Lease-option agreements* are common when acquiring personal property—such as dishwashers, washing machines, automobiles, and TVs—but are not as common for the acquisition of real property. Lease-option agreements are generally utilized in residential real estate acquisition when a home buyer would like to purchase a home, but needs to repair her credit rating in order to secure a promissory note and mortgage. The lease-option agreement allows a buyer to lease a property for a set period of time—typically between 1-3 years—with the option to buy the property at a contractual future date. “The negotiated option is typically a percentage of the price for example, one to five percent, and is credited, along with the rents and a rent premium, to the purchase price if the lessee buys the property. If the option to buy is not exercised, the buyer will lose the option fee and rent premium.” (Real Estate Law, p. 227).
*Also known as lease-to-own, rent-to-own, lease/purchase, lease with an option to purchase, or real options.
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NAR Library & Archives has already done the research for you. References (formerly Field Guides) offer links to articles, eBooks, websites, statistics, and more to provide a comprehensive overview of perspectives. EBSCO articles (E) are available only to NAR members and require a password.
Lease to Own: The Basics
Rent-to-Own Homes: How the Process Works (Investopedia, Dec. 10, 2018)
Rent-to-Own 101 (U.S. News, Nov. 20, 2018)
A New Twist on Rent-To-Own Housing (Marketplace, Aug. 6, 2018)
Is rent-to-own the future of housing? (HousingWire, Jan. 14, 2016)
Investors Bank on Rent-to-Own Comeback (REALTOR® Magazine, July 29, 2015)
How Do I Get a List of Rent to Own Homes? (realtor.com®, July 25, 2012)
How Do I Find A Realtor To Explain The Rent To Own Option? (realtor.com®, Apr. 6, 2012)
Lease-to-Own Contracts (UCLA School of Law, 2012)
Case Studies & Examples
A Valuation Framework for Rent-to-Own Housing Contracts (The Appraisal Journal, Summer 2014) E
Can I Get a Lease Option with Bad Credit? (realtor.com®, May 5, 2011)
A Growing Housing Imbalance (Mortgage Banking, Oct. 2011) E
Raising Capital Through Sale-Leasebacks (Public Management, Jun. 2010) E
Individual Taxation Developments (The Tax Adviser, Mar. 2012) E
Comparing Accounting and Taxation for Leases: Certified Public Accountant (The CPA Journal, Apr. 2009) E
Tax Considerations for Buying and Selling Property with a Burdensome Lease (Journal of Accountancy, 2009) E
Government Publications & Programs
State Agency Lease/Purchase Program (Washington State Treasurer’s Office)
Recent State Agency Lease/Purchase Interest Rates – Real Estate Only (Washington State Treasurer’s Office)
Definition from Washington State:
“Lease/Purchase Obligations (Real Estate) — Lease/purchase obligations are contracts entered into by the state which provide for the use and purchase of real or personal property, and provide for payment by the state over a term of more than one year. For reference, see RCW chapter 39.94 "Financing Contracts." Lease/purchase obligations are one type of lease-development alternative.” (Financial Budget Instructions Glossary of Terms, Washington State Office of Financial Management)
LFC Hearing Brief (New Mexico Legislative Finance Committee, Dec. 2007)
Instructions for the Lease/Purchase Analysis Modeling Tool (Idaho State Leasing Dept. of Administration)
eBooks & Other Resources
The following eBooks and digital audiobooks are available to NAR members:
Smart Guide to Real Estate: Step by Step Rent to Own (Kindle and eBook)
Books, Videos, Research Reports & More
The resources below are available for loan through Member Support. Up to three books, tapes, CDs and/or DVDs can be borrowed for 30 days from the Library for a nominal fee of $10. Call Member Support at 800-874-6500 for assistance.
Who Says You Can’t Buy a Home! HG 2040.5 R25w (2006)
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