge an allegedly wrongful foreclosure, the borrower must make legal tender of the entire remaining balance of the debt prior to the foreclosure sale. California has one of the strictest forms of this rule, in that the funds must be received by the lender before the sale. One tender attempt was held inadequate when the check arrived via FedEx on a Monday, three days after the foreclosure sale had already occurred on Friday.[20]
In a rent-to-own agreement, you (as the buyer) pay the seller a one-time, usually nonrefundable, upfront fee called the option fee, option money or option consideration. This fee is what gives you the option to buy the house by some date in the future. The option fee is often negotiable, as there’s no standard rate. Still, the fee typically ranges between 2.5% and 7% of the purchase price.
The highest bidder at the auction becomes the owner of the real property, free and clear of interest of the former owner, but possibly encumbered by liens superior to the foreclosed mortgage (e.g., a senior mortgage, unpaid property taxes, weed/demolition liens). Further legal action, such as an eviction, may be necessary to obtain possession of the premises if the former occupant fails to voluntarily vacate.

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.
In the proceeding simply known as foreclosure (or, perhaps, distinguished as "judicial foreclosure"), the lender must sue the defaulting borrower in state court. Upon final judgment (usually summary judgment) in the lender's favor, the property is subject to auction by the county sheriff or some other officer of the court. Many states require this sort of proceeding in some or all cases of foreclosure to protect any equity the debtor may have in the property, in case the value of the debt being foreclosed on is substantially less than the market value of the real property; this also discourages a strategic foreclosure by a lender who wants to obtain the property. In this foreclosure, the sheriff then issues a deed to the winning bidder at auction. Banks and other institutional lenders may bid in the amount of the owed debt at the sale but there are a number of other factors that may influence the bid, and if no other buyers step forward the lender receives title to the real property in return.

Foreclosure by power of sale, also called nonjudicial foreclosure, and is authorized by many states if a power of sale clause is included in the mortgage or if a deed of trust with such a clause was used, instead of an actual mortgage. In some US states, like California and Texas, nearly all so-called mortgages are actually deeds of trust. This process involves the sale of the property by the mortgage holder without court supervision (as elaborated upon below). This process is generally much faster and cheaper than foreclosure by judicial sale. As in judicial sale, the mortgage holder and other lien holders are respectively first and second claimants to the proceeds from the sale.

Acceleration is a clause that is usually found in Sections 16, 17, or 18 of a typical mortgage in the US. Not all accelerations are the same for each mortgage, as it depends on the terms and conditions between lender and obligated mortgagor(s). When a term in the mortgage has been broken, the acceleration clause goes into effect. It can declare the entire payable debt to the lender if the borrower(s) were to transfer the title at a future date to a purchaser. The clause in the mortgage also instructs that a notice of acceleration must be served to the obligated mortgagor(s) who signed the Note. Each mortgage gives a time period for the debtor(s) to cure their loan. The most common time periods allot to debtor(s) is usually 30 days, but for commercial property it can be 10 days. The notice of acceleration is called a Demand and/or Breach Letter. In the letter it informs the Borrower(s) that they have 10 or 30 days from the date on the letter to reinstate their loan. Demand/Breach letters are sent out by Certified and Regular mail to all notable addresses of the Borrower(s). Also in the acceleration of the mortgage the lender must provide a payoff quote that is estimated 30 days from the date of the letter. This letter is called an FDCPA (Fair Debt Collections Practices Acts) letter and/or Initial Communication Letter. Once the Borrower(s) receives the two letters providing a time period to reinstate or pay off their loan the lender must wait until that time expires in to take further action. When the 10 or 30 days have passed that means that the acceleration has expired and the Lender can move forward with foreclosing on the property.


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.[7] 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.[8]

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.

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