It’s important to note that there are different types of rent-to-own contracts, with some being more consumer friendly and flexible than others. Lease-option contracts give you the right – but not the obligation – to buy the home when the lease expires. If you decide not to buy the property at the end of the lease, the option simply expires, and you can walk away without any obligation to continue paying rent or to buy.
A foreclosure, as in the actual act of a lender seizing a property, is typically the final step after a lengthy pre-foreclosure process, which can include several alternatives to foreclosure including many that can mediate a foreclosure's negative consequences for both the buyer and the seller. As with foreclosures, states have their own laws to handle this process.
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Once you fully understand all the terms of the rent-to-own agreement -- and have had an attorney look it over and provide feedback -- it’s time to finalize the deal. Of course, signatures from both parties will be required at this time, as well as upfront payments such as the agreed-upon “option fee,” the monetary consideration that is necessary to make the rent-to-own contract binding.