Free Down Payment Assistance Report

Ask for Your Down Payment Assistance Report TODAY - FREE to Apply HERE! ***Credit Friendly*** Rent-to-Own / Buy / Lease & Finance TODAY!

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Home Sweet Home Real Estate Network Establishes Down Payment Assistance Page on Facebook Today

In an effort to reach out to more families to promote affordable housing, the Home Sweet Home Real Estate Network has established a Down Payment Assistance page on Facebook to assist families in the are of homeownership.

More than down payment assistance is offered.  Rental assistance and utility bill assistance is also available through various organizations.

Just contact the network through their Facebook page at:

Michael Hathman

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Free Mortgage Leads: Free Real Estate Leads Blog Now Active

Free Mortgage Leads: Free Real Estate Leads Blog Now Active: This blog is a promotional blog for free real estate leads and is an extension of and

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Now Hiring Account Executives for Home Sweet Home Real Estate Network

We are seeking qualified applicants to visit real estate offices and mortgage professionals to join our network and to provide us with referrals of persons seeking to rent, rent-to-own or buy affordable housing. These people may not be able to qualify for a home loan for whatever reason: health, income changes, job history changes or credit issues.

We will place these people into a home (or mobile home) based on various affordability factors and needs. In exchange, we pay both the real estate agents and loan officers a commission as well as the account executive.

Additionally, we also train real estate agents and loan officers extensively on helping them grow their business volume using various tools and online resources.

Account Executives can expect to make between $35,000 to $50,000 per year. A draw against commission or salary feature may be offered to the right candidate after a trial period.
Applicants are expected to have the following qualities:
- Act with professional decorum at all times;
- Listen to instructions in all instances;
- Be a self-starter;
- Some college preferred but not required;
- Must be well-groomed;
- Must also have business casual attire;
- Real estate or mortgage experience preferred but not required;

Applicants may or may not be disqualified based on (but not limited to) the following:
- Must not have a serious criminal background (case-by-case but all are welcome to apply);
- Must not have tattoos visible outside the cover of business clothing;
- Must pass a 6-month probationary period.

Job Type: Commission

Required education:

High school or equivalent

Required experience:

Sales: 1 year

Required language: English

Required license or certification:

Driver's License

Find us at:

Monday, October 17, 2016

Need Down Payment Assistance? Rental Assistance?

Free Down Payment Assistance Report & Rent-to-Own Report is now available!  Report also offers rental assistance as well. 
To order our other free reports, such as the Rent-to-Own Homes Report, just visit:
To make application for affordable housing AND TO RECEIVE DOWN PAYMENT ASSISTANCE (as well as the report), apply for free:
Report offers several organizations who assist with not only down payment assistance but also rental assistance as well including help with utilities if so required.  This report typically only includes organizations who provide only PARTIAL help with down payment assistance and/or utility help and may be up to several hundred dollars or more.  However, in the majority of cases, applicants must also have a monetary involvement in their down payment in order to receive funding (which includes rental/utility assistance).
Home Sweet Home also offers down payment assistance in the form of sweat equity and a down payment installment program as well.  Once you have your down payment saved, Home Sweet Home can help you get placed into a home.  Again, all down payment assistance programs REQUIRE that the buyer (or renter in the case of rental assistance) have a minimum to substantial monetary interest or involvement in the payment of down payment or move-in cost requirements.  In other words, while the down payment assistance programs can help substantially, an applicant will be REQUIRED to also contribute funds toward the down payment (or rental costs/utilities) as well.
101 Awesome Fundraising ideas are also covered to help you cover your housing needs sooner than ever!

Submitted by:
Michael Hathman
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Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Renting? 10 Great Tips for Renters

1. Bring your paperwork.The best way to win over a prospective landlord is to be prepared. To get a competitive edge over other applicants, bring the following when you meet the landlord: a completed rental application; written references from landlords, employers, and colleagues; and a current copy of your credit report.

How to Get a Copy of Your Credit Report

You can order your credit report by mail, phone, or online at or directly from the websites of the three major national credit bureaus:


For information on dealing with credit problems, see the Credit Repair for Bad Credit area of Nolo's website.

2. Review the lease.

Carefully review all of the conditions of the tenancy before you sign on the dotted line. Your lease or rental agreement may contain a provision that you find unacceptable -- for example, restrictions on guests, pets, design alterations, or running a home business. For help reviewing your lease or rental agreement, see Signing a Lease or Rental Agreement FAQ.

3. Get everything in writing.To avoid disputes or misunderstandings with your landlord, get everything in writing. Keep copies of any correspondence and follow up an oral agreement with a letter, setting out your understandings. For example, if you ask your landlord to make repairs, put your request in writing and keep a copy for yourself. If the landlord agrees orally, send a letter confirming this.

