Reprinted with permission from No-Debt Living News, copyright 2000 No-Debt Living. Robert Frank is editor of No-Debt Living News,, which provides financial, consumer and time-management news with a Christian perspective.

When it comes to housing, it's currently a buyers' market in many cities. The problem is, many wishful first-time buyers don't have enough savings to make a down payment.

Unfortunately, many people borrow their down payment, which puts them too deep in debt, causing further financial woes.

One solution is to look for a landlord who is willing to rent the house with an option to buy. In short, here's how it often works:

  • The tenant/buyer pays a nonrefundable fee, in advance, to begin the program.
  • A standard rental price is established, then an additional monthly payment is added on. The additional amount is deposited into a CD or savings account.
  • After a predetermined amount of time -- usually two to three years -- the tenant has accumulated enough to cover the down payment.

    Suggestion: Before signing an option agreement, have a lawyer review it. Also, have a banker or lender look at the proposed contract to make sure you will qualify for a mortgage loan, based upon your current income and the projected down payment. If you don't qualify, don't sign the contract. You could end up losing all of your proposed down payment money.

    Also, take a look at a book titled Buying and Selling a Home. It's full of valuable insights that you will use for years to come, regardless of whether you are buying your first house or selling your last. If you can't find it, look at No Debt News.

    For additional money-saving and time-management ideas visit No-Debt Living,, where you can view more than 100 valuable articles and resources on financial, consumer and time-management news with a Christian perspective. Robert Frank is editor of No-Debt Living. Reprinted with permission from No-Debt Living. Copyright 2000 No-Debt Living.

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