For many, the rent-to-own home may be the best option. Also called a lease-to-own house, the process works similar to a car lease: Renters pay a certain amount each month to live in the house, and at the end of a set period -- generally within one to three years -- they have the option to buy the house.
Each month of rent they pay is income for the seller, while a portion of it goes toward a down payment on eventually buying the home.
Both renters and sellers need to be very clear about the contract they draw up before they agree to this arrangement. Renting to own has advantages and disadvantages for both parties. Sellers who have already bought a new house will have relief from paying two mortgage payments at once, and in a slow housing market with many homes for sale, this may be their best option. Buyers who can't yet afford a house may be able to get one more quickly.
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