18 Questions to ask before renting-to-own a home

As a home buyer, it’s important to ask the right questions before settling on the purchase of a home.  This is a huge investment that you and your family (or future family) will live with for years to come, so it’s important to be prepared.

Even for homeowners interested in renting-to-own their home, it’s important to be prepared with the right questions ahead of time.  This can help you set the right goals ahead of time to ensure you enter an agreement that benefits you.

Questions you need to ask before buying or renting-to-own:  

  1. Is this home offered through a rent-to-own agreement or an owner financed agreement?
  2. What is the current asking price for the home?
  3. What data are have you looked at to help you determine the asking price?
  4. What monthly rent are you asking for in a rent-to-own situation?
  5. Do you require a deposit, or will you be charging any fees upfront?
  6. How much is the deposit/fees?
  7. What maintenance will the house require, and are you as the owner willing to do any of these repairs yourself?
  8. Would you consider financing a pre-purchase home inspection?
  9. Do you allow pets? If so are both dogs and cats allowed? Is there an extra pet-deposit to be aware of, or any breed restrictions?
  10. What is the option fee?
  11. Would you consider signing a lease option?
  12. How long have you or the current occupants lived in the home?
  13. Have you done any remodeling to the home or made any additions?
  14. Would you allow remodeling while the contract is in place?
  15. Do you have other qualified and interested buyers?
  16. Can you tell me more about the neighborhood and neighbors
  17. What can you tell me about nearby schools?
  18. How safe is the area, and is there a lot of crime to be aware of? Any particular types of crime tend to be more common?

While this is only a short list of questions you should ask, it should help in creating a dialogue that will allow you to ask more questions and probe for more information.  You should always try to find out as much information as possible before agreeing to rent-to-own or purchase a home.  Rent to own homes tend to get a bad reputation but many would-be-buyers enter the situation without educating themselves on the facts and risks ahead of time.  Make sure you do your due diligence and this can be a big win for you.