Michiana Home seller mistakes in South Bend

11 Major Mistakes Made by Michiana Home Sellers

Major mistakes made by sellers

From incorrect financing to lack of preparation, there are countless mistakes that a seller can make when putting their house on the market. This report covers some of the most common mistakes made by sellers during the property selling process.

If you’re serious about selling your house, it’s important that you know the facts. It seems like a simple prospect – just put your house on the market, show it to a few buyers, and make the sale – but as many sellers find out, selling a home can be a difficult, expensive and long prospect. By knowing some valuable information about the real estate industry, as well as some tips and tricks about selling your property, you’ll be able to more effectively tackle today’s real estate market. This report will tell you how you can:

  • Avoid making mistakes when selling your home
  • Make you aware of the most common mistakes home sellers make

Selling your home can be a difficult job, especially since you’re competing against hundreds of other properties. It’s vital that you be aware of what works and doesn’t work when it comes to home selling. Consider the following list of the most common mistakes made by home sellers:

Mistake 1: Setting the wrong price for your home

Experience shows the right price sells a house faster than any other factor. When the listing price is more than 5% over market value, the price alone discourages buyers. That’s because an overpriced house scares away potential buyers who think they can’t even afford to look. Buyers who do look at an overpriced house know they can get more house for their money elsewhere.

Mistake 2: Selling your home in ‘As-Is’ condition

In today’s competitive market, most buyers will not even consider a house that needs fix ups. In contrast, a sparkling showcase home gets top dollar when it comes to the bottom line. What most buyers are looking for is an inviting home in move-in condition, one that looks as good as a model home. Buyers who are willing to tackle the repairs after moving in automatically subtract the cost of needed fix-ups from the price they offer. Either way, you save nothing by putting off fix-ups and likely slow the sale of your house.

Mistake 3: Selling your home with a dull interior

A clean, bright decor is what buyers want. Probably the best dollar-for-dollar investment for selling your home fast is fresh paint. Neutral colors are best. Next to fresh paint, new carpeting–replaced for either condition or color–makes a big difference. Elbow grease can be as effective as spending cash to brighten your home. Start by ruthlessly getting rid of the junk you’ve accumulated. Clean each room top to bottom. Dare to make your home look better than you’ve ever had it looking before. Focus on the three rooms most inspected – kitchen, master bedroom and garage (if you’ve got one). Forget those and you may as well forget the buyer, too. In the kitchen, clear off counters and organize cupboards. Keep in mind, some prospects will judge the whole house by the cleanliness of the oven or refrigerator. In the master bedroom, move or remove furniture to create spaciousness. The ideal garage stores only cars and perhaps an orderly display of garden tools, so throw out your junk to show off room for theirs.

Mistake 4: No ‘Curb Appeal’

Your house gets only one chance to make a good first impression. That’s why “curb appeal” is one of the most critical points in selling. Buyers are apt to fall in love at first sight – or not at all. If your home lacks curb appeal, chances are the first impression will not be counteracted by the most perfect floor plan or the most tasteful interior. Spruce up the view of the house from the street, including lawn, shrubs, shutters, windows, front door, mailbox. Add potted flowers out front, a wreath on the door, brass outdoor lighting fixtures – whatever will enhance your home’s “buy me” look.

Mistake 5: Over-improving your home

While it’s important to fix whatever needs fixing to get your home ready for sale, undertaking a major project could cost more money than you would recover from the sale. Spending too much on remodeling projects just drains money out of your pocket. If your improvements will push your home’s value more than 20% over the average neighboring home values, don’t expect to recoup the entire cost. (Some major projects, however, like replacing a roof, should be done if they are needed.)

Mistake 6: Financing Incentives

The more buyers you appeal to in terms of financing, the greater your chances of selling faster. Be flexible, consider paying closing costs or points, providing a decorator’s allowance or other irresistible buyer incentives.

