At Last, The Secrets of Rent-to-Own Homes

At Last The Secrets of Rent-to-Own Homes- 150x150The real estate market has several solutions for both home buyers and home sellers. One solution for those who wish to buy a home, but don’t have the money for such a large purchase yet, is renting-to-own, also known as a lease option. People who choose this option will pay rent for the home that they live in, but are given the possibility of purchasing the home at a later date. The rent that people who choose the lease option will have to pay is higher than a regular rent, but the advantage is that part of the rent will be credited to the buyer if he or she decides to purchase the home.

A rent-to-own agreement allows the buyer to purchase the home that he is currently renting at any time before the agreement expires. The length of time in which the home can be purchased can be a few months or even years. Because the rent is higher than usual, sellers can afford to take their property off the market and rent it. However, if the renter decides to buy the property, he or she will be credited with a portion of the rent. This sum of money can be put toward a down payment and closing fees, or simply used for something else. If the buyer is unable to or decides not to buy the property during the lease option period, the entire amount that was paid as rent over the past months or years will remain with the seller.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Rent-to-Own Homes

The rent-to-own option is advantageous to sellers because it gives them an alternative to lowering the price of a home that they are having problems selling. By making a rent-to-own agreement with a buyer, sellers know exactly how much money they will be making if the buyer decides to go ahead and make the purchase. If home prices go down during the lease option period, the asking price for the seller’s home will remain unchanged, and the buyer might still want to buy the property because he or she has already invested money in it by paying a higher rent. The seller is also at an advantage because the rent money can be used to pay the mortgage, property taxes and insurance. Also, a renter who signs a rent-to-own agreement will most likely take better care of the property, because they are planning on buying it in the near future.

Buyers are advantaged by the rent-to-own option because it allows them to buy a home if they don’t have the money for the down payment, or their income is not sufficient. If a buyer believes that his or her income will increase in the near future, renting-to-own allows them to have a roof over their heads while having the option of buying the home at a later date, when their financial situation improves. Buyers are also protected from a home price increase during the lease option period, because the price of the home will be locked in.

Buyers also have almost all the advantages that regular renters have, like not having to worry about repairs, property taxes, and homeowners insurance. Another advantage of renting-to-own that the buyer has is that, by living in the home for a long period of time, he can find out if there is anything wrong with it. If buyers decide to walk away from the deal, they only lose the extra amount of money that they paid over regular rent, but if they decide to buy the home, they will be credited with a portion of the rent that they paid.

Like everything in the real estate world, renting-to-own also has its disadvantages. Most disadvantages are things that could go wrong with the rent-to-own agreement. Here’s what you should keep in mind and look out for:

  • The seller’s financial situation. Try to find out if the seller is in any financial trouble. Red flags can be spots on his credit report, phone calls from debt collectors, or letters sent to the house. If the seller is in trouble, he can lose the home while you are still renting it. Meaning that you will lose the extra money paid as rent and you will have to find a new place to live.
  • Repairs and maintenance. The rent-to-own agreement between you and the seller should clearly mention which party is responsible in case of damage to the property, and who is responsible with maintaining the property. During the renting period, you should have the same rights as any renter, meaning that the owner should take care of repairs and maintenance.
  • The end of the rent-to-own period. If home prices have increased, the seller might not want to sell anymore. Unless you have the money to hire a lawyer and sue the seller, there is little you can do, so this is one of the risks that you are taking when renting-to-own. Also, if home prices go down and you want to buy the home, you will still have to pay the price that you and the seller agreed upon.

Renting-to-own is a good alternative for home buyers who expect their financial situation to improve in the near future, but not such a good option for those who are unsure of their income in the following months or years. Renting and saving money for the down payment can be a better choice than paying more for rent than having to abandon a home because you don’t have enough money to buy it.

Spring Cleaning and Maintenance: 10 Handy Tips and Tricks You Should Know

Spring Cleaning and Maintenance-150x150Another cold winter has passed, the weather is finally getting warmer, the days are getting longer, and it looks like the time to do a little spring cleaning has arrived. Cleaning your home sometimes involves professional help, but most of it can be done by you and your family.

