• Melanie Loves Tampa Bay

Home Partners of America: Rent to Own Homes Program Explained

Finding a home that's a lease with an option to buy (rent to own) can be extremely difficult - close to impossible in popular areas. However, leasing while you get to know your new city, repair your credit or save up some money for a larger down payment may be your best option. Let's talk about a lease-purchase program called Home Partners of America.


While I am not affiliated with this company in any way, I do feel the program offers a valuable option for those who qualify so I want to share some details.

*Criteria subject to change and may vary by state


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What is the Home Partners of America Lease Purchase Program?

https://www.homepartners.com/

Say you want to own a home in a nice neighborhood but you just aren’t ready to buy. Maybe you want to be in a good school zone and there are limited rentals available to pick from? Or, if you are working on repairing your credit and you just need a year or two to qualify for a mortgage. Home Partners of America purchases homes that are currently for sale and leases them back to you. So, this opens up a lot more options of homes to rent because now you can look at homes that are for sale.


You get to pick the house, they purchase it, you rent it from them. You can buy it from them or a predetermined price at any time. Now, nothing is that simple but that is the basic premise of the program. Don’t worry, we will get into the details.


Who qualifies to be a renter with Home Partners of America?


There is an application process that prospective tenants will have to go through. Home Partners of American will look into your debt-to-income ratios, credit scores, housing history, and employment history. They are looking for households with an income of $45,000 or above, have stable employment, no recent history of eviction, no pending bankruptcy, and an acceptable criminal history. Once you have been approved as a tenant, they will give you the maximum rent amount that you qualify for. At that point you can call your knowledgeable Realtor and start house hunting!


Which properties qualify for the program?


Home Partners of America won’t buy you a million dollar home - sorry! Their maximum price in the state of Florida for a home is $400,000. That does vary depending on the state. They will consider a single family home or a town house. The home must have at least two bedrooms and be in an approved community. They want to purchase homes that are in good condition and will not purchase short sale or foreclosure homes. The house has to go through an approval process just like you, as a tenant have to go through one. Your realtor will submit the house you like to Home Partners and they will put it through the approval process.


I am qualified and the house I love is qualified - what happens next?

Then, Home Partners of America will put an offer in on the house and attempt to purchase the property. Assuming they come to terms with the seller of the property, you will then sign a one year lease to rent the property once it closes and Home Partners has done necessary repairs.


What about the rent price?


Home Partners of America will determine the rent price and you will know that price before you enter into a lease agreement. Each year, your rent will raise by no more than 3.75%. You can rent the home for up to five years in the state of Florida. That does vary by state. Based on my research, it does look like their rent prices are in sync with typical rent prices in an area.


What about a security deposit?


Home Partners requires a deposit that is equivalent to two months' rent. This is refundable if you move out as long as you are returning the home in good condition. If you purchase the home, your security deposit will be credited towards that purchase.


Can I bring my pets?


Yes! There is a 3 pet maximum with a weight limit of 180 pounds total and there are some breed restrictions. Neighborhood HOA restrictions may restrict pets further, so make sure you know what the neighborhood allows. You will have to put a $300 deposit per pet. This is not refundable if you decide to stop leasing the home, but IS refundable if you purchase the home.


How do I purchase the home?


You can purchase the home at any time. You will need to give Home Partners of America 60 days notice of your intent to purchase. They are not a mortgage company, so you will need to select your own lender. You are provided with purchase price information prior to signing a lease so there should be no surprises when you go to purchase the home.


Home Partners does make you the buyer pay for closing costs and the “make ready repairs” that they do prior to you moving in. Those amounts will vary from house to house.


Breakdown by numbers: https://www.homepartners.com/how-it-works/the-math


Pros & Cons


The biggest pro to this program is that it gives future home buyers an opportunity to settle in their desired community before they can qualify to purchase a home. Or it gives new residents a way to try out a neighborhood before they commit to buy. The program is transparent and your costs and fees are outlined prior to entering the program. Your only obligation is to rent the home for one year.


If you are a seller, consider using this program as a way to attract more buyers. Home Partners of America will pay a fair price for your home.


The cons mostly revolve around the fees associated with buying. Home Partners is going to roll the closing costs over to you, as well as increase your price 5% a year. If for some reason the home doesn’t appraise for the price that Home Partners has set when you go to buy it, you may need to put more money down or hold off buying it until it does appraise. That is definitely something you want to discuss with your Realtor while you are looking for homes. You are also paying for the make ready repairs, but I don’t necessarily see that as a con as most homeowners would pay for improvements when they move into a new home anyway. Also, if you currently own a home in another state that you are trying to sell, it may be difficult to qualify for the home you want in Florida if your debt-to-income ratio is too high. Again, something to discuss with your Realtor.

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Melanie is a Tampa Bay area Realtor with Smith & Associates. She loves Tampa Bay area area, houses, and helping clients buy and sell real estate. She can be reached at 813-368-6084 or matkinson@smithandassociates.com


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