Mistake 7: Stretching out buyer negotiations

One of the most important moves you can make is to reply immediately to an offer. When buyers make an offer they are, right then, in the mood to buy. Moods, as you know, change, and you don’t want to lose a sale because you stall in replying.

Mistake 8: Being Adversarial during negotiations

No one wins if you enter negotiations with boxing gloves on. Instead, approach negotiations in a positive frame of mind, not as an adversary of the buyer. After all, you both want the same thing–a sale. Leave most of the discussion of price, terms, possession and other conditions up to your agent. We’ll make it our business to get you the best deal.

Mistake 9: Not having a presentable house

The presence of your family can make prospective buyers feel like intruders. If you’re at home when your home is being shown, be your usual friendly–but low-key–self and keep children and pets out from underfoot. It’s the agent’s job to show buyers what they need to see. Buyers can better focus on your home’s advantages by viewing them than by socializing. If an open house is scheduled, plan to be away from home, but let us know how to reach you quickly. When you’re not at home at other times, agents accompanying prospects will leave their business card. Please alert us afterward so we can follow up.

Mistake 10: Selling without a professional

Going it alone like General Custer could invite disaster. Without a professional adviser, you probably won’t sell. Even if you do sell, surveys show self-sellers often net less from the sale than sellers who use a real estate agent. Selling a house is a team effort between you and the listing agent. You’ll find agents do a lot more than most people know–from bringing qualified buyers to keeping things on track to settlement.

Mistake 11: Not consulting with John Tiffany first

My team at Integra Real Estate of Michiana, SouthBendInvest.com, or I are available to help homeowners and investors sell their porpoerty(ies).

Avoid these 9 home buyer trips in Michiana especially South Bend

9 Buyer Traps and How Novice Investor Can to Avoid Them in 2013

9 Buyer Traps and How to Avoid Them

Happy New Year! No matter which way you look at it buying a home in 2013, or any year for that matter, is a major investment. For many homebuyers however, it can be an even more expensive process than it needs to be because many fall prey to at least a few of the many common and costly mistakes which trap them into either:

  • paying too much for the home they want, or
  • losing their dream home to another buyer, or
  • (worse) buying the wrong home for their needs.

A systematized approach to the home buying process can help you steer clear of these common traps, allowing you to not only cut costs, but also secure the home that’s best for you.

This important report discusses the nine most common and costly of these homebuyer traps, how to identify them, and what you can do to avoid them.

Bidding Blind

What price should you offer when you bid on a home? Is the seller’s asking price too high, or does it represent a great deal. If you fail to research the market in order to understand what comparable homes are selling for, making your offer would be like bidding blind. Without this knowledge of market value, you could easily bid too much, or fail to make a competitive offer at all on an excellent value.

Buying the Wrong Home

What are you looking for in a home? A simple enough question, but the answer can be quite complex. More than one buyer has been swept up in the emotion and excitement of the buying process only to find themselves the owner of a home that is either too big or too small. Maybe they’re stuck with a longer than desired commute to work, or a dozen more fix-ups than they really want to deal with now that the excitement has died down. Take the time up front to clearly define your wants and needs. Put it in writing and then use it as a yardstick with which to measure every home you look at.

Unclear Title

Make sure very early on in the negotiation that you will own your new home free and clear by having a title search completed. The last thing you want to discover when you’re in the back stretch of a transaction is that there are encumbrances on the property such as tax liens, undisclosed owners, easements, leases or the like.

Inaccurate Survey

As part of your offer to purchase, make sure you request an accurate property survey that clearly marks your boundaries. If the survey is not current, you may find that there are structural changes that are not shown (e.g. additions to the house, a new swimming pool, a neighbor’s new fence that is extending a boundary line, etc.) Be very clear on these issues.

Undisclosed Fix-ups

Don’t expect every seller to own up to every physical detail that will need to be attended to. Both you and the seller are out to maximize your investment. Ensure that you conduct a thorough inspection of the home early in the process. Consider hiring an independent inspector to objectively view the home inside and out, and make the final contract contingent upon this inspector’s report. This inspector should be able to give you a report of any item that needs to be fixed with associated, approximate cost.

