It can be easy to find an apartment to rent. You can simply just look up apartment complexes in your area, plan a visit to tour a unit and then sign a lease if you so desire.

It can be easy to find a house for sale. You can simply look at any of the many real estate websites, search for houses for sale in your area and many listings should pop up. The websites may even help you take the next steps to find a realtor to work with as well.

But what about rent-to-own homes? A quick online search for rent-to-own homes in your area may lead directly to a dead end.

Why is that? What can you do to actually find rent-to-own listings?

The good news is it is possible to find rent-to-own listings in your area. If you are an introvert, the bad news is you most likely cannot do it alone and will need to talk to a local real estate agent to help you find them. (If you are an extrovert, happy chatting!)

Here are some tips on how you can find rent-to-own listings in your area and where you can tend to find high volumes of rent-to-own properties as well.

How to Find Rent-to-Own Listings

The Internet can be a very helpful resource when you are looking to find something. Unfortunately, just trying to find online search results for rent-to-own homes on your own may be extremely difficult. You may have to do some serious digging because they may not show up easily.

Use an Experienced, Local Real Estate Agent

Your biggest key to success in finding rent-to-own listings is to enlist the help of a trustworthy, experienced local real estate agent. Any type of experienced real estate agent will be able to help you out by leaps and bounds compared to what you could do by yourself, but you should be specifically looking for someone who has abundant, previous rent-to-own agreement experience.

It is important to find an agent with previous rent-to-own agreement experience because those types of contracts can become murky and muddled quickly. An agent with a lot of experience can help you avoid certain messy situations and make the process smoother. This type of agent can also ensure the rent-to-own agreement is beneficial, not only to you, but to the seller as well.

Not to mention, your agent can reach out to sellers who have prime properties for rent-to-own situations and potentially convince them to choose to commit to a rent-to-own agreement over selling the property outright.

Additionally, a good, experienced agent can help guide you to look for rent-to-own listings in the right places. The agent should know where in your town is your best bet to find rent-to-own listings. Plus, the agent can set up specific searches on the Multiple Listing Services (MLS), which is the internal database all accredited real estate agents use to list and find properties for sale. The agent can set up an MLS search for you that can specifically bring up rent-to-own properties (1).

A good agent will also have an extensive network and can therefore find connections to potential rent-to-own sellers. They may even be able to help you find dedicated rent-to-own programs in your area. Plus, they will be able to help you with rent-to-own contract negotiations to ensure the seller is not trying to pull any type of fast one on you.

A Little About the Housing Market

It should be noted that, since the COVID-19 pandemic began in 2020, the housing market has become a seller’s market. In fact, according to Realtor® as of July 2021, the median home price in the US was $385,000, which was even up by 10% compared to July 2020 (2).

Despite home prices being high, the market is also moving quickly. Homes do not seem to last on the market for more than a week in certain areas of the country. Therefore, many sellers are not even entertaining the idea of rent-to-own agreements because they can simply sell the property fast and never have to deal with it again. The seller would not have to deal with a buyer not qualifying for a mortgage and potentially trashing the property once their lease expires in a rent-to-own agreement (1, 3).

Therefore, rent-to-own properties may be difficult to find in certain markets, but an experienced real estate agent should be able to help you find the ideal property for you and your family.

Where to Find Rent-to-Own Options

Aside from online, there are two good places to look for an abundance of potential rent-to-own houses.

The first place is in smaller cities or towns where real estate markets are typically slower than in densely populated urban areas (3). The issue with a “slow real estate market” right now is the fact the housing market is moving extremely fast, so there really are not too many areas with a “slow market.”

The second place is to look at towns where the housing market is beginning to slow down and/or has the highest rates of for-sale home prices being slashed (2). If home prices are being slashed in these markets and the homes still are not selling, the sellers may be interested in pursuing rent-to-own agreements to eventually get the property off their hands if they have not been able to sell it outright.

From April 2021 to June 2021, Realtor® collected data and found the top ten cities (without repeating states) in the United States where home prices have been slashed the most include Des Moines, IA; Midland, TX; Toledo, OH; Metairie, LA; Philadelphia, PA; Portland, OR; Anchorage, AK; Winter Park, FL; Oklahoma City, OK; and Peoria, IL (2).

If you live near those areas and you are interested in pursing a rent-to-own agreement, it may be worth looking for properties in those areas.

Additionally, GoBankingRates conducted a study towards the end of 2021 and created a list of housing markets that were lagging behind the national averages due to foreclosure rates and underwater mortgages; an underwater mortgage happens when a home is worth less than what is still owed on it. The study found that Florida had the highest amount of cities with troubling housing markets while Illinois had the second highest amount (4).

Any city on the GoBankingRates’ list could be worth looking at to see if there are any eligible rent-to-own homes listed that could pique your interest. It should also be noted that a home that is currently in foreclosure is legally not eligible to become a rent-to-own property. Though a home in pre-foreclosure can legally become a rent-to-own property (1).

If you are in the market for a rent-to-own property, but are not sure where to even begin your search for such properties, then this advice can help you find rent-to-own listings in your area as well as help figure out where you can tend to find high volumes of rent-to-own properties.

Additional Resources

(1) — 


(3)Quicken Loans 

(4)Go Banking Rates