How to Rent to Own a Home with Bad Credit

Renting to Own with Bad Credit

Renting to own is a smart way to purchase a property if you have bad credit. Many people are interested in the rent-to-own option because they know that it’s practically impossible to qualify for a traditional mortgage with their current credit score.

Renting to own is an excellent alternative for those who want to buy a home but don’t have the financial means or credit history most lenders require.

In addition, many renters who can afford monthly payments may not be able to save enough money for a down payment on a house loan. This program allows you the flexibility of being able to pay off your home at any time without penalty while gaining equity and building your credit over time.

The benefits of renting-to-own include:

  • No initial costs.
  • Lower monthly payments than other types of financing options.
  • Flexible terms that allow you more freedom when making decisions about how much money you’ll spend each month on housing expenses.


You also get all the perks associated with homeownership, such as tax deductions and appreciation in value over time which makes this type of transaction very attractive compared with renting from someone else’s landlord!

In this article, we will discuss how you can rent to own a home and the actions you can take to improve your chances!


What is Rent to Own?

Rent-to-own is a legal arrangement where a renter can purchase a house by making monthly payments. In exchange for monthly rent, the property owner agrees to allow the renter to choose what happens at the end of his or her rental period.

In order to rent to own your new home, you will need a contract that usually lasts between 1 and 5 years.

The term “rent to own” may also be called lease option contract, lease-purchase contract or lease-purchase agreement. It’s basically an agreement that allows tenants with bad credit or no down payment options to buy a home without going through the traditional mortgage application process.

In a rent-to-own agreement, renters may have the right to exercise an option to purchase the home during the lease term. A rent-to-own agreement is usually structured as a lease with an option to buy. This means that if you move out before purchasing the home outright, you will be required to pay a penalty for breaking your lease-option agreement early.

The tenant will pay a monthly rent fee to use the property and can choose to purchase it when he or she wants (usually at the end of the rental period) by paying all back-due rent fees plus an option fee that covers costs associated with setting up your new loan.


How does Renting To Own Work?

A renter who enters into a real estate contract with an owner takes possession of the property and pays monthly rent in exchange for making improvements or otherwise taking care of it. The renter then submits their intention (by signing) to exercise their lease-option contract at the end of the lease period.

A rent-to-own agreement requires both parties to sign a contract that explains their responsibilities.

The renter will then pay monthly rent for the exclusive use of the property, with some funds going towards building equity every month until you are ready to buy. Rental payments also help establish your credit score if you have had some financial setbacks in the past.

Like any other transaction, there is an ownership cost (option fee) and closing costs and points paid on a regular basis, making it more like renting with a purchase option to buy over time rather than actually owning.

Rent-to-own properties are usually sold “as is,” and tenants aren’t given much in the way of negotiation.


Rent to Own a Home with Bad Credit

If you are like the majority of people in the US, your credit score may not be what it should be (at least when it comes to receiving favorable terms on loans). However, if you have low credit scores and want to rent to own a home, the good news is there is hope for you!

The fact that rent-to-own offers many benefits similar to traditional financing makes this an attractive option even if your credit score is low.

You don’t need perfect or excellent credit since the banks will only approve the very best applicants anyway. Your credit doesn’t even need to be super strong either, but some things can help ensure your chances of approval.

You could get approved with less than ideal credit since a mortgage lender require good payment history either on credit cards, installment loans, or even rent in some cases.

Some lenders may decide they want to see that you have paid your rent on time for at least six months before considering an application. This can be a way of showing the lender that if you are responsible enough to pay every month without fail for six months, then they are likely to be able to depend on receiving monthly payments from you.

Rent-to-own will usually only work with borrowers who have had their own place before and have always made their rent payment on time, every time.

You also need to put down a reasonable deposit (which can be found by looking at the average home price in your area).

Rent-to-own homes are ideal for people who can’t get approved elsewhere because of their credit score. If you’re self-employed, have recently changed jobs, or experienced some other fluctuation in income, it’s usually not an issue though there are exceptions.

