So, you just signed your rent-to-own agreement, Congratulations! Chances are this is your first time, but even if it’s not, we need to have a little chat. When entering into any big investment, it’s important that you stay on top of everything and know what’s going on so you can rise to success.

Let’s take a look at some crucial tips and tricks that will help you come out on top as the new homeowner of your dream home!

Maintain your good credit score

Many companies that offer rent-to-own options advertise they can work with sub-par credit scores. Where this can be a great thing for a lot of people, it’s not an excuse to become complacent if you’re approved when you have less-than-favorable credit. It’s true paying your monthly rent and fees on time during your tenancy will increase your credit score, but be aware, it’s not the only thing that will. Now, more than ever, it’s vital that you set a sustainable budget and stick with it. Overspending and unnecessary purchases that lead to carrying a credit card balance should be avoided at all costs.

Don’t stop saving

It’s always a good idea to be over-prepared than under-prepared. The fact that your monthly payments compile into your down payment is awesome. But be aware the down payment is most likely not the only thing that needs to be paid upon the end of your rental term. Being prepared with a good savings account will help the purchase transaction of your home go smooth for everyone. In the end, when you’re applying for a mortgage, the people that come out on top are the ones that have physical proof that they never stopped saving.

Establish rapport with the seller

Building good relationships is a key skill you should have in your arsenal. By no means do you have to become best friends with the seller, but it’s key that you show some amount of interest in building a solid relationship. This will only play to your benefit, as nobody wants to be in a legally binding contract with someone they don’t like, especially when the destiny of the house is at stake. Be friendly and always uphold your end of the bargain, and you can expect to receive the same in return.

Take care of the home

This goes hand-in-hand with establishing rapport with the seller. During your rental period, you don’t own the home yet. If the seller sees you are incapable of taking care of the home, this can not only sour the relationship between you two, but also put you in a not so good spot in the end. Though every rent-to-own agreement is different, most contain a clause which states you will be responsible for the basic maintenance and care of the home as well as all utilities, just as you would if you were the homeowner. This could be things as simple as a hole in the wall or as major as a broken dishwasher. If something breaks, it’s in your best interest to get it fixed! 

Don’t make too many costly renovations just yet

Finally, being in a house that you will most likely own is exciting to say the least. If you’re a visionary, you probably started imagining all the possibilities and changes you wanted to make before even seeing the home in person. It’s great to have a plan and vision, but maybe hold off on putting the pricey ones into motion. In most cases, you may still have to get approval of the seller for certain changes and, in an attempt to compromise, it may turn out to be different than what you had originally planned and wanted. Especially in a lease-option agreement, nothing would be worse than sinking a boat load of money into a project only to discover later that you really don’t like the house and aren’t going to be staying.


Keeping all these tips in mind will help you to have the best rent-to-own experience. Along with being in-the-know yourself, it’s a great asset to have professionals on your side that are rooting for your success all along the way. Sit down with a real estate lawyer and the seller to thoroughly go over who is responsible for what and you should be on your way for a smooth transition to becoming a homeowner.