Ken's Voyages Around the Sun

The Third Route
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We had someone schedule a short-notice private house viewing on Friday morning, and it turns out that he may want a second look, so he's our best hope so far for a sale.

Some time ago we discussed whether we might rent the house in case of a non-sale and we decided that being long-distance landlords did not appeal to us, and we didn't really want to go that route if we could afford not to. Of course WB's lame attitude toward telecommuting means we have fewer options, but still: we don't want to rent the place if we don't have to.

However, our agent Lucy suggested consideration of a third route: lease to own. Apparently many people do this when market conditions like the present prevail. And her agency can make it all happen, complete with vetting potential lease/buyers, etc.

Technically we'd be sort of like landlords, but anyone living here with this kind of contract would have a large amount at stake (like tens of thousands in down payment - a whopper of a security deposit, in effect). They would have to make a professional salary to even afford a lease, so the property should remain in good hands.

Everything's negotiable, but typically a leaser negotiates a house price, has inspections, etc., puts down a large deposit and makes regular payments for a year, with most of the payment going toward the mortgage we still have on the house and the remainder as a further deposit against total end cost. We would carry insurance, but they would cover all other utilities and expenses.

This works well for someone who has to build credit or what-not and wants to get into a new house without immediate clearance from a bank. We essentially make the sale, but have delayed gratification for the large pay-off. This kind of arrangement does not work for those who have to sell their current house to get the next one, but in our case it's not a problem.

It does mean we have to pay mortgage interest on the new house for that time period, but compared to having no one in the house AND making new-loan payments, it's a clear winner for us too.

Thus, it's almost certain that we'll pursue this route if the house does not sell by the end of July when it's pretty much run its course of listings and becomes a stale property.

Luckily, the person who took Shelley's old job at WB is rather keen on making exactly this kind of arrangement. She and her family visited for an hour yesterday to see the place, and we believe it likely they'll take a lease with us.

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