Regulator: Look before leaping into rent-to-own

“If a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is,” says the regulator's registrar Joseph Richer. “As with any real estate transaction, it’s crucial for consumers to do their research before entering into a contract.”

The warning comes on the heels of media reports this summer that homebuyers have lost money and even been evicted from their homes. Incidents of investors, or homeowners looking to sell, have also made headlines across the country this year.

“Asking questions beforehand can help to prevent these unfortunate scenarios, and a registered real estate professional can help,” Richer adds. “RECO recommends that consumers conduct an online search of the company and the individuals in charge, ask for references, and see if they have a history with the Better Business Bureau."

The registrar is also recommending parties to these growing number of deals seek independent legal advice before signing a contract so they're up to speed on any and all possible outcomes.

Hiring a registered real estate broker or salesperson could also be part of that action plan, he says.

"A broker or salesperson has a duty to look out for their clients’ interests as they help them navigate the buying process," according to RECO. "In addition, they must adhere to regulations and a code of ethics, and they are accountable if something goes wrong."

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