Portland Oregon Home Buying Guide
by Jolynne Ash

Lease With Option to Buy Plan

Is the Lease/Purchase Plan Right for Me?

Berkshire Hathaway has a lease/purchase program which allows a potential Renter to select the home they would like to rent from almost any home listed for sale in the MLS. HomePartners then buys the home and leases it back to you with an option to purchase for five years. There is no commitment above the one year lease. I have relocation clients use this program to get into the neighborhood and school district of their choice. Details can be found here: Lease Purchase in Portland.

This program is best suited for clients that can afford a monthly lease payment between about $2200. and $3200. per month. The first step (after reading the fine print in the PDF files linked on this page) is to fill out an on-line application.

FAQs

  1. What is the Lease with a Right to Purchase Program?

    Our Lease with a Right to Purchase Program (the "RTP Program") allows you to find a home that you want to rent from us initially, but who may also like to buy at any time within the next three to five years.

    We believe that there are many households who may be thinking about buying a home but for whatever reason would like to rent at the current time.

    You can lease the home for up to three to five years, depending on the state, and you may purchase the home from us at any time at a predetermined price in accordance with the Right to Purchase agreement.

  2. Who is eligible for the RTP Program?

    We have certain minimum criteria for our program. Your household must have an annual income of $50,000. You must have stable employment. We cannot accept you into our program if you or anyone in your household has a history of eviction or a pending bankruptcy. Everyone in your household will be subject to a criminal background check.

  3. How do I apply to the RTP Program?

    Every member of your household who is 18 years of age or older must complete the Pre-Qualification Application and the Full Application. The Full Application requires certain information, including residence and employment history, for each member of the household. You also must provide income and asset verification for each member of the household whose income is to be considered in determining the rent approval amount in order for your application to be considered complete. If you are moving from a different state or starting a new job, we will need confirmation of your new job and income.

    We take several factors into consideration when reviewing an application, which include household income, rent-to- income and debt-to- income ratios, rental and housing history, employment history, criminal history, and FICO® scores.

    We will usually make a decision on your application within 1 to 3 business days of receiving all required information.

  4. How much does it cost to participate in the RTP Program?

    We have a one-time Application Fee of $75 per household that must be paid online as part of the application process. This Application Fee covers all applicants in the household and is nonrefundable.

    Please note that in California, the Application Fee is $45 if there is only one applicant in the household and $75 if there are two or more applicants in the household.

  5. Why might my application be denied?

    We take several factors into consideration when reviewing an application, which include household income, rent-to-income, and debt-to-income ratio, rental and housing history, employment history, criminal history, and FICO® score. We consider the profile of the entire household when reviewing an application. If your application is denied, you will receive notification in writing.

  6. How do I find a home once I'm approved?

    You should work with your REALTOR® to search for homes that meet our purchasing criteria. Generally, this means that the home should be:

    1. Located in an approved community (based on high schools and not adjacent to features that may negatively impair value);
    2. Listed for between $100,000 and $550,000 in most states, though exceptions apply in California, Oregon, Virginia and Washington;
    3. Located on a lot no more than three acres with a minimum of two bedrooms;
    4. A single-family home or fee-simple townhome; condo associations, condo interests, commercial
    and multi-family properties are not eligible for the RTP Program;
    5. A traditional sale. Short sales, auctions, and REOs are not eligible for the RTP Program; and;
    6. Free from material deficiencies;
    7. No guest houses/ in-law suits with separate entrances;

    Please note we only purchase homes with swimming pools or other water features in certain states. At the current time, we purchase homes with pools only in the following states: California, Florida, Georgia, Oklahoma and Texas.

    Once you have selected a home, the REALTOR® must submit it to us online.

  7. Do you own the homes shown on your website?

    No. The homes shown on our website are listed for sale in the markets in which we operate. This list of homes automatically feeds into our website from a listing service and is updated on a regular basis. However, we cannot filter for certain criteria such as whether a townhome is or is not fee-simple so there is a possibility that a home shown on our website does not meet our minimum eligibility criteria. The information on available homes shown on our website is for informational purposes only and cannot be guaranteed by Home Partners.

