*This post was a response to a question posted on Trulia. It has been one of the most frequently visited responses since we began assisting folks with answers to real estate questions on that site. So we thought it would be helpful to share with visitors to Grand Rapids Real Estate Musings who may also have similar concerns. We’ve also added more detailed information here to help our readers. Here’s what we posted in response to the question:
HOW DO WE FIND HOMES FOR SALE WITH LAND CONTRACT OR RENT TO OWN OPTIONS?
We have assisted clients who are in situations similar to the one you described. The good news is that there are more options available today than there have been in recent history. There are also some particular pitfalls which you should be aware of so you can avoid some regrettable results.
The Grand Rapids Association of Realtors MLS system allows real estate agents to search for land contracts and other terms which may indicate a willingness on the part of the current home owner to rent or lease with an option to buy.
In addition, we search beyond the borders of the local MLS to assist clients with locating suitable homes on sites such as Craigslist. However, it is extremely important to negotiate these type of transactions correctly.
There should be close coordination with a reputable lender as well as a written lease and purchase contract which protects your interests and provides options for you in the future. When this is not done properly, you can easily loose a lot of potential hard earned equity. You should also consider the possibility of doing some additional research to determine if the home is currently in default. Some buyers have moved into homes only to find that the home was being foreclosed on due to the non-payment of the mortgage.
We’d be happy to sit down with you or talk over the phone about the specifics concerning your situation. There is no obligation. When we understand what you are looking for, we can research and forward listings which you can review in the comfort and convenience of your home.
You may also visit our website or blog to read about the experiences of clients we have helped recently.