In a typical home purchase, the sale takes place shortly after the offer has been accepted, and the transaction is completed at closing. Since most buyers don’t have the money to pay cash, a mortgage is usually used to finance the purchase: The buyer puts down a certain percentage of the purchase price (the down payment), then pays the lender in regular installments over a period of time until the balance is paid off in full.
To qualify for a mortgage, however, potential buyers need to have a good credit score and cash for a down payment. Without these, purchasing a home in the traditional way may not be an option. There is an alternative: a rent-to-own agreement. When buyers sign this kind of contract, they agree to rent the home for a set amount of time before exercising an option to purchase the property when or before the lease expires.
Here’s how rent to own works, and when it may be a good choice for someone looking to buy a home.