  8. My county is listed as approved on your website, but the high school of the home I want is not. Is the home approved?

    We only consider homes that have a default public high school attendance zone for public high schools ranked in the top 50% within each of our approved markets (based on standardized math and verbal test scores). A home must fall within the default attendance zone of an approved public high school, so although the lists on our website are sorted by county, we do not consider homes that do not meet this requirement.

  9. Is there a required deposit?

    Yes. Generally, we require a deposit equal to two months' rent. This deposit is not applied towards your rent. If you decide to leave the home at the end of any one-year lease term and you have been in compliance with the terms of the lease and return the home in the same condition it was in when you moved in (normal wear and tear excepted), the full deposit will be returned to you or credited to the purchase price if you buy the home. The full deposit (less any outstanding charges owed to Home Partners) is also returned to you if you exercise your Right to Purchase the home.

  10. How long does it take from when I select a home to when I move in?

    On average, it takes approximately five to six weeks from the time we enter into a purchase agreement for a home until the day you are able to move in. There are a number of variables that may affect the move-in timeframe, including the length of negotiation with the seller leading up to when we enter into a purchase agreement, what the home inspection reveals with respect to required repairs, and the renovations you request. We will keep you informed throughout the entire purchase and renovation process so that you are aware of this timing.

  11. What happens after I move in?

    You are our tenant, and we are your landlord. You have entered into a lease with us for one year and are bound to the terms of that agreement. We will collect your monthly rent and perform any necessary repairs that are our responsibility after you move in.

  12. Are the monthly rent payments that I make applied to the purchase price of the home?

    No. Monthly rent payments are not applied to the purchase price of the home. If you decide to exercise your Right to Purchase, you must pay the full predetermined price as set forth in the Right to Purchase Agreement.

  13. How do I exercise my Right to Purchase?

    You may notify us at any time that the Lease is in effect that you would like to exercise your Right to Purchase. However, you must provide us with that notice in writing at least 60 days before you want to complete the purchase. Once you notify us that you want to exercise your Right to Purchase, we will contact you to get the process started.

  14. Can I buy a home in the middle of a lease term or do I have to wait until the end of the year?

    You can exercise your Right to Purchase at any time during your Lease. However, you must provide us with written notice of your intent to exercise at least 60 days before you want the sale to close. In addition, the closing date must occur before the end of the applicable Lease term.

  15. Do you provide me with a mortgage or other financing?

    We are not a mortgage company and we will not provide or arrange a mortgage loan for you. We cannot guarantee that you will be able to obtain a mortgage loan if and when you wish to exercise the Right to Purchase.

  16. Can I have pets in my home?

    We do allow up to three pets (cats or dogs) with a max weight limit of 180 pounds total. For dogs, you must not have a Doberman, Pitbull, Rottweiler or Mastiff. We do not allow for other animals such as pigs, horses, chickens, goats, etc. There is a $300 per pet fee in most states. This fee is due with the required deposit and is refundable in the event you purchase the home. Otherwise, it is not refundable.


Agreements

Lease

The initial term of the Lease is generally one year, and the Lease automatically renews every year as long as the resident is in compliance with the Lease and Right to Purchase Agreement. Each year, the resident has the right to give notice that he/she does not want to renew the Lease for another year. If for any reason the resident notifies HPA that they have elected to terminate at the end of a Lease term and is in compliance with the Lease, the full security deposit will be returned.

The resident's financial commitment is limited to the initial term of the Lease. The resident does not have to renew the Lease after the initial term. The maximum number of years of the Lease is five in most states and three in Texas.

Over the life of the Lease, subject to applicable laws, Home Partners expects residents to treat the home as their own, maintain the lawn and garden, remove snow or debris, and complete minor repairs.

Right to Purchase Agreement

The resident's Right to Purchase Agreement (and therefore Right to Purchase) is in effect as long as the Lease is in effect, and the resident is in compliance with these two agreements.

The Right to Purchase Agreement gives the resident the right to purchase the home from Home Partners at a pre-defined price for each year of the Lease, as long as the resident is in compliance with the Lease and the Right to Purchase Agreements. The maximum number of years a resident can rent the home and have the Right to Purchase is five years in most states and three years in Texas. The Right to Purchase does not obligate the resident to buy the home.

