A couple of years ago I was looking to move from the townhouse I was renting. After checking the rental adverts at craigslist I made an appointment to see an townhouse that looked quite nice and clean and was located in what seemed like a nice, safe neighborhood (at most 1 hour travel from Framingham, MA).
The gentleman who showed me the (empty) house explained that he was also willing to sell the house under a rent-to-own scheme, if I was interested. He said that we could set the down payment to anything I thought was reasonable.
Overall on the surface it looked like the townhouse would not have been a bad purchase. It seemed to be in a great condition and not too far from my work at that time.
What sort of concerned me at the back of my head was that the seller seemed quite eager in getting me to come and sign the contract and perhaps make a down payment on the house, but he had not asked me anything about what kind of (if any) work I do and how much I am making. Also the townhouse looked very nice, like something that I felt he should not have had problems selling through a real estate agent.
So I ended up with a feeling that something seemed fishy and I decided to rent another townhouse instead.
Of course, it may have been that nothing was explicitly wrong, perhaps the individuals behavior (or lack thereof) had made me concerned without any real reason. Anyway I eventually had to relocate because of work so in the end it felt better that I had not tied myself to buying his property.
Now I see quite a few "rent to own" properties on for example craigslist and have been wondering if there are any known scams with the rent-to-own schemes?
And what steps can be taken (questions to ask, etc.) to avoid being scammed?