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Lease options can provide homebuyers another avenue

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Ryan Sherman

Posted: Thursday, September 30, 2010 12:00 am | Updated: 6:47 am, Thu Sep 30, 2010.

Owning a home is widely regarded as an integral part of the American Dream. However, the recession and housing crisis in San Joaquin County have made it harder for many to achieve that goal. But "rent-to-own," or lease options, are growing in popularity across the country as Realtors look for ways to address the surplus of homes on the market while buyers aim to rebuild their credit.

There are many minor details to lease options, but they center around buyers and sellers agreeing on a purchase date and price. The buyer generally offers a down payment on the home and makes monthly payments — part of which is credited toward the home's purchase price. But there can be complications with lease options if the contracts are ambiguous. If the arrangement isn't properly drawn up, a seller could back out of the arrangement if the housing market radically improves and they feel they could get more on the open market for the property. In that case, the potential buyer could be left stranded with no legal recourse.

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