4. Protect your privacy rights.Next to disputes over rent or security deposits, one of the most common and emotion-filled misunderstandings arises over the tension between a landlord's right to enter a rental unit and a tenant's right to be left alone. If you understand your privacy rights (for example, the amount of notice your landlord must provide before entering), it will be easier to protect them. For more information, see Tenants' Rights to Privacy and Repairs FAQ.

5. Demand repairs. Know your rights to live in a habitable rental unit -- and don't give them up. The vast majority of landlords are required to offer their tenants livable premises, including adequate weatherproofing; heat, water, and electricity; and clean, sanitary, and structurally safe premises. If your rental unit is not kept in good repair, you have a number of options, ranging from withholding a portion of the rent, to paying for repairs and deducting the cost from your rent, to calling the building inspector (who may order the landlord to make repairs), to moving out without liability for your future rent. For more information, see the article Renters' Rights to Minor Repairs.

Read more here:

Submitted by:
Michael Hathman

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Rent-to-Own: How Does It Work?

Many people have dreamed of owning their own home. The problem that stops most people is that they either don’t have the credit to qualify for a home loan (at least a good home loan); don’t have the down payment; or they don’t have BOTH - which is a killer. And so, owning a home on a rent option (or even a rent-to-own basis) is simply out of the question. So, they decide to settle for living with friends or family. In some cases, people have to pay to live inside a cramped apartment or even in someone else’s basement or a hotel paying rental fees well over $1,000 per month.

Apply FREE Today:

Rent-to-Own Homes & Down Payment / Rental Assistance

Home Sweet Home Real Estate Network offers a solution to help renters become homeowners.


- We offer A FREE Down Payment Assistance Report on how you can get a big portion of your down payment covered by down payment assistance organizations who gift funds to prospective homeowners. You can receive hundreds (sometimes thousands) to help cover a portion of your down payment. Most of these organizations require that the recipient have money invested in the down payment – so it’s not going to be 100% free. And, Home Sweet Home representatives can help you apply and guide you through what can be a difficult and sometimes complex. But, we will show you HOW TO GET STARTED at the end of this report.

- We offer down payment assistance as well (both in terms of sweat equity credits and a discount offer).

- While Down Payment Assistance is offered, the same organizations offer the same funds for Rental Assistance as well.

- We offer a program that is CREDIT FRIENDLY.

- We offer professional guidance, advice and counseling on your case. ALWAYS USE LEGAL COUNSEL SO YOU CAN UNDERSTAND YOUR RIGHTS (REAL ESTATE ATTORNEY).

How to Get Your FREE Down Payment Assistance Report

- Apply FREE Online: (to also qualify for housing)

- Apply FREE:

Understanding this Report More Thoroughly

Use the Real Estate Glossary:

Affordability Factors & Tools

Find out how much you can afford. Here are some tools that can help immensely:

Mortgage Calculator Tool

Affordability Calculator Tool

Cost of Living Comparison Tool

US States Economic Comparisons Tool

Market Rent Rate Tool (Nationwide)

Finding the Perfect Home – Where to Go?

Check out: (powered by Zillow)



What You Really Need to Know About Rent-to-Own

Ever wonder what it was that you needed to know about Rent-to-Own (Lease Purchase) Contracts. Well, this report explains what it is you need to know and what to expect going into a rent-to-own arrangement. This report explains nearly everything you want to know.
Advantages of Rent-to-Own

There are several advantages for doing a rent-to-own agreement:

- You can “test” out living in the neighborhood. If you have terrible neighbors, too much drama, crime or you don’t like the schools, you can always decide to “pull out” of the deal. However, you can add this contingency into the contract as a stipulation.

- You can “test” out the house. If there are too many maintenance problems, you may be able to either get them fixed under an agreement with the seller. If there is a serious problem, you may be able to have the contract cancelled altogether simply by the landlord and you signing a mutual release.

- You can “test” the landlord. If he’s crazy or just terrible, you may just be able to “get out” of the deal.
Disadvantages of Rent-to-Own

- As opposed to making a principal, interest, taxes and insurance payment on a home you own, you will be paying rent and only a partial amount (if any) will be credited to your down payment financing.

- If you “back out” you lose the rental credits and the down payment to the landlord as liquidated damages. Basically, what you pay toward owning the house could be lost.

- Many landlords have become wiser to renters who pay late due to unforeseen circumstances. If you are late, the contract could stipulate that only a partial rent credit (or no rent credit) will be credited to the down payment.

- Unlike a mortgage payment, a banker will not show up at your front door demanding late payment. However, a landlord is far more likely to do so.
Other Alternatives - Rent with Option to Buy

An agreement that gives a renter the choice to purchase a property during or at the end of the rental period. As long as the lease option period is in effect, the landlord/seller may not offer the property for sale to anyone else. When the term expires, the renter must either exercise or forfeit the purchase option. A lease option gives a renter/potential buyer more flexibility than a lease-purchase agreement, which requires the renter to purchase the property at the end of the rental period.