Whether you are thinking of listing your home on the market, or just want to clean your home from top to bottom, here is a list of 10 handy tips to help you get through your spring cleaning much faster and efficiently:

Cleaning and Maintenance- Tips and Tricks

1. Planning. Spring cleaning and maintenance involves more than the usual cleaning that you do around the house once or twice per week. A piece of paper and a pen will save you a lot of headaches, especially if this is the first time you’re doing spring cleaning. Of course, this operation will involve tasks that you usually do, like dusting and vacuuming, but you will also have to go further, and clean the walls, the windows, the baseboards. Spring cleaning will also require moving the furniture in order to clean under and behind it. Making a list of everything that needs to be done will be very helpful, will keep you focused, and make sure that you don’t miss any parts of your home.

2. Don’t rush things. Trying to do everything quickly will most likely result in an unsuccessful spring cleaning, plus it will give you a headache. So look over your list and try to figure out how much time each task will take. If it takes a few days, then so be it. There aren’t any rules regarding how long spring cleaning and maintenance should take. After estimating how much time you will need to clean each part of your home, try to incorporate spring cleaning into your daily routine. Taking a break is equally important, so make sure you take breaks into consideration when coming up with a schedule.

3. Be ready. Once you have come up with a list and a schedule, you should start buying all the products that you need for cleaning. Having to change your cleaning/maintenance schedule last minute because you forgot to pick up a product that you need is unproductive and, by the time you come back from the store, your spring cleaning mood might be gone. Products needed include an all-purpose cleaner, rubber gloves, oven cleaner, wood oil, and many others that you don’t use regularly when cleaning your home. Tools like brooms, mops, dusters and a vacuum cleaner are also important, so make sure you have everything you need before you start.

4. Organize your things. De-cluttering your home and organizing your things, like CDs, books, kids’ toys, or clothes will make your job a lot easier. Having access to your furniture, carpet, windows and walls without having a bunch of stuff in the way will save time, and make spring cleaning a little easier. Until the job is finished, you can store your items in boxes then decide what to do with them.

5. Ask for help. If you think you can’t handle spring cleaning and maintenance on your own, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Things like moving large pieces of furniture can prove to be difficult, if not dangerous, if you do them by yourself. If you have family, then asking for their help should not be an issue, as they have contributed to the mess that needs to be cleaned. Friends can also help, and maybe you can return the favor when they need help with cleaning their home.

6. Start from the top. Especially if you have high ceilings, cleaning from the top down is better. Clean the dirt and any cobwebs from the ceiling, dust the crown moldings and the lighting fixtures, then continue by cleaning the walls and windows. Pay more attention to pictures on the walls, as they might require more attention in order to be cleaned. After cleaning the walls, move on to your furniture and finish up with the floor.

7. Pay more attention to high-traffic areas. Some areas in your home, such as the kitchen, the bathroom, or even the living room, are rooms that see a lot of traffic daily and they will probably be the ones who need the most attention. If you are putting your home on the market, keep in mind that kitchens and bathrooms are often some of the biggest selling points to buyers/renters, so be sure to invest time and money as necessary here.  Other parts of your home, like bedrooms and closets, don’t require that much cleaning because the bedroom is used mostly for sleeping, and the closets are usually pretty organized.

8. Start early. After a long and cold winter, spring seems like a blessing and you will most likely want to spend more time outside rather than cleaning inside. So start spring cleaning as early as possible so you won’t have to enjoy spring by looking out the window while you work around the house. If you finish cleaning the inside of your home before spring arrives, you will get to enjoy the first warm days of the year while doing some outside spring cleaning and maintenance.

9. Throw out what you don’t need. While cleaning your home, make sure that you check places like your pantry or fridge for expired products. All food, whether it is in a bag or a can, has an expiration date, so throwing expired products away is a good way to make more room for new supplies. The medicine cabinet in your bathroom should also be checked for any expired products.

10. Check and repair your house. You shouldn’t limit yourself to just cleaning your home. Check appliances for any issues as well as the house for any damage. You wouldn’t want April showers to catch you with a leaky roof or summer to catch you with a broken air conditioner. Finding an issue before it becomes a big and expensive problem is very important, so do your best to avoid major mistakes that could lose money for you if you are selling or renting out your home. Many minor problems can be repaired easily without having to hire a professional.

Spring cleaning and maintenance might be a hassle and take up a lot of your time, but by using these 10 tips, you will become more efficient and finish up everything in time to enjoy the first warm and sunny days of the year.