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.
Rent to own homes offer a popular alternative for bargain home buyers and sellers. For buyers who do not have an adequate downpayment available, or are having difficulty qualifying for a traditional home loan, a rent to own (also referred to as 'lease option', 'lease to own', or 'owner financed') agreement can provide a smoother path to homeownership. In a rent to own arrangement, the buyer and seller typically agree to designate a portion of the monthly rent paid is applied to the purchase of the property. The home's purchase price is usually agreed to in advance so there is reduced risk of an increased price at the future purchase date.
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.
Recent housing studies indicate that minority households disproportionately experience foreclosures. Other overly represented groups include African Americans, renter households, households with children, and foreign-born homeowners. For example, statistics show that African American buyers are 3.3 times more likely than white buyers to be in foreclosure, while Latino and Asian buyers are 2.5 and 1.6 times more likely, respectively. As another statistical example, over 60 per cent of the foreclosures that occurred in New York City in 2007 involved rental properties. Twenty percent of the foreclosures nationwide were from rental properties. One reason for this is that the majority of these people have borrowed with risky subprime loans. There is a major lack of research done in this area posing problems for three reasons. One, not being able to describe who experiences foreclosure makes it challenging to develop policies and programs that can prevent/reduce this trend for the future. Second, researchers cannot tell the extent to which recent foreclosures have reversed the advances in homeownership that some groups, historically lacking equal access, have made. Third, research is focused too much on community-level effects even though it is the individual households that are most strongly affected. Many people cite their own or their family members medical conditions as the primary reason for undergoing a foreclosure. Many do not have health insurance and are unable to adequately provide for their medical needs. This again points to the fact that foreclosures affects already vulnerable populations. Credit scores are greatly impacted after a foreclosure. The average number of points reduced when you are 30 days late on your mortgage payment is 40 - 110 points, 90 days late is 70 - 135 points, and a finalized foreclosure, short sale or deed-in-lieu is 85 - 160 points.
Because the right of redemption is an equitable right, foreclosure is an action in equity. To keep the right of redemption, the debtor may be able to petition the court for an injunction. If repossession is imminent, the debtor must seek a temporary restraining order. However, the debtor may have to post a bond in the amount of the debt. This protects the creditor if the attempt to stop foreclosure is simply an attempt to escape the debt.
The vast majority (but not all) of mortgages today have acceleration clauses. The holder of a mortgage without this clause has only two options: either to wait until all of the payments come due or convince a court to compel a sale of some parts of the property in lieu of the past due payments. Alternatively, the court may order the property sold subject to the mortgage, with the proceeds from the sale going to the payments owed the mortgage holder.
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.