If a property fails to sell at a foreclosure auction or if it otherwise never went through one, lenders — often banks — typically take ownership of the property and may add it to an accumulated portfolio of foreclosed properties, also called real-estate owned (REO). Foreclosed properties are typically easily accessible on banks' websites. Such properties can be attractive to real estate investors because in some cases, banks sell them at a discount to their market value, which of course, in turn negatively affects the lender. (See more on this here: Buying a Foreclosed Home).
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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.
Just remember, you will need to get the seller to agree on not only the rent to own agreement, but the terms of the agreement. i. e., length of the agreement, usually, one to two years; the percentage of the rent which gets applied to the sales price or closing costs, etc. If you get lucky, the seller may also be interested in doing Seller Financing with you. Just be sure to have a lawyer review any agreement before you sign it. A little legal cost upfront could save you thousands of dollars down the road.