You can also choose to rent to own a home with bad credit if you have a co-signer who has good credit. This is going to be one of your best options for getting approved and being able to buy even if you’re not an ideal candidate for standard financing.

The only other alternative would be trying to find private money for closing costs (from friends or family), but that’s generally not recommended since it’s hard to get back once the loan is given out, and the repayment terms are often more difficult than what you’d expect from a traditional bank.


How do I Qualify for a Rent to Own Contract?

Once you have found a property you’re interested in, your realtor will apply to the owner or contact them directly.

You can expect to pay anywhere from 1% (for lower-value homes) up to 4-5% (in higher-priced communities). This fee is comparable with what buyers are charged when getting their place – it covers the cost of processing the contract and paperwork.

You should be aware that there may be additional fees or lease/purchase option arrangement charges, but they vary by state and each individual case. When you sign for these properties, you will commit to buying them at some point in future once all terms are met. The only difference is that rent-to-own gives you time to get the right financing.

Rent-to-own homes are often sold “as is” though there are some exceptions where you can get them at a discount if they need to be updated or negotiating the upfront fee. If you’re considering this option, it’s essential to be aware of any deficiencies with the property, including physical problems or poorly paved streets nearby, which could lower your home’s value.

Rent-to-own contracts can vary, so you should be sure to read all of the documentation before signing anything. Also, make sure that terms such as rent and purchase price increase by a certain percentage each year (usually around 2%) and agree to any penalties for breaking the agreement early.

The benefit of renting first is that it gives you time to repair your credit score and save up enough funds for the deposit. Once you do, then applying for financing won’t be an issue, and you’ll likely qualify quickly without having to go through a lot of extra stress or waiting periods.


Things you can do Before Applying for a Rent to Own Property

Rent to own check list

If you are considering renting to own, there are some things you can do to help improve your credit score and show the lender that you are a reliable renter.

  • Pay your monthly rent payments on time, every time – If you already have a place, then you’re one step ahead of the game! You’ll need to make sure that all payments have been made on time for at least 6 months before applying to rent to own another home.
  • Avoid using credit cards if possible – Even though it’s common advice not to use credit cards, many people need them to cover emergency expenses or purchase items they can’t afford with cash. Try to avoid adding anything else onto the card, so there aren’t any additional charges.


Reduce the amount of debt you currently hold – If you have multiple credit cards (or other forms of debt), then it’s generally best to pay them all down as much as possible. The FICO score factors how much debt you owe and your ability to repay your creditors on time. This plays a huge role in whether or not you’re approved for financing so it makes sense to reduce what you can.

Along with these tips, there are some things you can do right now that will have an immediate impact on your credit report.


Sign up for Experian Boost

Experian Boost raises your score instantly by factoring bills such as phone, utilities, streaming services, and more into your credit report.

Having these types of information on your report shows lenders that you are more likely to repay debt and pay bills on time. This is the best way to boost their score before applying for rent-to-own for people with bad credit.

Many people have seen their credit score boost by 45 points or more after using Experian Boost for just 30 days. While the average client sees about a 13 point jump, each situation is different. Depending on where your score sits, this alone can help you qualify for financing when applying to rent-to-own homes.

To sign up for Experian Boost, click on the button below:

 Click Here to Sign up for Experian Boost


Dispute Negative Items on your Credit Report

Another way to increase your chances of approval is to challenge any negative items on your credit report.

Dispute anything that isn’t 100% accurate by mailing in copies of any evidence you have. This includes claims of late payments, If they are removed, this will only help improve your chances of approval.

A service we recently reviewed that helps with credit repair is Credit Saint. They are a credit repair service that can help you gather evidence for disputing negative listings on your credit report. In addition, they offer a free analysis of your reports before doing any further work.

Credit Saint does not do any repair or restoration of your credit on its own. You’ll need to provide the documents yourself, and then they will handle the dispute process for you.

