Avoid Rent to Own Scams

For many, the Rent-to-Own approach to buying a house has become a very attractive option to achieving their dream of home ownership in Hamilton.

Rent-to-Own programs can help families clear major hurdles on their way to home ownership such as: assisting you in satisfying today’s tighter mortgage lending requirements, help you repair credit issues, and eliminate the immediate need for a large down payment.

While the overwhelming majority of Rent-to-Own a home offers are trustworthy, some are not. We will point out some of the main RED FLAGS you should be aware of and at the same time tell you how we at Grand River REI operate a successful program. When you have finished reading this you will know what to look for, how to avoid problems, who should be part of your Home Purchase experience, and how to ensure that this journey will be a successful solution for you and your family.

Get everything in writing. Your home in Hamilton is probably your most important asset, and it’s okay to ask anyone you are working with to put a description of all services and promises in writing. Make sure you fully understand every document before you sign it.  We strongly suggest you get independent professional legal and financial counsel. The goal when working with clients is to make sure they understand the documents being signed and are comfortable in the knowledge that these documents have been legally vetted to ensure the buyer’s protection, as well as the company providing the service, during the term of the relationship. We encourage all our clients to have their lawyer review our documents before signing. (this may be redundant if the change above is adopted.) If this is not offered to you by other Rent-to-Own companies, then view this as a RED FLAG.

When you work with our Realtor(s) and mortgage broker(s), you can be sure that they are accredited through their respective associations. If you are working with anyone who is not, then view this as a RED FLAG. The names and credentials can be easily found and verified by going online at www.orea.com (Realtors) and www.caamp.org (Mortgage Brokers).

Is the mortgage broker/agent of the Tenant willing to follow your progress to ensure your credit will be repaired in the time frame outlined in the credit analysis? Has the report been shared with you? If not, then view this as a RED FLAG. Repairing your credit to qualify for a mortgage in Hamilton should be the goal of a Rent to Own program. If you are not following a plan, you may be falling into one of the most common Rent to Own a home scams going. With the help of our credit repair specialists, we help guide you through to contract completion.

Without the proper guidance, you may lose ALL of your initial deposit and ALL of the monthly credits you have accumulated throughout your term. Our team at The Grand River REI will do everything possible to help you qualify for the home you join our program, because we have done our due diligence BEFORE you enter into the program.

Alimony, pensions, provincial disability programs, unemployment insurance etc., may or may not be used as part of your “total pre-tax combined household income” to qualify for a Rent to Own property. Circumstances vary for each individual case. Make sure you carefully understand the explanation and ask for an objective second opinion. If the Rent to Own company states this information can be used without verifying details, then view this as a RED FLAG.

Legitimate Rent to Own companies should verify pertinent financial information; it’s not a “come one, come all” proposition. Unfortunately, some families will not qualify right away and will have to wait until they have the necessary minimum requirements in place. Our goal at  Grand River REI is to make sure you and your family will successfully purchase the property at the end of the Home Purchase program.

The Grand River REI works with qualified, licensed and reputable real estate agents who are experienced with our both ours and other Rent to Own programs and because they are part of our team they are also looking out for you as well.

The reader may be aware that the Canadian Real Estate market has been more stable than the US market over the past several years. The same rationale can be said about the Rent to Own (RTO) strategy. The incidence of RTO fraud in Canada is a fraction of the percentage as compared to the U.S.A. Canada has had a less problematic history than the US.

In one incident, an owner simply refused to acknowledge their purchase option contract and sold the house early. The proper paperwork, legally vetted, would have prevented this situation. This should have been seen as a RED FLAG. The tenant did not practice due diligence, nor did they hire a lawyer, and there was no realtor or mortgage broker involved who could have pointed out the problems.

We also know of another dangerous real estate scam that has nothing to do with Rent to Own … title theft. This one does indeed happen in Canada, generally to current homeowners who are late on their mortgage and fall prey to a company that claims they will take over your payments if you put the title in their name. Instead they take the title and the home, without having paid you for it.

There are, according to some web sites, Rent to Own scams where the renter may be asked to wire money before meeting anyone. In some cases, to raise the absurdity level even further, the scammer is in a different country. Even the most competent people have fallen for these types of scams.

If the water heater breaks, for instance — who pays for it? This will be outlined in detail in your agreement paperwork that we review with you. If it isn’t, then view this as a RED FLAG.

An inspection is a crucial step in the Rent to Own process. This is going to be your home at the end of the term. As such make sure that before you sign anything a home inspector has checked the home and make sure you are present during the inspection. If a Rent to Own company does not allow you to be present during the inspection, then view this as a RED FLAG.

You must read all paperwork very carefully before signing. A legitimate Rent to Own provider will not have any problem with an attorney or other professional reviewing your paperwork. In fact The Grand River REI insists you to do this. Get the future purchase price in writing. Do NOT sign a contract with an undetermined future purchase price. Patience is important. If the Rent to Own company is not transparent, then view this as a RED FLAG. Do not allow anyone to pressure you into signing any documents, or transferring money in any way. Scammers often attempt to create urgency, but the reality is that there are always plenty of homes available that can be purchased on your behalf. Remember YOU choose your own home; no one should choose it for you.

Properly done, Rent to Own can be your path to successful home ownership.

Why Choose Us?

  • We develop ethical and transparent relationships with our colleagues.
  • Implement a proven system that will continuously provide sound, predictable, winning results.
  • Commit to rigorous screening and due diligence practices to ensure successful outcomes.
  • Remain accessible and responsive to our clients.
  • Developing and nurturing loyal relationships with our partners.

Get connected!

Discover the benefits of our Home Purchase Solution.

RTOGETSTARTEDRTONEWSLETTER