Not Getting Mortgage Pre-approval

Pre-approval is fast, easy and free. When you have a pre-approved mortgage, you can shop for your home with a greater sense of freedom and security, knowing that the money will be there when you find the home of your dreams.

Contract Misses

If a seller fails to comply to the letter of the contract by neglecting to attend to some repair issues, or changing the spirit of the agreement in some way, this could delay the final closing and settlement. Prepare a list of agreed issues, walk through them, and check them off one by one.

Hidden Costs

Make sure you identify and uncover all costs – large and small – far enough ahead of time. When a transaction closes, you will sometimes find fees for this or that sneaking through after the “sub total” – fees such as loan disbursement charges, underwriting fees etc. Understand these in advance by having your lender project total charges for you in writing.

Rushing the Closing

Take your time during this critical part of the process, and insist on seeing all paperwork the day before you sign. Make sure this documentation perfectly reflects your understanding of the transaction, and that nothing has been added or subtracted. Is the interest rate right? Is everything covered? If you rush this process on the day of closing, you may run into a last minute snag that you can’t fix without compromising the terms of the deal, the financing, or even the sale itself.

6 Things Michiana Mortgage Companies Might Not Tell You

6 Things Michiana Mortgage Companies Might NOT Tell You

6 Things You Must Know About Mortgages Before You Buy

Mortgage regulations have changed significantly over the last few years, making your options wider than ever. Subtle changes in the way you approach mortgage shopping, and even small differences in the way you structure your mortgage, can cost or save you literally thousands of dollars and years of expense.

“Get the Right Information”

Whether you are about to buy your first home, or are planning to make a move to your next home, it is critical that you inform yourself about the factors involved.

Industry research has revealed that there are 6 common mistakes that most homebuyers make in mortgage shopping that can have a significant impact on the outcome of this critical negotiation. If handled correctly, these issues could result in a mortgage that will cost you less over a shorter period of time.

Before you commit your hard earned dollars to monthly mortgage payments, consider these 6 issues. Effective consideration of these important areas can make your payments work much harder for you.

1. You can, and should, get pre-approved for a mortgage before you go looking for a home

Pre-approval is easy, and can give you complete peace of mind when shopping for your home. Your local lending institution can provide you with written pre-approval for you at no cost and no obligation, and it can all be done quite easily over the phone. More than just a verbal approval from your lending institution, a written pre-approval is as good as money in the bank. It entails a completed credit application, and a certificate that guarantees you a mortgage to the specified level when you find the home you’re looking for.

2. Know what monthly dollar amount you feel comfortable committing to

When you discuss mortgage pre-approval with your lending institution, find out what level you qualify for, but also pre-assess for yourself what monthly dollar amount you feel comfortable committing to. Your situation may give you a pre-approval amount that is higher (or lower) than the amount of money you would want to pay out each month. By working back and forth with your lending institution to determine what this monthly amount is, and what value of home this translates into at today’s rates, you won’t waste time looking at homes that are not in your price range.

3. You should be thinking about your long-term goals, and expected situation, to determine the type of mortgage that will best suit your needs

There are a number of questions you should be asking yourself before you commit to a certain type of mortgage. How long do you think you will own this home? What direction are interest rates going in, and how quickly? Is your income expected to change (up or down) in the near term, impacting how much money you can afford to pay to your mortgage? The answers to these and other questions will help you determine the most appropriate mortgage you should be seeking.

4. Make sure you understand what prepayment privileges and payment frequency options are available to you

More frequent payments (for example weekly or biweekly) can literally shave years off your mortgage. Simply by structuring your payments so that they come out more frequently, will significantly lessen the amount of interest that you will be charged over the term.

