How do I ask for a rent to buy option? Just ask the owner. Some real estate agents have bought several homes at bargain prices, usually homes that had been foreclosed. If this is the case with the home you are leasing, the real estate agent might be willing to sell. Rent-to-own purchases, also known as lease-to-own or lease purchase are a lease combined with a option to buy the property within a specified period, usually three years or less, and at an agreed-upon price. These agreements are used more than ever before for two reasons. First, many home buyers can't meet the higher qualification standards set by mortgage companies. Second, sellers may be able to get a satisfactory price using this plan. It's a win-win situation, because the buyer gets to live in the home and build equity and the seller gets a decent price. This is how it usually works. * The borrower pays an option fee, 1 percent to 5 percent of the price, which is credited to the purchase price, according to mtgprofessor.com. The borrower pays a market value rent plus an additional amount that is credited to the purchase price. The fee, option period, rent, rent premium and purchase price are all negotiable. *Some buyers use a real estate agent to negotiate the terms, which can be complicated, and the purchase price. * If the purchase option is not used, the buyer loses both the option fee and the rent premiums that were paid. * Buyers prefer a longer option period because it gives them more time to accumulate savings, repair their credit and qualify for a mortgage. But this can backfire. If they are never able to buy the home, they lose their investment. * Sellers usually prefer a short option period, but if it's too short, the house won't be sold. * The contract can be nullified if the buyer fails to pay the rent or doesn't maintain the property.