BREAKING DOWN 'Lease Option'

The property owner may charge the renter a premium for the option to purchase the property, perhaps in the form of higher (above market value) monthly rental payments. The property owner may opt to apply some of the higher rental fee toward the purchase price if the renter exercises the option.

Any premium will likely be forfeited if the option is not exercised. The term of the option may be any period on which the property owner/landlord and potential purchaser/renter agree, but is commonly one to three years. The lease-option property's purchase price may be determined either at the outset of the agreement or at its conclusion.

NOTE: Home Sweet Home REN investors usually credit the option toward the sales price of the home as part of the down payment. However, this is a point that both the seller/landlord and the renter/buyer must agree upon.

Read more: Lease Option Definition | Investopedia

Follow Investopedia: Investopedia on Facebook

Working with A Real Estate Agents and Loan Officer

Talking to Your Loan Officer

This is probably the first and most important step to getting the rent-to-own ready. Finding out what you your qualifications are (how much house you can afford) and what type of loan best works for you.

- If you are employed, an FHA may work best and its qualification scoring is normally 640.

- If your scores are lower, a conventional double loan may work. You will need to know how much of a loan it will be compared to value of the house. This way, you will know how much of your own cash will need to be invested.

- If you don’t qualify for a loan – FIND OUT WHY. We can help you fix whatever obstacle may be stopping you from getting financing.

- Remember, we can help you get FREE down payment assistance. There are also fundraisers you can do to get the down payment together.

- Ask what loan may work best for your needs: FHA, VA, Conventional, Stated or Sub-prime
Working with Real Estate Agents

Some real estate agents don’t like to work with clients unless they have a pre-approval because it is far easier to get them into a home with a home loan or cash and the real estate agents can make a full commission when the transaction closes at a title company. These are what are known as “cookie cutter” transactions. It’s a just get a loan or all cash deal – so I can get paid my commission. It’s a very inflexible way to work as an agent and it limits their income. But, this is a whole other story.

However, many agents enjoy doing this type of work and work on the “Wal-Mart Theory of Volume” – the more volume of transactions can make up for the number of “cookie cutter” deals they don’t do to make a full commission. Instead of a sale commission right up front, the agents make a leasing commission and hope to make the sale commission down the road “if things work out in their favor” - so to speak. Leasing commissions are also easier to get because there is no “wait time” other than for a lease to be “approved” by the landlord.

Advantages of Working with Agents

- Agents have access to more information about houses listed on the multi listing service whereas the public does not. They can find out things about the house that are not otherwise notated on public listings.

- Agents can find out if a house is current on payments or not, if there may be a short sale issue with the home or if the home may ultimately be falling into foreclosure.

- Agents work with other agents and sometimes have strong relationships with others in the business and it can benefit both sides.

- All sellers are “verified” as real sellers and are the owners of the properties in question.

- An agent can represent a renter and their interests.

- Agents typically have all the paperwork necessary to complete a transaction.

- Agents typically have a “master key” to get inside homes to show them to buyers/renters.

- Agents can set up showings.
Disadvantages of Working with Agents

- Many agents don’t like dealing with people who have “bad credit” because it is harder to get them placed into a home – especially in cases where the seller is concerned about credit reporting.

- Agents don’t like to normally work with renters because leasing commissions don’t pay near as much as do sales commissions.

- All agents represent the seller at the outset unless contracted to be a buyer’s of renter’s agent or a transaction broker (an agent who simply facilitates a home sale and does not represent either the seller or the buyer/renter.

- You have to “hire” an agent to work for you in your home search if you want an agent.

- Some agents are professionals and others are not. You will have to hire and see.

Whose “Side” Does an Agent Represent?


There are agents, and then there are agents. Yes, it sounds confusing. That’s because the term “agent” is often used in a casual manner, referring to any real estate practitioner.

But agent also refers to someone with whom you’ve established a formal agency relationship—someone who represents your best interests in a real estate transaction and owes you fiduciary responsibilities. Agency relationships are usually established in writing with buyer agency agreements, and require:

 loyalty

 obedience

 disclosure

 confidentiality

 reasonable care and diligence

 accounting


For many years, real estate was practiced in such a manner that agency relationships were only extended to sellers. Any real estate agent who brought a buyer to the table was actually working as a sub-agent to the seller.

This all began changing in the 1980s, when buyer agency started gaining momentum in residential transactions. Today, agency laws still vary from state to state. But even if you live in a state that recognizes buyer agency, you can’t assume that you will automatically receive fiduciary responsibilities from the agent you’re working with as a potential home buyer.

That’s why it’s vitally important to talk to the agent or broker early in your working relationship about his/her agency status. You may also want to consult your state association of REALTORS® to gain a better understanding about agency laws in your particular state, or contact the agency charged with regulating real estate professionals in your state, often referred to as the state real estate commission.

