The Real Deal Miami

Lease-option contracts new tool for sellers

January 12, 2009 03:24PM

Sellers in Florida are offering lease-option contracts as a new incentive for buyers. These contracts allow buyers to live in the house as a tenant immediately and buy it later. These contracts are generally for 12 months, and the buyer puts down a deposit, which can be applied toward a down payment later. Some of the tenant’s rent is also usually applied to the down payment. Lease-options can ask above-market rents, realtors said, but the tenant and potential homeowner has some negotiating power in the current market. The arrangement helps sellers who are having a hard time finding buyers in this market, and gives more time to buyers who have issues such as bankruptcy filings or credit problems standing in the way of a home purchase.