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smdport,Don't get depressed by 'stinkin' thinkin' '.I've successfully for others and self, constructed 200+ Lease/Options that have closed over the last 30 yrs, 8 of which were my own properties. Only 9 out of that entire number didn't close and it was always related to a buyers life/financial situation changing drastically, as in divorce, death of family member, loss of job(s), etc.Rules of the road for success are:1-Don't be GREEDY, but DO be PICKY!2-Lease typically is let's say $1k a mo. for Your property. That means $3k for a std. startup including 1st/last/security. YOUR Property is no longer seeking the 'typical' renter...You want a BUYER!3-YOUR Lease becomes $1.5k per mo., $10k as a security deposit, and lock in a fair price for 2-3-5 yrs out as of TODAY's current value. Even Declining markets don't decline for 5 years.4-100% of their deposit is applied to their down payment. 50% or MORE of their monthly lease payment is applied to their down payment (if You want to sell badly enough, You agree that 100% of their lease payment goes to down payment.(You want to push THEIR Greed buttons, not yours')5-You need to agree to only be responsible for hazard insurance, taxes and major systems (roof, hvac, etc) and THEY are responsible for everything else. Toilet stops up...THEY get out the plunger. They want to make improvements, let 'em. They're responsible for grass mowing etc.They're responsble for renters insurance and yes, You Can ask for a copy of same if noted in the lease.6-You NEED either a good rental agent or neighbor to keep an eye on things for You if You're not going to be local to the area any longer, and You NEED a Call at the FIRST Sign of trouble. IF they're messing up, they're sure to have violated the lease and all bets are off. You want to Minimize Your exposure once You have confirmation of problems (legally getting a tenant out, once the lease is violated is challenging in some states).The Utilities need to all remain on at all times and You need a note on file with ALL utilities providers that IF the bill gets behind, or disconnect ordered, YOU need to be notified immediately.If You follow these steps, having an attorney prepare both the lease, and the option, and are EXTREMELY Selective in who You let lease, with the ultimate intention of buying, YOUR HOME, You'll be successful too.I've had far more SELLERS over the years (primarily between '97 and '06) trying to weasel out of the option Contracts, because in many cases the property values had DOUBLED in 2-3-5 years. Don't get greedy...when it gets to that point, they did all that they were supposed to, HONOR Your half of that contract. While we likely won't see that kind of appreciation again any time soon, it's not likely Your property will drop below the option price over either a 3 or 5 year stretch.You'll have a steady income, spread out for years, and the 2 issues to note are that Your taxes will increase without a homestead exemption on the property, and insurance will go up based on it being a 'rental'.Just Make Sure You've got the RIGHT FOLKS stepping up to the plate. Credit reports and their life story, while You may not want to hear it, DO give You great insight as to who You're dealing with. Be Careful, Be Honest, Be Respectful and Don't be Greedy and You will most likely be able to get Your place sold to a deserving couple or family who'll keep Your worries to the absolute minimum.HTH
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