Details vary from one state to another, and each brokerage has its own contract terms within these broader guidelines. But for purposes of illustration, this table outlines how your status may affect the level of service to which you are entitled:

Are you a buyer-customer or a buyer-client? Services will vary, depending on your agency status*

If you are a CUSTOMER (no agency relationship), an agent will:

If you are a CLIENT (agency relationship), your agent will:

Maintain loyalty to the seller’s need

Pay full attention to your needs

Tell the seller all that they know about you

Tell you all that they know about the seller

Keep information about the seller confidential

Keep information about you confidential

Focus on the seller-client’s property

Focus on choices that satisfy your needs

Provide just the material facts

Provide material facts as well as professional advice

Only provide price information that supports the seller’s listing price

Provide price counseling based on comparable properties and their professional insights

Protect the seller

Protect and guide you

Negotiate on behalf of the seller

Negotiate on your behalf

Attempt to solve problems to the seller’s advantage and satisfaction

Attempt to solve problems to your advantage and satisfaction

* This chart is for general illustration purposes only. Agency laws vary by state; and specific terms of individual agency contracts will vary from one agent to another.

Depending on the laws in your state, you may find yourself working with someone who is actually negotiating for the seller, not you the buyer. The best way to be certain your interests are being considered and protected is to sign a buyer agency agreement with a trained buyer’s rep, which clearly establishes client-level services and spells out what services you can depend upon.

In some cases, it will become necessary for your real estate professional to deviate from the single agency model. For example, a buyer-client may become interested in a house that also happens to be offered for sale by a seller-client of their buyer’s rep, or by the same brokerage firm. How can a buyer’s rep, in this instance, maintain complete loyalty to their buyer if he or she also owes complete loyalty to the seller?

Obviously, they can’t. But, depending on the real estate license laws in your state, and your status with the brokerage firm, the manner in which this situation is handled will vary. To get concrete answers, you should read and discuss the brokerage services disclosure statement, which should reflect your state’s agency law. If your agent hasn’t supplied a disclosure statement, you should ask for it. It spells out the different categories of agency services they provide and how they address dual agency.

Almost all states require disclosure of dual agency and often require that a buyer’s rep (or his or her brokerage firm) only act as a dual agent with the written consent of all parties to the transaction. In such a situation, the brokerage agrees to endeavor to be impartial between both parties and will not represent the interest of either party to the exclusion or detriment of the other party. Neither will they share the confidential information of one party with the other party. This is how brokerage firms and their agents strive to create win-win situations for everyone involved. There are a few states that prohibit dual agency even with disclosure and consent.

Some states also allow different types of relationships beyond agency relationships. For example, a transaction broker assumes responsibility to facilitate the transaction, rather than represent one side over the other. Further obligations may also be set forth in a written contract with a client.

Even though the laws concerning agency can vary from one state to another, one thing that is constant throughout the U.S. is the obligation for all REALTORS® to comply with the National Association of REALTORS® Code of Ethics (link is external).


Real estate agency relationships, like all business relationships, can be formed in a number of ways. In order to help talk through your options, here are several questions to ask your buyer’s rep:

 Do you represent buyers, sellers or both?

 What services are provided to (or excluded from) me, based on my status as a buyer-customer or buyer-client?

 When does representation begin? When does it conclude?

 If I’m not ready to commit to your normal term, can you offer me a one-day buyer agency agreement or a 24-hour opt-out clause?

 How is dual agency addressed in your firm?

Finding the Perfect Home – Where to Go?

Check out: (powered by Zillow)



The Contract – Types, Terms & Conditions

Down Payment Strategies

Down payments can be made in a few different ways:

- Lump Sum

- Installment Agreement - (Payments Over Time – Possibly in Addition to Rental Payments)

- Rental Credits – Sometimes these are credited to (and tied in with) timely payments

- Down Payment Assistance (with Home Sweet Home Real Estate Network)

- Fundraising (included in the FREE Down Payment Assistance Report)
Combination of Rental Agreement and Purchase Agreement

A rent-to-own arrangement is the coupling of a lease with a purchase agreement. Since this is the case, sometimes this is called, “rent-to-own” or “lease purchase” as the 2 contracts are “bundled together” for the ultimate purpose of selling the property.


Typically, a purchase contract will set a “pre-set” or “price lock” for the home in question. It’s important to be aware the amount for which a home of similar build and lot size sells. This is usually done by checking for pricing online. A similar house very close to the property may sell for much less than the subject property and negatively impacts price. Whereas, a similar house, situated very close to the subject property, that sells for a higher price “pushes up” the prices of nearby homes.

A great place to get comparable sales is:

Ultimately, if you purchase a home via a loan officer or mortgage company, they will use an appraiser who will assess the value of the home at time of purchase.