Maintenance Adjustment Included in Purchase Price

The purchase price in your Right to Purchase, as initially set at the time you enter into the lease, will include an adjustment equal to $2,500 (a "Maintenance Adjustment"). If you choose to purchase the home, and the maintenance costs covered by the Maintenance Adjustment actually incurred by Home Partners during the lease are less than the Maintenance Adjustment, the purchase price of the home at closing will be reduced by the unused amount of the Maintenance Adjustment.

The Maintenance Adjustment generally may be used to cover the cost of any repairs, renovations, replacements or improvements to the home that Home Partners determines are necessary or appropriate during your lease term. Examples of the costs for which the Maintenance Adjustment may be used include the replacement of a major mechanical system (e.g., HVAC, furnace, roofing) or the repair of appliances, plumbing or fixtures. Home Partners generally is responsible for costs of home repairs in excess of the Maintenance Adjustment and those excess costs will not increase the purchase price for the home.

However, the Maintenance Adjustment does not limit your responsibility for any costs for which you would be responsible under the terms of the lease. Examples of these costs are costs due to your misuse of the home, your willful or negligent conduct, or your failure to comply with the lease. Home Partners may require you to pay these other costs separately in accordance with the terms of your lease.

Your rent is not affected by the Maintenance Adjustment, and the Maintenance Adjustment does not affect you unless you purchase the home. For example, if Home Partners pays repair costs of $2,500 during the lease term that are covered by the Maintenance Adjustment, and you choose not to buy the home, you will not be required to reimburse Home Partners for those amounts.

Escrow

Generally within 48 hours of a seller accepting Home Partners' offer for the purchase of a home, prospective residents will be required to sign the Lease and the Right to Purchase Agreement and provide the deposit, all to be held in escrow, pending the closing of the purchase of the home by Home Partners

Prospective residents will have an opportunity to review all documentation, and Home Partners encourages all prospective residents to consult with legal and tax advisors to review such documents and the transaction prior to signing any documents.


The Math

Total Cost

Total Cost is the price Home Partners pays for the home, closing costs, make ready and repairs/maintenance costs. Total Cost is used to determine the resident's Right to Purchase prices. A sample is highlighted below:

Purchase Price $200,000
Closing Costs (1)   $3,000
Make Ready and Repairs/Maintenance Costs   $7,000
Total Cost $210,000

(1) Includes costs such as transfer taxes, attorneys' fees, title insurance, other acquisition costs, etc.

Monthly Rent Increases

Each year, a resident's Monthly Rent increases by no more than 3.75 percent over the previous year's Monthly Rent.

For example, if the Monthly Rent for Year 1 is $1,400 per month, the increase for the next year is $50/month (i.e., $1,400 x 1.0375)*.

Monthly Rent
Year 1 $1,400
Year 2 $1,450
Year 3 $1,500
Year 4 $1,560 (Does not apply in Texas)
Year 5 $1,620 (Does not apply in Texas)

Right to Purchase Price Increases

Each year, the Right to Purchase Price increases by 3.5%-5% (depending on the region).

In the example, if the Total Cost of the home is $210,000 and if the Right to Purchase increases by 5% (i.e., Prior Year Purchase Right Price x 1.05)* the Purchase Right Price for Years 1-5 is as follows:

Year 1 $220,500
Year 2 $231,500
Year 3 $243,100
Year 4 $255,300 (Does not apply in Texas)
Year 5 $268,000 (Does not apply in Texas)

There are additional costs that the resident will incur if they exercise the Right to Purchase such as closing costs to purchase the home, including transfer taxes, attorneys' fees, title insurance, and the cost of a mortgage loan. As a result, actual total costs to exercise the Right to Purchase will vary.

* Rent will round to the nearest $10. Right to Purchase Price will round to the nearest $100.


Jolynne Ash, Realtor

Jolynne Ash, ABR, CRS
DreamStreet Team

Accredited Buyers Agent
503-678-2020

Email Jolynne@DreamStreetRE.com