For the same reason, authorized prepayment of a certain percentage of your mortgage, or an increase in the amount you pay monthly, will have a major impact on the number of years you will have to pay and could shorten your payment term considerably.

These two payment options can cut years off your mortgage, and save you thousands of dollars in interest. However, not every mortgage has these prepayment privileges built in, so make sure you ask the proper questions.

5. Ask if your mortgage is both portable and/or assumable

A portable mortgage, where available, is one that you can carry with you when you buy your next home and avoid paying any discharge penalties. This means that you will not have to go through the entire mortgage process again unless you are making a move up to a much more expensive home.

An assumable mortgage is one that the buyer for your home can take over when you move to your next home. This can be a very powerful tool at the negotiating table making it much easier and more desirable for a buyer to buy your home, and again saves you any discharge penalties.

6. You should seriously consider dealing with a Mortgage Expert

Consider dealing only with a professional who specializes in mortgages. Enlisting their services can make a significant difference in the cost and effectiveness of the mortgage you obtain. For example they can make the process faster thereby avoiding costly delays. Typically there is no cost or obligation to inquire.

South Bend Home Selling Tips from John Tiffany

28 South Bend Home Selling Tips from John Tiffany

27 Home-Selling Tips for South Bend Homeowners

“…discover how to protect and capitalize on your most important investment..”

Because your home may well be your largest asset, selling it is probably one of the most important decisions you will make in your life. To better understand the home selling process, a guide has been prepared from current industry insider reports. Through these 27 tips you will discover how to protect and capitalize on your most important investment, reduce stress, be in control of your situation, and make the most profit possible.

1. Understand Why You Are Selling Your South Bend Home

Your motivation to sell is the determining factor as to how you will approach the process. It affects everything from what you set your asking price at to how much time, money and effort you’re willing to invest in order to prepare your home for sale. For example, if your goal is for a quick sale, this would deter-mine one approach. If you want to maximize your profit, the sales process might take longer thus determining a different approach.

2. Keep the Reason(s) You are Selling to Yourself

The reason(s) you are selling your home will affect the way you negotiate its sale. By keeping this to yourself you don’t provide ammunition to your prospective buyers. For example, should they learn that you must move quickly, you could be placed at a disadvantage in the negotiation process. When asked, simply say that your housing needs have changed. Remember, the reason(s) you are selling is only for you to know .

3. Before Pricing – Do Homework on other South Bend Homes

When you set your price, you make buyers aware of the absolute maximum they have to pay for your home. As a seller, you will want to get a selling price as close to the list price as possible. If you start out by pricing too high you run the risk of not being taken seriously by buyers and their agents and pricing too low can result in selling for much less than you were hoping for.

Setting Your Home’s Sale Price

  • If You Live in a Subdivision – If your home is comprised of similar or identical floor plans, built in the same period, simply look at recent sales in your neighborhood subdivision to give you a good idea of what your home is worth.
  • If You Live in An Older Neighborhood – As neighborhoods change over time each home may be different in minor or substantial ways. Because of this you will probably find that there aren’t many homes truly comparable to your own. In this case you may want to consider seeking a REALTOR&reg to help you with the pricing process.
  • If You Decide to Sell On Your Own – A good way to establish a value is to look at homes that have sold in your neighborhood within the past 6 months, including those now on the market. This is how prospective buyers will assess the worth of your home. Also a trip to City Hall can provide you with home sale information in its public records, for most communities.

4. Do Some South Bend “Home Shopping” Yourself

The best way to learn about your competition and discover what turns buyers off is to check out other open houses. Note floor plans, condition, appearance, lot size, location and other features. Particularly note, not only the asking prices, but also why they are actually selling. Remember, if you’re serious about getting your home sold fast, don’t price it higher than your neighbor’s.

5. When Getting an Appraisal is a Benefit

Sometimes a good appraisal can be a benefit in marketing your home. Getting an appraisal is a good way to let prospective buyers know that your home can be financed. However, an appraisal does cost money, has a limited life, and there’s no guarantee you’ll like the figure you hear.