Rental Funds

Contract Stipulations about how rental funds will be spent to cover the house payment should be included in the contract. Stipulating that a rental payment must be used to cover principal, interest, taxes and insurance (“PITI”) as well subdivision or association fees will need to be addressed so that the property does not slip into foreclosure.

Monthly verification from the seller to the renter to insure the property payments have been made regarding these items should be required by a renter.

Typical Length of Rent-to-Own Period & Extensions
A typical period of a rent-to-own agreement is normally 2 – 3 years at most. Although, it can be longer yet. There is no “set” time standard. You may make it as long or as short as needed (provided the seller/landlord agrees).

If you can’t qualify for a loan in time, the seller is free to offer an extension in order for you to be able to qualify for a home loan. However, if the renter has been a nightmare to manage, payments are always late and there is a hostile relationship, the seller/landlord may not be willing to grant an extension and then any down payment and rental credits would be forfeit. Also, the seller may or not be in a hurry to liquidate the property. Always ask if you need an extension. It could be granted.

In many ways, the deadline to get financing is very similar to a loan with a balloon payment. There is a deadline for either purchase or pay off.


In the majority of cases, there are no refunds of down payments and rent credits if the renter/buyer fails to purchase the property. The down payment and rent credit are typically forfeit as liquidated damages to the seller who is relying on the purchaser to purchase the subject property in question.

Security Deposit/Down Payment

This item is negotiable. Sometimes, the down payment may be a percentage of the house (normally 5 – 10% down), a flat dollar amount or it can even be an amount equal to first and last month’s rent plus a security deposit. Negotiations on this start with the seller’s request for funds. Also, it should be discussed as to how much is credited to price and how much is credited toward closing costs.

Hazards & Hazard Insurance

It’s important to always carry renter’s insurance. The owner of the home should always carry hazard insurance / flood insurance (if on a flood plain). Once you purchase your home, it’s important you set up hazard insurance before purchasing. If you have a loan, sometimes the loan company will escrow payments for homeowner’s insurance. It’s important to understand that it is always paid and kept enforce at all times. Ask you loan officer if the lender will be doing an escrow for it or not. If you purchase your home on seller financing or contract for deed, make sure that insurance coverage is addressed in the contract.

If you are buying a property which is a condo or is about to be sold as a condo, a condominium association should be established and a policy should be bought for the association. Homeowners will need to pay for an insurance policy as well.

Sublets, Assignments and House Guests

Many people like having roommates to help cover the house payment / rent payment. Make sure that this is ok with your landlord/lender.
Seller / Landlord

Landlord Motives for Doing Rent-to-Own

Sometimes sellers have various reasons for wanting to sell/rent the house.

(1) The house has become a burden to the seller as well as the payments. This is particularly true with people who have become elderly, sick or unemployed.

(2) Divorce. The house needs to be sold and the equity split.

(3) Rehabbers are tired of the carrying costs of making payments and it’s eating into their profits. Rent-to-Own is a great way to quickly offset costs.

(4) The seller is an investor and is interested in making a profit on the house and also getting an income stream from the property.

(5) Sellers are relocating and need to have the house occupied and the house payment covered by a renter.

Tenant - Landlord Relations

It is important to keep a relationship with the seller/landlord in good standing. The last thing you want to do is make an enemy of your landlord. This can ultimately destroy not only the relationship but also the transaction.

Here’s What NOT to Do… DON’T Be… Here’s What TO DO… Be…

- late all the time (payments) - on time (payments)

- disrespectful - courteous

- challenging - helpful & compliant

- threatening - non-combative

- ungrateful - gracious and classy

Nothing motivates a landlord more than to want to evict someone simply because they have become a burdensome nightmare. Chances are, if you treat someone with respect, you will get it back in kind.

How Paying Your Rent May Impact Your Credit

Many landlords have decided to report rent payments to credit bureaus. As long as you are not late, you can buy the house. Ask your landlord if he reports rental payments to the credit bureaus. This can help you build your credit as well. But, you need to keep your relationship with your landlord in good standing.

Late Payments and Late Fees & Other Charges

If a renter pays late, they will need to pay late fees. Typically, these late payments incur a charge which may be $50.00 or up to 5% of the payment normally. Refusal to pay the fees constitute a breach. Failure to pay or withhold rent may also result in a breach. Such refusals may result in the contract being terminated by the landlord. The recommendation is to just pay any charges that are justifiably owed.

Damaged Credit

Sometimes where damaged credit is concerned, a landlord may charge more than market rent to offset the risk factors involved. Also, the down payment may also be greater than otherwise required. Such risk may include foreclosure, eviction, recent judgments or too many residences reporting on a credit report. Too many job changes may also indicate instability. Just be aware, if such things are reporting on public records or credit reports, additional funds may be required to secure a rent-to-own agreement. Furthermore, any deposits maybe nonrefundable.

