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Lease Option Defined

Dave Schaaf
Dave Schaaf

A Lease Option is a great type of deal whether you’re new to investing or a seasoned veteran. It’s basically a lease to own option while the buyer fixes his credit. Here’s how it works –

Find a motivated seller – you want a seller who is okay having a buyer making payments to them for awhile before they buy it. This is why it’s called a “Lease Option”, the buyer will be leasing the property for a period until they can qualify for a loan to purchase the property. Normally this takes two or three years, enough time for the buyer to clean up his credit. Since the property seller will be leasing the property, ask them about the minimum down payment they want from buyer. They’ll usually be happy with first and last month’s rent. In our experience the best leads for finding sellers willing to do a lease option are usually an Absentee Owned property leads list.

Find a qualified buyer – this will typically be someone who needs to clean up their credit score but who has a steady job and money for a down payment. Be sure to do your due diligence with your buyer on the front end to save yourself a hassle on the back end. We’ll get into how to do this more in a later post. We typically find our buyers by sending yellow letters to a list of Renter leads.

Here’s how you make this deal work – if the seller has a mortgage payment of $800 per month they’ll want the monthly rent to be at least that. Let’s say the buyer agrees to a lease of $900 per month, and with the seller wanting down payment of first and last month’s rent, you’ll need to give the seller $1800 to close the deal. If the seller is behind on their mortgage, you’ll also need to use part of the down payment to bring the mortgage current. If they are two months behind that’s $1600 plus any bank fees. So taking the $1800 for the first and last month’s rent to the seller and $1,600 to the bank to bring the property current means your major expenses to close the deal are about $3,400. Any down payment you receive from the buyer in excess of this is your margin (minus your marketing and other costs). This can be anywhere from a few thousand dollars on up, depending on the value of the property, how much the buyer can afford, what you feel your time is worth, etc.

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