If anything is resolved, this can help improve your score before applying for the rent to own programs mentioned in this article.

They work with you in partnership to develop a plan for credit repair. They also provide you with tools and tutorials to help walk you through the process.

For more information on Credit Saint and a free consultation, click the button below to see if their services are right for you.

 Click Here to Visit Credit Saint


After you have successfully applied for a rent-to-own contract, then the ball is in the owner’s court (or their realtor). They will either accept or decline your offer based on your FICO score and other factors such as how much money you’ve put down.

It’s important to note that even though your score must be below a certain threshold, it still may not necessarily count against you in some cases. For example, it will depend on whether or not they have similar criteria to your lender when they pulled your credit report.

If they have the same policies, they will likely tell you that your score was “too low” but approved you anyway. In this situation, the reason they gave might be how much down payment you put down or if they liked something else about your application.

You can usually negotiate from there and find out their reasoning for making an exception so that next time you know what to do!


How do I Find Rent To Own Homes?

Figuring out how to rent to own a home can be difficult, especially if you don’t know where to look. However, because this type of transaction is very popular with people who have bad credit, many companies specialize in finding homes for rent-to-own programs. You can find these companies by doing a Google search and then enter the desired zip code.

These companies have a network of homes for rent or lease with an option to purchase in most areas. It’s a good idea to contact these companies because they specialize in finding homes for rent-to-own and can find houses near you that will work with your situation.


Pros and Cons of Renting to Own


  • Can purchase with poor credit
  • Get into a home faster than traditional financing
  • No qualifying for a mortgage at the time of purchase
  • Own house after a certain amount of years of renting
  • Get to choose your own closing date
  • Renting month-to-month gives you some freedom to move if necessary



  • Possible eviction if you can’t pay rent or make payments on the rent to own contract terms.
  • At some point, you’ll have to start paying property taxes and insurance, which are usually separate from rent.
  • Homes in these programs go quickly, so it’s essential to contact the realtor looking after the property as soon as possible.


Is Renting to Own Worth It?

The best way to find out if renting-to-own is right for you is to do your research. You may even want to speak with a financial adviser or credit counselor to get more information on the programs, what it means for you financially, and whether or not it’s something that will benefit you down the line.

If everything checks out, then go ahead and put in an application! Even if they don’t choose you the first time around, keep applying until someone says yes. Sometimes people think accepting an offer isn’t worth it because of the fees associated with applying, but this isn’t true!

Eventually, someone will be interested, and at least one of your applications will pay off in the long run.

It’s essential that prior to applying for a Rent to Own property, you do everything you can to demonstrate that you’ll be able to meet the financial obligations. Improving your credit score before applying is a great way to help yourself get accepted for this type of rent of own program as they will run a credit check.

Using Experian Boost will provide an immediate impact on your credit report. That, coupled with removing negative items on your credit report, will also help your application process. If you are unsure how to remove these items or need some help doing so, using a professional service like Credit Saint will help expedite the process as many clients see a jump in their score in 30 days.


Wrapping it Up

Renting to own can be a viable option if you’re on the fence about whether or not you’re actually ready to take the plunge and purchase a home. The best thing is It allows you enough freedom to still move if your life situation changes, but it also gives you something to build towards as you improve your credit score and more opportunities for savings such as down payment funds.

The hardest part is getting started! But, once you’ve applied once, the next time will go even smoother because they’ll know that you’re serious and interested in meeting their criteria. Renting-to-own is one of those options that patience and dedication but totally worth it in the end.

We hope you found this article helpful and insightful. If you have a bad credit score and are interested in learning more about renting-to-own, or if you just want information on credit scores and how they affect your life, please feel free to leave us a comment below.




Please note: As an affiliate we earn from qualifying purchases. This will not cost you anything. 

2 Responses

  1. How do I get started to renting to owning my own home where do I sign up at whom do I speak with

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