Are you thinking about moving forward with a rent-to-own home purchase agreement? It can be an excellent way to own your own home, even if you have less-than-perfect credit, cannot put down a significant amount for a down payment, or have other challenges to tackle.
The rent-to-own process can be complex and challenging, so doing it yourself is far from recommended. Instead, moving toward owning the home of your dreams will be smooth sailing with the help of experts. Even if you know a lot about buying houses, these individuals will provide a lot of value during this process.
When you work with an experienced and knowledgeable realtor, the process of getting a rent-to-own home will be less overwhelming (1). The agent can represent you and the things you need to ensure the entire process goes smoothly and you end up with a home you love.
Make sure your realtor knows your priorities, goals, deal-breakers, and must-haves. You’ll also want to share information about your finances. All of these things will be considered as the realtor searches for the right rent-to-own home to meet your budget and needs.
While you may have about three years to move from leasing to buying the home, the lender is going to be the person who helps you actually own the home. Choosing this person carefully is essential since some loan types and lenders are better than others. Keep in mind, you will be working with this person for years as you pay for the home.
Prequalification will give you an idea of how much you can borrow, while preapproval helps with any potential negotiations. Since you’ll be buying a home you already live in and know well, an approval letter is what you really need to move into the following stages of homeownership.
Lenders work with you through the process of buying a home. They also handle insurance payments and taxes until the house is completely paid off. This makes it crucial to choose a reliable lender that you can trust.
A home inspector is another professional needed for your rent-to-own home. Since a home is a considerable investment, the last thing you want is to realize the house has major issues, or you’ll have to pay for hefty repairs in the future. A home inspector will thoroughly inspect the home’s condition, find any problems, and determine the cost of repairs.
Whether the problems are related to plumbing, electrical or structural factors, a talented home inspector will find those things and will know how much repairs might cost. This can be used to negotiate price or even to help you choose to walk away from a bad rent-to-own situation so you can spend your time in a home that is more appropriate for you.
In addition to a general home inspector, you may also need specialty inspectors. For example, based on the condition and age of the home, you might need to have the space inspected for lead paint or mold. In addition, you may need a radon inspector and asbestos inspector to be sure neither of those toxic materials is present.
Despite what many think, an appraiser is not the same thing as a home inspector (2). Rather than inspecting the home for current problems and future issues, the appraiser has a different job. This person will provide a professional and unbiased evaluation that gives you insight into the home’s value that you are planning to own through a rent-to-own process.
Many different factors come into play for home value, including comparable home sales prices in the same neighborhood, interior and exterior conditions, and the size of the home. Amenities and extras can also play into the cost of the rent-to-own home. The appraiser will ensure the home is worth the money you will pay for it and let you know whether you’re getting a deal for the property.
A title company or officer can also play a part in the rent-to-own process. Rather than inspecting the home itself, they will look through public records to ensure it has a legal title and can be sold. In addition, this person will ensure there are no liens, unpaid taxes, or outstanding mortgage payments on the house before you are given ownership of it.
Once that has been completed, you will receive a title insurance policy. This provides protection for you from any claims about the ownership of the property. It also protects the lender in the same way.
Real Estate Lawyer
Depending on location, a real estate lawyer may be required to be present at closing on the home (A). However, hiring a real estate attorney is a good idea, even if it’s not an official requirement. This person will ensure you avoid risks and get through the home buying process without any issues.
The real estate attorney can resolve disputes about the home sale and review and prepare documents. This is important in rent-to-own situations, as well as with inherited property or distressed homes. Your attorney will also be at the home closing to represent you and your interests.
There are different real estate laws by state and city, so a real estate attorney can give you peace of mind and ensure nothing goes wrong throughout the process.
Home insurance is also an essential part of owning a home (3). Even a standard policy will protect your property and house when damaged by accidents, water damage, theft, and most natural disasters. It pays for rebuilding or repairs if the property is damaged and covers additional living expenses, personal belongings, and liability protection.
The actual coverage needed for your rent-to-own home will depend on the house’s condition, age, location, and what kind of loan you have taken out. Lenders will typically require home insurance as long as you are paying off the home.
Having all the right people on your team will make the process of buying a rent-to-own home much more manageable. Everyone from a realtor to a home inspector and real estate lawyer can make the process go off without a hitch. Each of these professionals is there to help and protect you throughout the process.
(A) — The Best Real Estate Lawyers Across the United States
(1) – Realtor®.com
(2) – Investopedia – Home Appraisals
(3) – Insurance Information Institute