For those who have less than a stellar credit history; yet, who still want to have their own home, a rent-to-own option is worth considering. A rent-to-own (RTO) agreement is a hybrid between buying a home and renting a home.
Usually, RTO deals require a significant down payment that applies towards the home purchase. An RTO tenant/buyer gets the option to buy the home for a certain price at some date in the future. The down payment is lost if a tenant/buyer does not go forward with the home purchase.
Another common characteristic of RTO deals is that a portion of the rent applies to the home purchase.
The Pros Of Rent-To-Own Deals
The significant down payment on an RTO deal is usually more than would be required as a security deposit for a lease agreement on a home of a similar type. This down payment gives the home seller/landlord the financial security needed to let a person occupy the home even if they have a bad credit history.
In some cases, the party offering an RTO sale does not even bother to run a credit history check on the RTO buyer.
The seller/landlord gets to keep the down payment no matter what happens. Usually, a person putting down a significant amount is a good tenant in spite of having bad credit. Having money invested in the property gives the tenant/buyer a strong incentive to take better care of the property than if renting or leasing.
Another advantage for the tenant/buyer is the ability to lock in a home purchase price for a sales transaction completed far in the future.
Typical RTO deals last for two years or longer, with the average being five years. This gives the tenant/buyer time to improve credit records and to qualify for the financing needed to consummate the home purchase.
The Cons Of Rent-To-Own Deals
If property values go down in the area where the home is, the value of the RTO deal can suffer. A few years later, the home may not be worth the price for buying it that is in the RTO agreement.
If any life circumstances change, the tenant/buyer may lose the down payment by having to forgo purchasing the property. If the tenant/buyer does not consummate the purchase they lose the down payment plus any portion of the rent applied to reduce the purchase price.
The tenant/buyer in the RTO transaction typically has to take on full responsibility for the home after they occupy it. This is an advantage for the seller/landlord but a disadvantage for the tenant/buyer who becomes responsible for all the maintenance, repairs, and upkeep of the property.
Rent-to-own deals are quite popular and effective for both sides in the deal under certain circumstances. Certainly for those that have a poor credit history an RTO deal is a convenient way to reduce the waste of paying rent and gain some potentially valuable home ownership instead.
Please consider meeting with your trusted real estate and mortgage professionals to discuss your options before entering into a risky financial agreement.
Federal Reserve policymakers held the federal funds rate at its current range of 2.25 to 2.50 percent. Analysts speculated that the Fed may lower its key rate based on signs of slowing economic growth and the President’s encouragement to lower the Fed rate.
Federal Open Market Committee members cited “uncertainties” in support of their decision not to change the Fed’s key lending rate. A stiff month-to-month drop in jobs growth and worries over trade problems associated with recent tariffs assessed against China contributed to the Committee’s decision to hold rates steady and closely watch domestic and global economic trends.
Signs of slowing economic growth caused the Fed to adjust its forecast for achieving the benchmark inflation rate of 2.00 percent to 2021 and lowered expectations for inflationary growth from 1.80 percent to 1.50 percent.
Fed Chair: Fed “Closely Monitoring“ Economic Developments
After the FOMC statement, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell gave a press conference in which he further addressed the Fed’s response to slowing economic growth and current developments in global affairs. Chairman Powell said that it is important for policymakers to respond based on emerging economic trends rather than reacting to quickly shifting data.
Chairman Powell identified trade concerns and slowing global economic growth as factors impacting slowing domestic economic growth. Due to recent economic changes, Chairman Powell said that a “somewhat accommodative” policy stance was indicated. Uncertainty over supply chains due to tariffs was an example of factors causing concern over economic growth. Positive indicators centered around labor as job growth continued and employers reported a shortage of workers for available jobs.
Manufacturing declined globally and domestically as service-related-jobs expanded. When asked about Fed oversight over banks’ risk exposure due to lending policies, Chairman Powell said that large institutional holdings presented the greatest risk for banks, but did not say such risk was currently problematic. The chairman re-emphasized that FOMC members constantly assess economic data and global events to determine the Fed’s economic policies.
Last week’s economic reports included monthly readings on housing market conditions, housing starts and building permits issued. Sales of pre-owned homes were released; the Federal Reserve announced its decision not to raise its key interest rate range. Weekly reports on mortgage rates and new jobless claims were also released.
NAHB: Home Builder Confidence Slips in June
The National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index for June showed builder confidence was two points lower at an index reading of 64. Builders surveyed said ongoing concerns such as lot and labor shortages impacted their outlook, but builders were also concerned over the impact of trade wars and tariffs on the cost of building materials.
Housing starts dipped to 1.27 million starts on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis in May. April’s reading was 1.28 million starts and surpassed the expected reading of 1.23 million starts. Although housing starts were higher, they were 3 percent lower year to date than for the same period in 2018 and were 4.79 percent lower year-over-year. Building permits issued held steady in May at 1.29 million permits issued; analysts expected a reading of 1.30 million permits issued.
