Orlando, FL (PressExposure) August 18, 2006 -- Orlando, Florida (EZINEARTICLES) August 18, 2006- Scammers in Florida steal more than dreams from people, whose misplaced trust in some rent to own home promoters leaves them without their down payment money and their homes.
Let the buyer beware rings tragic in Florida during the state's softening housing market, as people with damaged credit and unable to get their own home mortgages have turned to those offering "Lease-Option," "Rent-to-Own," or "Lease with an option to purchase" home ownership opportunities.
Sarasota's Mike Payne, a Realtor with Horizon Realty who specializes in rent-to-own home opportunities believes it has gotten more challenging for people searching for a rent to own home to separate the good guys from the bad guys in the rent to own business.
"It's horrible what's happening to good people victimized by these scammers who prey on trusting people's strong desire for their dream home," Payne added.
When done correctly, Payne mentioned, people achieve the American Dream of home ownership by renting to own a nice home in a nice neighborhood.
To avoid getting ripped off or succombing to a costly gimmick, Payne offers the following advice:
1. Confirm ownership of property offered as rent-to-own.
2. Don't fall for the "We're not Realtors" line.
3. Beware of FSBOs (For Sale By Owners) Offering Rent-to-Own.
4. Don't fall for the "I'm a Realtor; I can help you" line.
5. Get the future purchase price in writing.
6. Read all paperwork very carefully before signing.
7. Don't Rush.
8. Do the math.
9. Separate the facts from the BS.
10. Don't fall for the "rent credit" gimmick.
Ivan and Levette Wheeler of Sanford, Florida, had pursued a rent-to-own home opportunity from a company appearing to help people with damaged credit:
"...I finally visited (web) sites listing different companies willing to work w/ your credit blemishes. They all wanted your personal information and some type of fee to start the process. We actually got suckered into a scam and lost $1200 to a fraudulent company that promised us a home of our choice and price. After losing $1200, our trust level dropped significantly and we became very skeptical about the so-called 'Lease to Purchase' or 'No Credit, No Problem - Own Your Home Today!' schemes."
As Mr. and Mrs. Wheeler tragically discovered, these scammers prey on people's strong desire to get their own homes.
"We didn't think our situation was so bad that banks would turn us down," the Wheelers added. "What we learned was that our damaged credit required us to take a loan with an outrageous interest rate, a huge down payment, and excessive fees. We didn't expect the type of loan reserved for people with good credit, but we didn't expect to get hammered either. We looked at what that loan would've cost us and we couldn't believe it. We just couldn't afford the bank's monthly payment, their down payment requirement, or the fees they expected us to pay."
For the Wheelers, losing hard-earned money did not destroy their pursuit of a legitimate rent-to-own home ownership program.
"We knew we wanted to be homeowners, not renters. We also knew that despite a bad experience with a company pretending to offer rent-to-own opportunities there had to be at least one reputable company out there actually helping people achieve their dream of home ownership," the Wheelers added.
People dreaming of owning their own homes fall prey to the scammers' misleading and deceptive gimmicks.
"More and more, I'm hearing from people who have been victimized by a rent to own home scam or gimmick. Education is the key to avoiding getting ripped off."
Before signing the paperwork verifying the term, the conditions, and the future agreed upon purchase price, ask the following questions:
* What happens if I'm not able to get my own financing at the end of the lease term?
*What happens if the property doesn't appraise for the future agreed upon price at the end of the lease term?
You really can avoid getting ripped off by the scams and gimmicks as you pursue your rent-to-own home opportunity.