6. Tax Assessments – What They Really Mean in South Bend

Some people think that tax assessments are a way of evaluating a home. The difficulty here is that assessments are based on a number of criteria that may not be related to property values, so they may not necessarily reflect your home’s true value.

7. Deciding Upon a REALTOR&reg

Nearly two-thirds of people who sell their own homes say they wouldn’t do it again themselves. Primary reasons included setting a price, marketing handicaps, liability concerns, and time constraints. When deciding upon a REALTOR&reg, consider two or three. Be as wary of quotes that are too low as those that are too high.

All REALTORS&reg are not the same! A professional REALTOR&reg knows the market and has information on past sales, current listings, a marketing plan, and will provide their background and references. Evaluate each candidate carefully on the basis of his or her experience, qualifications, enthusiasm and personality. Be sure you choose someone that you trust and feel confident that they will do a good job on your behalf.

If you choose to sell on your own, you can still talk to a REALTOR&reg. Many are more than willing to help do-it-your-selfers with paperwork, contracts, etc. and should problems arise, you now have someone you can readily call upon.

8. Ensure You Have Room to Negotiate

Before settling on your asking price make sure you leave yourself enough room in which to bargain. For example, set your lowest and highest selling price. Then check your priorities to know if you’ll price high to maximize your profit or price closer to market value if you want sell quickly.

9. Appearances Do Matter – Make them Count!

Appearance is so critical that it would be unwise to ignore this when selling your home. The look and “feel” of your home will generate a greater emotional response than any other factor. Prospective buyers react to what they see, hear, feel, and smell even though you may have priced your home to sell.

10. Invite the Honest Opinions of Others

The biggest mistake you can make at this point is to rely solely on your own judgment. Don’t be shy about seeking the honest opinions of others. You need to be objective about your home’s good points as well as bad. Fortunately, your REALTOR&reg will be unabashed about discussing what should be done to make your home more marketable.

11. Get it Spic n’ Span Clean and Fix Everything, Even If It Seems Insignificant

Scrub, scour, tidy up, straighten, get rid of the clutter, declare war on dust, repair squeaks, the light switch that doesn’t work, and the tiny crack in the bathroom mirror because these can be deal-killers and you’ll never know what turns buyers off. Remember, you’re not just competing with other resale homes, but brand-new ones as well.

12. Allow Prospective Buyers to Visualize Themselves in Your South Bend Home

The last thing you want prospective buyers to feel when viewing your home is that they may be intruding into someone’s life. Avoid clutter such as too many knick-knacks, etc. Decorate in neutral colors, like white or beige and place a few carefully chosen items to add warmth and character. You can enhance the attractiveness of your home with a well-placed vase of flowers or potpourri in the bathroom. Home-decor magazines are great for tips.

13. Deal Killer Odors – Must Go!

You may not realize but odd smells like traces of food, pets and smoking odors can kill deals quickly. If prospective buyers know you have a dog, or that you smoke, they’ll start being aware of odors and seeing stains that may not even exist. Don’t leave any clues.

14. Be a Smart Seller – Disclose Everything

Smart sellers are proactive in disclosing all known defects to their buyers in writing. This can reduce liability and prevent law suits later on.

15. It’s Better With More Prospects

When you maximize your home’s marketability, you will most likely attract more than one prospective buyer. It is much better to have several buyers because they will compete with each other; a single buyer will end up competing with you.

16. Keep Emotions in Check During Negotiations

Let go of the emotion you’ve invested in your home. Be detached, using a business-like manner in your negotiations. You’ll definitely have an advantage over those who get caught up emotionally in the situation.

17. Learn Why Your Buyer is Motivated to move to South Bend

The better you know your buyers the better you can use the negotiation process to your advantage. This allows you to control the pace and duration of the process.

