"What about lease option or rent-to-own?" my state auditor asked me. "Are they for real?"
"of course they are!" I answered. "It all depends on the terms you can negotiate, and your ability to meet those terms....Why do you ask?"
Because, it turns out, my state auditor recently lost his Magnolia home of over ten years to foreclosure. His story is tragic and reflects the pain that foreclosure costs many homeowners in today's economy.
He and his wife were hardworking Philippine emigrants, she from Canada and he now a US citizen, believing strongly that ours is indeed the land of opportunity. Then his wife got breast cancer about five years ago. The chemotherapy and radiation therapy destroyed her heart. She almost died. She was fortunate to receive a heart transplant.
In the mean time, their medical bills mounted. She had made more money than he as a medical technician; he had a good state job. But now without her income, they could not pay her medical bills and make ends meet.
He applied for and received a loan modification on the house. He made the first two months payments, but was short on the third. He asked the bank if they could wait a week for the balance of the funds. The bank said no.
She lived. But they lost their house. In the process, he lost his faith in the United States (as did LuAnn Lavine in our previous post). They now plan to move to Canada when he retires in three years - but he was still wondering if maybe, maybe they could own a home again. Maybe, with rent-to-own?
Creative acquisition techniques may be the only option for future homeowners, given that so many people have been challenged in this economy. Lease purchase, rent-to-own, options and seller financing are some of the techniques that deserving buyers may use to purchase a home in a tight lending environment, where the banks are faceless, heartless corporate entities, and where 50% of all deserving buyers cannot get loans.
So yes, there are good deals out there on foreclosures. And while each foreclosure represents someone's heartache and pain, savvy buyers are jumping into the housing market where others can no longer go and providing new opportunities for someone else to have a home they can afford. Where one door closes, another opens....
And so yes, Mr. Auditor, rent-to-own is certainly an option for you and your wife. Just make sure that you are doing business with someone you trust, and that you are represented by someone who cares about giving you another opportunity to believe in the goodness of our country....