Concerning Landlord Profits

Profits are important to a landlord. Typically, owning costs less than renting because the landlord can charge a premium – especially for damaged credit. Normally, making a profit of a few hundred dollars may not be out of the question.

Market Rent & Landlord Risk

Market rent is an important economic factor that “caps” rent for certain areas. But, market rent usually only applies to “A” credit. When damaged credit comes into play, rent payments may be a little higher than the market because the landlord will need to charge more to offset the additional risk with additional rent premium and/or security deposit.

Checking Background / Employment Verification

Background verification standards vary from landlord to landlord. In many cases, landlords will not rent to convicted felons (normally only to those felons who have either serious drug offenses, sexual or violent crimes). Other times, if the crime was committed in the distant past, the crime may be “ignored” by the landlord. However, there may be an odd item that may also disqualify a person for approval based on a recent “contempt” charge for misbehaving in a court of law.

Job verification may also play a part – not only in the leasing decision but also lending decision of creditors making home loans. Frequent career changes may indicate instability as much as frequent job changes in a short number of years. Such movements can show instability.

Many times landlords will fax an employment verification to an employer. Sometimes the landlords can be rather strict and require that the place such a verification is being faxed must also have a listing – either in a conventional phone book or an online presence.

It’s All About the Property that can be verified as being real.

Crime and School Stats
It’s important to get the crime story of the neighborhood you are considering. Using these online tools can help:

1. FamilyWatchdog

FamilyWatchdog will let you know how safe your neighborhood is. It’s a comprehensive site that helps you locate registered sex offenders in your neighborhood.

Enter an address in the FamilyWatchdog search box, and in a flash FamilyWatchdog generates a map that pinpoints where registered sex offenders in your neighborhood live. Click the icons and you’ll see a picture of the offender, learn the offender’s aliases and find out what crime he or she was convicted of. If you’d like, you can sign up to be alerted when a registered sex offender moves into your neighborhood. FamilyWatchdog is a powerful tool and it’s also free to use.

2. NeighborhoodScout

In addition to valuable crime statistics like a city’s overall crime rate and number of crimes per square mile, Neighborhoodscout also offers a wealth of information to help you find the ideal neighborhood for your family. Use Neighborhoodscout to evaluate neighborhood school ratings, home appreciation rates and more.

With Neighborhoodscout by your side you can compare a city’s violent and property crime rates to other cities, as well as to the national average. One particularly impressive feature of Neighborhoodscout is that is lets you create a custom search. Just identify a neighborhood that meets your qualifications, and it will find comparable neighborhoods in any state you choose.

Neighborhoodscout charges a fee for detailed data and reports, but much of the information on Neighborhoodscout is free.

3. CrimeReports

Believing that education is the best way to protect yourself, CrimeReports is not only easy to use, it also offers a slew of critical crime information that will help you answer the question “Is my neighborhood safe?” Simply enter an address in the search box and CrimeReports instantly generates a map that identifies recent crime at or near the location.

CrimeReports gives you the power to sort crimes by date, type, or by proximity to the address you entered. The crime tracking website also lets you sign up for daily, weekly or monthly crime alerts that keep you one step ahead of the bad guys.

4. Spotcrime

We’re not surprised that Spotcrime is one of the most popular crime tracking sites. User-friendly and insightful, all you have to do is enter an address and Spotcrime uses data it’s gathered from law enforcement agencies, news reports and user tips to plots crimes on a map.

Crimes are assigned corresponding icons, so with one quick glance at the map you can not only get a picture of how safe your neighborhood is (or isn’t) you’ll also discover the type of crime taking place. For example, arson is represented by a fire icon and an assault is represented by a fist icon. If you have knowledge of a crime, Spotcrime lets you report it anonymously.

There’s no charge to access Spotcrime’s intuitive crime maps, and you can register to be alerted to criminal activity in your neighborhood via text message, email, Facebook, or Twitter.

Remember, knowing what crime is taking place in your neighborhood is the first step to protecting yourself, your family and valuables against criminals. Installing a home security system is the next step. If you’re ready to fortify your home against intruders, start searching for a trusted home security system now.


What to know more about educational rankings? Check out:

Home Checking Facts

Make sure you have proof that the person you are dealing with has a connection to the home. You can do this by checking the county real estate database in your county or city.

Also, check with a real estate agent to make sure the home is not in foreclosure due to late payments or nonpayment of real estate taxes.

Getting a title search at a local company will also uncover any liens against the property.


Predicated Work

Sometimes a house can be in fairly bad shape or may need some remodeling. If work needs to be done, we recommend having a qualified repairperson be able to make the repairs. The contract should stipulate who pays for the work to be done. Sometimes a split may be in order and it is fairly common.

