Lease/Purchase . . . is it right for you?

Real Estate Agent with Crye-Leike

My basic thought on Lease/Purchases is that they are generally not a great idea for buyers.  Here are some specific thoughts on this:

  • If you seek out a lease/purchase, your selection is limited and you must "settle" on a home that may not really be your dream home.
  • You typically have to put down a substantial deposit, that you generally will lose if you do not complete the purchase at the end of the term.
  • During the time that you are leasing and waiting to purchase, you are typically the one responsible for the upkeep of the property.
  • You very seldom have much negotiating power in the transaction, because you are not a sure sale for the seller.
  • If the seller is gets in financial trouble and loses the house to the mortgage company, you risk losing the place you live and the money that you put down on it. 

Most folks who seek out a Lease/Purchase are usually doing so because they do not yet have the credit qualifications to secure a mortgage.  If you fall in this category, my suggestions to you would be:

  • Simply rent for now.  The deposit is typically much less, and typically as long as you fulfill the terms of the lease and leave the home/apartment in the same or better shape, you will get your deposit back.
  • Work hard at getting your credit in order so that when you are done renting you can actually buy.  If you will do this, then when your credit is in line, the whole world is your oyster!!  You have a much wider selection of properties to choose from, so you probably won't have to compromise your wants/needs . . . PLUS you have much more negotiating power . . . because now you are a strong buyer!!

If you are a seller who is considering offering up your property for lease/purchase . . . let me warn you that THEY VERY RARELY WORK OUT.  Most of the time you will end up with the house back and typically it is not in as good as shape as it started out . . . so selling it becomes even harder.  If you do decide to accept a lease/purchase contract, be sure to get a substantial deposit to protect your investment in the property.

No matter what side of the transaction you fall on (buyer or seller), be sure to seek out the assistance of a Realtor who has experience in lease/purchase transactions.

Tracy Kirkley

Crye-Leike Realtors




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David Saks
(retired) - Memphis, TN

Due dilligence is in order for the client, Tracy, because of the potential of foreclosure to any property being offered for lease-purchase. Unscrupulous management groups have been known to lease-purchase properties that are in default and never make the payments on the mortgage, and the tenant has no knowledge of this until the eviction notice is served. This is reported to be a common occurrence in this day and age, although I'd like to see the national stats on this type of situation. Very fine post, and great lessons to be learned here, and shared.

Jul 11, 2009 03:23 PM #1
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