Should You Pursue Lease Options To Purchase A Home

By Raynor James

The real estate market is a place where people can get very creative. This brings us to the rent with option to buy programs you see on the market.

Leasing is a fairly popular form of living arrangement since it basically involves renting over a pre-set period of time, usually 3, 6, or 12 months at a time. Leases provide lower rates than a month by month rent. However, when looking to lease, one will often come across the ‘Lease Option.’ A lease option is essentially the same thing as a lease except that it provides the option to purchase the property at a future date.

The option is just that, an option. It may be an interesting offer for some renters, but others will want to pass it up. The option does not have to be taken, since there is a fee required to purchase the option. Although the amount can vary, the fee is usually up-front and paid when entering the lease. In general, lease options are offered in times of slow real estate markets, since generally owners of property look to simply sell during the hot times.


There are some definite advantages and disadvantages when it comes to a lease option. On the downside, the lease option is rarely exercised and therefore it ends up being money wasted. Many people pay the money thinking they will buy later and then either lose interest or find they can’t qualify for a mortgage. When this happens, the money paid to purchase the option is lost and you will be wondering what you could have possible been thinking when you entered into the agreement.

An area where a lease option is commonly used is real estate investment. In such a situation, a real estate investor believes he or she can flip the home in a short period for a profit. They find the lease option to be very attractive because it allows them to secure the home without dedicating significant cash resources to the deal. Once they purchase the option, they then start hunting for a buyer that will pay more than the seller is looking for in the original sale. If the investor can pull it off, they exercise the right to buy and immediately sell to the third party. In many cases, the two transactions will happen at the same time! This leaves the investor with a smile on their face and the original seller in a grumpy mood.

As with anything, there are upsides and downsides to a lease option. For investors, it makes sense in many situations since it frees up cash flow. For people looking for a place to live and raise a family, it rarely makes sense.

About the Author: Raynor James is with


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