Home Maintenance

Normally, the landlord is responsible for maintenance. But small repairs could be the responsibility of the tenant. We recommend that the renter pay for any repairs up to the cost of $100 per repair item. Repairs normally are not deducted from rent. Anything over the $100 per item threshold would be paid for by the landlord with $100 being paid by the tenant/buyer. For example, if a doorknob breaks, the tenant buyer would pay $20 to replace and install. In the event of the water heater failed, the renter/buyer would pay $100 and the landlord would pay $385 for the difference plus costs of install. However, talk to the landlord and both parties can come to a fair agreement.

Lawn & Snow Removal

This may be the job of the renter/tenant. However, it needs to be addressed in general. If the renter or tenant is disabled, it may be a good idea to cover this issue with the landlord to see what kind of provision can be arranged on these 2 issues. However, I recommend purchasing a lawn mower nevertheless – especially if the renter/buyer will end up owning the property in the end. Getting a small tool kit and a weed eater is ideal.

Home Improvements

Normally, home improvements should be made under the direction of the seller and with the use of a qualified, licensed and insured professional. All tenants should have a small toolbox of tools to help maintain the property and to make small repairs.

General Treatment of the Property by the Renter

Normally, the property should be maintained properly and in a clean state. All problems (especially leaks) should be reported to the seller. Litter should not be covering the house or the lawn.


There have been several instances where pets – mostly dogs – have destroyed the insides of homes. Urine (especially cat) is notorious for destroying floors and even marble. Pet feces have also damaged floors. Clawing and digging at walls and floors have caused incredible damage to homes.

I would suspect that paying a nonrefundable rent deposit would not be out of the question. Obtaining additional insurance to correct damages to the property may also be warranted.

Taking out a limited liability insurance policy on the pet for damaging a property or for biting another person may also not be out of the question.


Many times, landlords don’t like to cover trash and water/sewer and place these in a “triple net” lease. The landlord will may the tenant for trash and water/sewer along with the rental payment.

Houses in Short Sale and Houses Slipping into Foreclosure & Lien Search

It’s really important to get whatever information from the landlord to make sure the property isn’t in foreclosure. A title search and a viewing of the mortgage statement should suffice. Sometimes recruiting the help of a real estate agent may come in handily.

Home Inspections

There are several types of home inspections for a home and these may be completed by a number of different organizations:

(1) A General Home (Uncovering defects in the home) – it’s normally advisable that the renter/buyer be present at the time of inspection. However, in the worst case, the inspection company should provide a detailed report of the findings.

(2) Radon (Uncovering Radioactive Gases – Especially in basements)

(3) Mold

(4) Occupancy as part of the Occupancy Permit process

(5) Gas Inspection (completed by the local gas company)

(6) Plumbing (only when plumbing is changed and/or updated) – typically done by a city inspector

(7) FHA (done by an FHA certified appraiser to make sure the house is up to code for FHA standards)

(8) Entrance/Exit – This inspection is normally completed by the both the landlord and the renter.

Notes are made by the parties as to damages already present. The exit inspection is also done by a joint walk through and it notates any damages caused by the renter or occupants and is typically deducted from a security deposit.


Normally, a renter may use an appraiser at the outset of doing a rent-to-own in order to establish a price for the home. However, this happens only infrequently. Most of the time, the appraiser is used right after the loan application is made and the loan officer normally makes the appointment with the appraisal company and sends out the appraiser to make an estimate. The cost of the appraisal may need to paid upfront or may be “rolled into the loan” as a cost item. It’s important to make sure how the loan officer’s company handles appraisals.

Home Warranty

Home warranties are an optional item that can be purchased by either the renter/buyer or the seller/landlord – typically upon purchase. Like an insurance policy, it can cover HVAC, furnace, water heater, condenser issues. The Warranty contract is typically about $300 for a single year’s coverage. It is an optional purchase that the seller or buyer can make.

Seller Disclosures

General Disclosure

Normally, at the outset of a purchase, the seller will provide information to the buyer about the house, repairs having been made, age of certain items such as the roof, furnace, water heater, a/c system, etc. A renter/buyer would have this information and should sign a delivery receipt notating that they have received the report from the seller. Signing the delivery receipt is not a contractual binding agreement. It is merely a statement that the receipt was delivered by the seller to the buyer (much like signing for a package).

Mold Disclosure

Normally this will only pertain to the past or present conditions in the house. It is not required but more sellers are using it.

Lead Based Paint Disclosure

This disclosure is required by law.

Closing Costs

Closing costs are normally treated in the following ways:

- Sellers pay for seller’s closing costs

- Buyer’s pay for buyer’s closing costs

- Buyer can pay for seller’s and buyer’s closing costs

- Closing costs of either side may be paid up to a certain dollar amount or percentage or whichever is greater.