As a rule, buyers are looking to purchase the best affordable property for the least amount of money. Knowing what motivates them enables you to negotiate more effectively. For example, does your buyer need to move quickly? Armed with this information you are in a better position to bargain.

18. What the Buyer Can Really Pay

As soon as possible, try to learn the amount of mortgage the buyer is qualified to carry and how much his/her down payment is. If their offer is low, ask their REALTOR&reg about the buyer’s ability to pay what your home is worth.

19. When the Buyer Would Like to Close

Quite often, when buyers would “like” to close is when they need to close. Knowledge of their deadlines for completing negotiations again creates a negotiating advantage for you.

20. Never Sign a Deal on Your Next Home Until You Sell Your Current South Bend Home

Beware of closing on your new home while you’re still making mortgage payments on the old one or you might end up becoming a seller who is eager (even desperate) for the first deal that comes along.

21. Moving Out Before You Sell Can Put You at a Disadvantage

It has been proven that it’s more difficult to sell a home that is vacant because it becomes forlorn looking, forgotten, no longer an appealing sight. Buyers start getting the message that you have another home and are probably motivated to sell. This could cost you thousands of dollars.

22. Deadlines Create A Serious Disadvantage

Don’t try to sell by a certain date. This adds unnecessary pressure and is a serious disadvantage in negotiations.

23. A Low Offer – Don’t Take It Personally

Invariably the initial offer is below what both you and the buyer knows he’ll pay for your property. Don’t be upset; evaluate the offer objectively. Ensure it spells out the offering price, sufficient deposit, amount of down payment, mortgage amount, a closing date and any special requests. This can simply provide a starting point from which you can negotiate.

24. Turn That Low Offer Around

You can counter a low offer or even an offer that’s just under your asking price. This lets the buyer know that the first offer isn’t seen as being a serious one. Now you’ll be negotiating only with buyers with serious offers.

25. Maybe the Buyer’s Not Qualified

If you feel an offer is inadequate, now is the time to make sure the buyer is qualified to carry the size of mortgage the deal requires. Inquire how they arrived at their figure, and suggest they compare your price to the prices of homes for sale in your neighborhood.

26. Ensure the Contract is Complete

To avoid problems, ensure that all terms, costs and responsibilities are spelled out in the contract of sale. It should include such items as the date it was made, names of parties involved, address of property being sold, purchase price, where deposit monies will be held, date for loan approval, date and place of closing, type of deed, including any contingencies that remain to be settled and what personal property is included (or not) in the sale. Need help, John Tiffany is here.

27. Resist Deviating From the Contract

For example, if the buyer requests a move-in prior to closing, just say no, that you’ve been advised against it. Now is not the time to take any chances of the deal falling-through.

28. Always talk to John Tiffany first!

You are going to need professional advice for someone how knows the industry, the market trends, and has experience. Let’s talk.

South Bend Property Investment Tip for homebuyers via Rent To Own

Chapter 7: Key Tips for South Bend Homebuyers and Property Investors

First, if you are an investor considering rent-to-own as an investment

Rent to own homes provide a great choice for buyers who have problem credit or difficulty qualifying for a home mortgage. In essence, rent to own homes allow many homebuyers to achieve the dream of home ownership, even if they cannot afford something as fundamental as a down payment.

However, before entering into a lease to own agreement, those considering lease option homes should become familiar with what they can expect after signing the contract. The following is a look at some important information that prospective buyers should know about rent to own homes.

Rent-To-Own Homes Make Moving In Easy

One of the reasons for the popularity of rent to own homes is the ease with which homebuyers move into them. Rent to own homes allow renters move into homes without any dealing with banks or the mortgage companies. Little paperwork is required, which also makes it faster for homebuyers to move into the home of choice.  Finally, many lease option agreements may not require a credit check or come with minimal credit requirements, making it easy to complete the contract and move right into the home of their dreams.