Sales of pre-owned homes were higher in May with 5.34 million sales; 5.28 million sales were expected based on April’s reading of 5.21 million sales. The National Association of Realtors® said that sales of pre-owned homes were 2.50 percent higher than for April, but were 1.10 percent lower year-over-year.
Warmer weather and peak home-buying season contributed to the increase in sales. Lower mortgage rates likely compelled would-be buyers to enter the market. The Federal Reserve did not raise its target interest rate range, which stands at 2.25-2.50 percent. Lenders typically raise rates charged to consumers when the Fed raises its key rate range.
Mortgage Rates Little Changed, New Jobless Claims Fall
Freddie Mac reported little change in mortgage rates last week. 30-year fixed rate mortgages averaged 3.84 percent and rose two basis points week-to-week. Interest rates for 15-year fixed rate mortgages averaged 3.25 percent and fell one basis point on average.
The average rate for 5/1 fixed-rate mortgages was three basis points lower at 3.48 percent. Discount points averaged 0.50 percent for 30-year fixed rate mortgages and 0.40 percent for 15-year fixed rate mortgages and 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.
First-time jobless claims fell to 216,000 claims from the prior week’s reading of 222,000 new claims filed and expectations of 220,000 initial jobless claims filed.
This week’s scheduled economic reports include readings from Case-Shiller Indices, readings on sales of new homes, pending home sales and the consumer sentiment index. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and first-time jobless claims are also scheduled.
Hardwood flooring is considered a premium flooring material. It’s natural, long-lasting, durable and comes in a wide assortment of colors, wood, stains and plank widths. But hardwood flooring isn’t always the best choice. If you’re looking at homes to buy and eliminating the ones with laminate flooring, you could be overlooking some important considerations.
There are at least four times when laminate flooring is a better option than hardwood:
1. You Live In A Very Humid Climate
Excess humidity isn’t kind to hardwood floors. Wood is hygroscopic, which means it absorbs moisture from the surroundings. Too much moisture in the air can make hardwood floor planks “cup,” which is when the lateral sides curl up. Wood swells when it gets wet, which can cause displacement of individual planks. Remember too, that you can live in a temperate climate, but if the house is lakeside or within 10 miles from the shoreline, that will increase the humidity levels in the home.
2. You Live In A Very Dry Climate
Hardwood floors don’t respond well to dry climates, either. In times of very low humidity, wood contracts. This can lead to cracking and the development of cracks in between planks. While the gaps can be temporary, if grime gets in there, they can become permanent. Cracking is permanent and needs to be repaired and then sealed.
3. Your Family Is Hard On Floors
If you have youngsters, a big dog, or other factors, those can be hard on floors. In some cases like this, it can be damaging to hardwood floors, which are expensive to buy and maintain. Laminate flooring is much more accepting of wear and tear, and if you need to replace it, the cost isn’t exorbitant.
4. You Have Special Hobbies
If you have certain activities you engage in, such as painting, fishing, wood carving or other special hobbies, you might want to reconsider the value of laminate flooring. Laminate flooring is a lot easier to clean up when it comes to paint splatters, muddy boots and wood shavings. With laminate flooring, instead of worrying about protecting your hardwood floors, you can focus on enjoying your hobby.
If your real estate agent wants you to see a house with laminate flooring, give it a chance. You might just discover that there are times when laminate flooring is better than hardwood.
If you are in the market for a new home or interested in selling your current property, be sure to contact your trusted real estate professional.
Homebuilder confidence dropped two points in June according to the National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index. June’s index reading was 64, which indicates strong sentiment among home builders for current housing market conditions.
NAHB component readings also dropped in June with builder confidence in current home sales one point lower at an index reading of 71. Home builder confidence in home sales conditions over the next six months dropped two points to 70 and builder confidence in buyer traffic was one point lower at 48. Buyer traffic readings seldom exceed the NAHB benchmark reading of 50. Index readings over 50 indicate that most builders have positive sentiment toward conditions surveyed.
Home Builders Cite Ongoing Concerns and Growing Worry Over Tariffs
Home builders surveyed for June’s Housing Market Index cited continued concerns over shortages of labor and buildable lots, but also worried over increased materials costs resulting from recent tariffs. Analysts said that high demand for homes is driven by a current shortage of several million available homes; demand should be driving builder sentiment and housing starts much higher than current levels. Builder sentiment reported in the Housing Market Index typically drove housing starts, but this hasn’t been the case in the aftermath of the housing crisis. Severe shortages of homes for sale drive home prices up; this creates competition between buyers and sidelines first-time and moderate income home buyers.
While buyer traffic is robust, headwinds including high home prices and concerns about general economic conditions could be keeping would-be buyers on the fence. Low mortgage rates, which may drop further if the Federal Reserve lowers its key lending rate, could prompt more buyers to enter the market, but rapidly rising home prices in recent years have caused would-be buyers to hold off on buying homes. Faced with few options and high home prices, buyers may be waiting until more homes come on the market. Industry leaders have long said that building more homes is the only way to resolve the shortage of homes and high demand from home buyers.
Faced with rising materials costs and strict zoning rules, builders are tasked to find affordable housing solutions when fewer buildable lots and zoning rules discourage higher density affordable housing developments.