Investors eye rent-to-own strategies as Canadians look for more ways to home ownership

Rent-to-own is becoming an increasingly attractive option for investors. While the practice isn’t as popular with our neighbours south of the border, here in Canada it is a great option to consider especially with tightening regulations, a complex market and new mortgage rules.

With more than 11 billion people across the country renting, and housing prices becoming more unattainable, tenants are looking for more options and investor interest is brewing on what opportunities are out there.

A rent-to-own strategy is an alternative route to home ownership for buyers who aren’t quite able to purchase their new home but are interested in eventually attaining ownership. It could be a great option for someone who is self-employed, new to Canada or has a damaged credit. The tenant would pay a monthly fee similar to rent, but a portion of that goes toward a down payment for that home. In addition, at the end of the agreed -upon term, the tenant would be in a position to qualify for a mortgage through traditional lending institutions and the property title will transfer to their name.

“There are many people across the country who are so close to getting their own home but need someone on their team like Homeowners Now and our partners that can support them through those last few steps,” said Conrad Field, VP Partnership at rent-to-own company, Homeowners Now.

From an investor’s perspective, rent-to-own is a low risk option that can maximize cash flow, target areas with high appreciation and allow for turnkey operations to occur. “Rent-to-own models have the ability to both grow wealth in strong markets, as well as protect it in a correction,” said Field.

According to him, rent-to-own is like a cross between shorter-term development projects and longer-term buy-and-hold properties. You get the benefit of receiving your capital back with profit in a relatively short time period like a development project, but also the security of monthly rent revenue like with a buy-and-hold. “There are benefits for everyone in the eco-system, from our partners, tenants and the rent-to-own company. As a wealth-building vehicle for our partners, some of those benefits include the security of substantial deposits, additional revenue streams under contract, minimal ongoing management, reduced expenses and more,” he added.

Homeowners Now has partnered with some of the most experienced professionals in the real estate industry to put systems and processes in place to maximize the success of tenants and provide security for their partners. The tenant-first approach is a key aspect of that, according to Field. “We find the tenant, qualify them for our program based on a set of financial criteria and then they pick their dream home on the market that is within the price range they can afford. What’s great about this is the tenant truly gets the house of their choice instead of having to select from a potentially very small list of available properties,” said Field. This means the tenant is more motivated to follow through with the program and likely to have years of happiness in their home. Homeowners Now uses a deferred purchase agreement, rather than a lease option, which is able to provide additional security for investors.

In a new whitepaper, Field shares more detailed information on how to maximize return on investments this year through a rent-to-own strategy. “A lot of people don’t have the time to put these pieces in place and are looking for a hands-off way to get involved. They want their money working for them so they can focus on other priorities,” said Field.

Source: Canadian Real Estate Magazine – by Kasi Johnston 30 Jan 2020

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