Click here to search all rentals and Rent to own homes

  • Get the deal in writing! Don’t agree to anything that is not written down. The law will not enforce agreements to buy a house unless they are in writing!
  • Make sure the agreement says what part of your payments are rent and what part go toward the purchase.
  • Make sure the agreement says when the actual sale will be, and what the terms are. It should say if the sale will be by a contract for deed, or if you need to get a mortgage. If you need a mortgage, talk to a bank to see if you can get one before you sign the rent to own agreement. Find out what the true costs will be.
  • Make sure the seller really owns the home. Go to your county recorder’s office and ask for help to find out who owns the home.
  • At the county recorder’s office, find out if the seller has a mortgage on the property. Make sure the purchase price is enough for the seller to pay off their mortgage, and that the seller is required to pay it off. If the mortgage is not paid you can end up losing the home.
  • Many rent-to-own agreements say that you have to make a down payment when you sign. This is different than a security deposit. You can usually get security deposits back, but you may not get the down payment back if you do not buy the home. Read the agreement carefully.
  • Watch out for scams. Some landlords do not really want to sell the home. They use rent to own agreements to get more money from tenants or to get tenants to do work on the home. Some landlords try this because they lost their rental licenses or just don’t want to make repairs. Make sure you read the agreement carefully before you sign.
  • Some landlords try to make you responsible for repairs to the home under a rent-to-own agreement. This is illegal. You are a tenant and have all the rights of a tenant. See our fact sheet Basic Information for Tenants.


For contract for deed listings to view.