Home Sweet Home

Rent to own homes allow homebuyers to quickly make the property feel like home, which is quite different from a situation where an individual only rents the residence. In most traditional rental situations, the tenant normally needs to get any changes or improvements approved by the landlord before taking care of them. This is not the case with lease option homes, which is another reason they are so beneficial.

Most of the rent to own homes contracts allow the prospective buyer to make changes to the home and property, which includes renovating, painting and even landscaping it the way that is desired. This allows homebuyers to make the property feel like their own home. However, homebuyers must remember that money they spend on repairs or changes to the property will not be given back to them if they decide not to purchase the home at the lend of the lease period.

Credit Repair is Essential

Some homebuyers who enter into rent to own homes contracts will never end up purchasing the homes by the end of their contract. Those with credit problems need to take measures to improve their credit during the lease period if they want to qualify for financing for the home. Individuals can work on improving their credit on their own or they may want to use the services of a credit specialist. Failing to repair credit during the lease period may mean that homebuyers are still unable to make the final purchase in the end, which means they have spent money on the lease option fee, rent and improvements in vain.

Researching the Price is Key

Homebuyers must be aware that the prices on rent to own homes are often higher than homes sold traditionally. However, homebuyers still need to spend some time researching the price the seller is asking to ensure it is a reasonable price. This research includes checking out comparable homes in the area to see what they have been selling for, which helps homebuyers decide if the asking price is really a good deal.

Having the home assessed for value can help as well, since it gives prospective buyers an idea of what the home is currently worth before negotiating a purchase price. While paying a bit more for the benefits of lease option homes is to be expected, homebuyers should avoid overpaying too much on a home that may not increase in value over time.

Locking in a good price now can be beneficial to homebuyers, so doing a bit of research is important to ensure the seller is not charging an unreasonable price for the home being considered.

At a Glance:

  • Rent to own homes are favorable to people with bad credit scores;
  • Rent to own homes are relatively easy to move into;
  • The contracts of most rent to own homes are structured in such a way that the renter can actually start to improve the inside and the outside of the home as if it were already owned by him or her;
  • Chances for eventually buying the home can be increased by repairing credit;
  • Eventual buyers should ensure that the purchase price corresponds to the real value of the home.
Where to find Michiana Investment Property via Rent to Own

Chapter 6: Where to Find South Bend Rent to Own Homes

For homebuyers that decide to go the route of rent to own homes, finding these homes may seem difficult. Not only do homebuyers want to find a nice home, but a good landlord that offers agreeable terms. When traditional home financing is limited or restricted, homebuyers usually find it easier to find lease options. Rent to own homes are also common in a buyer’s market, but homebuyers still need to know where they can find these homes. Here is a look at some of the best places where these nontraditional homes can be found. 

Web Search

Homebuyers should make use of search engines, such as Google, when searching for rent to own homes. Using the search term “rent to own homes” or “lease option homes” along with the city and state of interest may provide excellent results. For example, a homebuyer who wants to buy in Houston, Texas should use search phrases like “lease option homes in Houston Texas” or “Houston Texas rent to own homes.” This will provide homebuyers will local results that may prove helpful when searching for these non-traditional home options.


Newspapers have fallen in popularity in age of the Internet in the 21st century, but in many cases, homebuyers may find rent to own homes in newspapers. The real estate classifieds section is the best place for potential homebuyers to search. Sometimes, sellers who are not comfortable with using the Internet will resort to the newspaper to advertise rent to own homes. Even though newspapers may seem “old school,” it never hurts to check, since they may offer some excellent lease option opportunities.

Driving through Neighborhoods

Consider driving through neighborhoods of interest when trying to find rent to own homes. Often, lease to own homes are scattered through different areas. Simply driving around and scouring neighborhoods to check for rental signs may provide an excellent way to find rent to own properties. Many sellers choose to use signage to advertise their home instead of using other costly advertising options, so it pays to drive through areas of interest.


One of the last resorts for homebuyers seeking rent to own homes is getting in touch with a real estate agent who deals with rentals. These real estate agents often know about lease option homes in the area.  Quality agents have their finger on the pulse of the market, thereby making the search for a lease option property just a little bit easier.

