Quick Takeaways

  • “A lease option is a contract in which a landlord and tenant agree that, at the end of a specified period, the renter can buy the property at a specified price. The tenant pays an up-front option fee and an additional amount each month that goes toward the eventual down payment.”
  • Lease option contracts are referred to by many names, such as a “rent to own” agreement, but they all mean the same thing!
  • Make sure to get details on the structure of the deal, including the agreement length, the option fee, and whether you or the landlord are responsible for maitenance and home repairs

Source: What to Know About “Lease Option to Buy” or Rent to Own Homes (Yahoo! Finance, Feb. 10, 2023)

Lease-Option purchases are a unique way to achieve homeownership. In a Lease-option purchase, often called “lease-to-buy” or “lease-to-own,” a renter enters into a legal contract with the owner of the property stating that a percentage of the rent will go toward purchasing the unit. Often, the purchase price and length of agreement are pre-determined. This method is great for those who need extra time to build up credit and savings or who simply want to test out an area before committing.

With record high home prices and record low inventory, would-be buyers are looking for creative ways to purchase homes, lease-option purchases included. Multiple startups have gotten in on the action, including Pathway Homes, which just spent $750 million dollars on lease-to-own options. This method can be used successfully in commercial real estate as well, especially for smaller, family-owned businesses.

Lease-Option purchases do come with a variety of tax and contract considerations. Make sure you familiarize yourself with IRS write-offs, property tax law, and IRS reclassification. The government has a variety of sources, listed above, to help you understand the ins and outs of lease-option purchases!

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