Mobile Homes & Mobile Home Park Communities

Residential Approval

We highly recommend that the renter apply first with the Mobile Home Park Community for residential approval. Some parks are not concerned so much with credit as with background information – especially concerning foreclosures, bankruptcies, evictions, violent criminal convictions, sexual predators and drug convictions.


A park cannot legally deny anyone the right to purchase another person’s home in their park. Sometimes parks will purposefully sabotage rental applications to “force” the owner to sell the mobile home to them – at a very heavy discounted price as most park owners want not only lot rent but also the rental income from the mobile home themselves (which basically amounts to double rent).


Sometimes other parks will pay to move a mobile home into their park as opposed to the park where the mobile home may be currently located. To avoid sabotage (and to make more money) a seller may consider having the mobile home relocated to another park. The current park may reconsider their stance so that they can have one less vacant lot inside their mobile home park rather than let a competitor mobile home park take the mobile home in question to their park. The seller is then FREE to sell the mobile home to the highest bidder.

Credit Reports, History, Disputation, Settlements & Credit Re-Establishment

Step 1: Review Your Credit Report

You can get a FREE copy yearly from:

(This will give you a complete and thorough review of your credit report including whatever derogatory information is reporting on public records)

Step 2: Manage Your Credit Report

See what negative information may be reporting (some may even be identity theft related). You can set up a management system at:

Step 3: Dispute and Re-Verify Information on Your Credit Report

You can do this by writing the 3 major credit bureaus and demand they re-verify the information on your credit report:

Trans Union (Respondent)
2 Baldwin Pl.
P.O. Box 2000
Chester, PA 19022-2000

Experian (Respondent)
P.O. Box 9701
Allen, TX 75013

Equifax (Respondent)
PO Box 740256
Atlanta, GA 30374

Make sure you re-verify information that is incorrect or derogatory:

- All names;

- All addresses of residency;

- All social security numbers

- All places of employment;

- All inquiries;

- All Public Records currently reporting;

- All collections, charge off accounts, bankruptcy accounts;

- All late payments;

- All child support entries;

- All repossessions

Step 4: Identity Theft Issues (If Any)

If you are a victim of identity theft, file a report with the businesses and organizations where your identity was used fraudulently:

Step 5: Re-establish Your Credit - MOST IMPORTANT

You and your family need at least 3 lines of credit showing no late payments. We suggest using credit that reports that report information to the credit agencies. DO NOT USE MORE THAN 30% OF THE CREDIT LINE TO KEEP SCORES OPTIMIZED. Here are some card companies to consider:

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Step 6: Making Settlements & A Word About Judgments – SOUND FINANCIAL ADVICE

(1) Consult an attorney on your rights.

(2) Write the creditor and make an offer for 25% on the dollar.

(3) Ask the creditor to delete the derogatory account from the credit report.

(4) Get a letter from the creditor stating the settlement terms and the amount (plus deleting the information off the credit report).

(5) Send in the money to the creditor.

(6) You can use a check with a restrictive endorsement.

Step 7: If Settling A Judgment

Set up a separate settlement account at a completely different depository institution. Otherwise the attorney can seize the bank via the use of a levy empty said account of your bill paying funds. Using a settlement account with just enough funds to settle an account for the proposed amount lowers your risk and you won’t be in such a predicament that you cannot pay your recurring bills such as electricity, rent, gas, etc.

Step 8: Rapid Rescore

If you are close to getting a loan and there has been a correction on your credit report, ask your loan officer to see if they offer rapid rescore – it may be able to help make an adjustment to the scoring and it could be the difference between getting a loan or a lower rate.
In Conclusion

These are most of the topics that many articles don't fully cover all the time. As a renter, you will want to know about rent-to-own and what it means for you as a renter and future homeowner. This report, along with our Free Down Payment Assistance Report can come in very handy when it's time for you to make your move. Contact us today and order your reports NOW!
Legal Disclaimer

We are not licensed real estate attorneys. Nothing in this document is meant to be taken as legal advice. The information contained herein is of a “general” nature and only for educational and example purposes. If you are not sure of what your rights are under the law, we highly recommend speaking to a licensed real estate attorney. Please be advised that you may be required to use an attorney to close a real estate transaction. A title company may suffice. Again, if you do not understand some of the legal implications of real estate or contract law, we strongly advise you to seek legal assistance. A legal resource website is no substitute for the use of a competent and highly knowledgeable attorney at law.

An excellent resource:
Getting Started with Home Sweet Home Real Estate Network

Home Sweet Home Real Estate Network can set you up with one of our preferred investors. It’s FREE to apply:

Once you apply, you will receive the FREE Down Payment Assistance Report as well.

Within a day or 2, we will notify you of your application status and a Home Sweet Home Real Estate Network representative will contact you with any questions and to re-verify important information.

Works Cited & References

Source – Agency Information:

Source – Lease Option: Lease Option Definition | Investopedia

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Michael Hathman