At a Glance

  • John Tiffany and South Bend Invest can help;
  • Searching with a search engine may provide excellent local results;
  • Newspapers are also a great place in which to find ads for some rent to own homes;
  • Driving through local neighborhoods may yield potential lease option properties;
  • Lastly, getting in touch with an Integra Real Estate of Michiana realtor who can help.
South Bend Budgeting Rent To Own

Chapter 5: Figuring out a Budget for South Bend Rent to Own Homes

Budgeting is exceptionally important in all areas of finance, and this holds true when purchasing rent to own homes. In fact, effective budgeting can mean the difference between succeeding and failing when making this kind of an offer on a home. The following steps offer helpful insight to help homebuyers figure out a budget when deciding to purchase a lease option home.


Step 1: How Big a Home?

Buyers ought to evaluate just how much home they can actually afford. They will likely have to qualify for a mortgage when it comes time to purchase the home. Based on FHA guidelines, the residence they purchase must not exceed 29 percent of their earnings. Other things to consider are private mortgage insurance, homeowner’s insurance, basic rent payments and even homeowner’s association fees.

Step 2: Understanding the Market

Homebuyers need to investigate present-day rent to own homes in their local areas. Flyers, websites, real estate agents and even property management firms could help them discover rent to own homes that they can afford. RealtyStore.com offers helpful search engines for homebuyers looking for lease option homes in their area, allowing buyers to search by state, county, city and more. While looking at properties, prospective buyers should ask to have the utilities turned on so that they can see potential problems with the property.

Step 3: Review the Contract

Buyers must also get detailed information about the rent to own homes contract that they will be entering into. Learning more is important, since the contract may be established in several different ways.

  1. First, the seller may require a down payment from prospective buyers at the start of the contract.
  2. Second, the seller could also charge renters a fixed, monthly amount over the specific rental amount. If the seller does charge a renter extra, this amount is set aside so the renter can use it towards the down payment on the home when they make the final purchase. Finally, the seller could use both the down payment and the extra rental amount within a lease option contract.

Step 4: Considering the Risks

Comprehending the risk that comes with lease option homes is also part of the budgeting picture. If the deal falls through, the renter loses all the money put into the home. For instance, the seller could end up having to file bankruptcy or could sell the home to someone else. A seller could lose ownership of the residence by way of a foreclosure, or takes out a 2nd mortgage on the residence. In any of these situations, the homebuyer may not be able to purchase the home, which means their investment in that home could be lost.

Step 5: Inspecting the Property

A potential homebuyer must check the home he wants to rent for an eventual purchase very carefully. Obtaining an inspection of the residence via a 3rd party inspector is an excellent idea. For example, potential homebuyers should look out for peeling exterior paint, extensive roof or water damage, or drainage problems on the outside of the property. Inside the home, buyers should look for badly patched walls, cracks, damage from water and mold and pest problems.

Step 6: Timeframes and Fees

The renter must also inspect the contract and read the fine print before deciding on a budget and making the investment in the home. Buyers need to determine when the property title will be given to the renter. Every timeframe and every fee should be checked carefully as well.

Step 7: Paying the Funds

Finally, the prospective homebuyer should pay off any necessary funds at the signing. Usually, this will include the 1st month of rent and the initial down payment. Some sellers may just insist on certified funds, but after successful payment, the prospective homebuyer ought to receive the keys to the house.

At a Glance:

  • Buyers should evaluate how much home they can actually afford;
  • Prospective homebuyers should consider all rent to own homes options in their area;
  • Buyers must obtain detailed information on the contract into which they are entering;
  • Be familiar with the risk involved with rent to own homes;
  • Prospective buyers should inspect the inside and outside of their property;
  • Inspecting the contract is important;
  • Buyers should pay off due funds at the time of signing

Next: Where to find rent-to-own homes