Getting the down payment and a loan to go with it for a house can be a challenge, especially if your credit score is low. However, rent to own homes offer a unique opportunity for renters who dream of being able to paint and upgrade their residence as they see fit. Typically rent to own homes have the occupant pay rent for three or more years while living on the property. After that time period is up, the renter has the option to become the buyer with a portion of the rent payments made over the last few years to go toward the total purchase price. Sellers will offer rent to own homes for a number of reasons. In a slow moving housing market, it has become more difficult to find a buyer who is interested, has a decent enough credit score to get a loan and has the ability to put up the required down payment. While there are program such as the Federal Housing Administration that don’t require a large down payment, not every potential buyer nor house will qualify for that or other programs. This is one of the reasons the housing market has been so slow as of late — there just are not many families or individuals who have perfect enough credit to obtain a traditional loan. Renting to own also provides you a chance to test the waters before jumping head first into a purchase. This is a major advantage buyers have when they rent to own – unexpected pest problems, structural issues and other common house concerns won’t surprise you when you look purchase the home because you will have lived there for three years. Many first time home owners think they have received a deal on a property, only to find out it has costly problems or compliance issues that need to be fixed. Anyone considering rent to own homes should read the contract carefully. Both the buyer/renter and seller should be clear on how the arrangement will work and how either party can back out if necessary. If you don’t agree with the terms of an agreement, negotiate for better terms or don’t sign. There is also a chance the owner may back out of the deal after the initial three or more year period is up, so gauge the willingness of the buyer upfront to determine if they are truly interested in selling.