Tuesday, March 3, 2009

What about "Rent To Buy"?

I’m looking for innovation in today’s real estate market, and all I keep getting are statistics. I call it the high cost of procrastination.

Maybe it only seems this way, but it is as though everybody is now waiting when it comes to real estate and especially home sales. Therein lies the problem. Everybody is waiting. That means nobody is acting.

Whatever happened to the saying “It takes money to make money”? People used to invest in real estate, but obviously not right now. Many who normally would are waiting to see what happens. People would invest in the stock market, but based on the amount of decline over the past few months, not anymore. Market investors are waiting to see what happens. Others would invest in CD and Money Market accounts, but those no longer pay out enough to make it worthwhile. Potential investors in CD’s are waiting to see what happens.

So while everyone keeps waiting, what happens?

Real estate will always be there. A company might not, a bank or investment company might not, but real estate will always be there. And it provides a chance to deal in the now.
Want to sell your home or a property you own? You think you can’t or won’t because of the market. That is playing the same waiting game everybody else is.

I continue to have mortgage lenders around the country tell me that they are not able to qualify a large percentage of potential buyers because of credit or down payment issues. Many of these lenders tell me they don’t want to advertise their own services because of the marketplace. And some of those same lenders have a disconnected phone number when I try them back a few weeks later to see how they are doing.

Some lenders and realty agents overlook opportunity. In the circumstance described above, it seems to me that the “turned down” potential buyer has credit and/or down payment challenges. That is understandable in today’s economy. Yet, there did not seem to be an issue with them making a monthly mortgage payment if they had better credit and/or enough for a down payment.

To me, that “turn down” could well be turning down business. That same lender and realty agent could have been helping that potential buyer find a house to rent in the range they could afford.

True, I’m making that sound easy. Wait a minute. With thousands of homes listed for month after month in just about every area, it probably is.

That potential buyer should be presented with three simple words. Rent to buy. While that potential buyer is looking to restore or improve their credit rating and/or saving for a down payment, that potential buyer could actually be living in their “new” home. If they are renting to buy, they will surely take better care and do better maintenance when they have a future stake in the home. From the seller’s standpoint, even if they don’t quite get all of their monthly mortgage back, they can move on to a different location. Maybe even downgrade to remain steady with monthly obligations. Perhaps renting elsewhere while maintaining equity in a home costing them little to nothing.

Such a “rent to buy” arrangement could include the lender and realty agent and eventually provide them with commissions. Could be on the rental or for if and when the rental turns into a purchase. This could avert foreclosures and would help the revenue for lenders and realty agents. Significantly, it would not leave potential buyers “waiting” like the rest of the people in the industry.

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