On Your Side: When to rent-to-own and when not to

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News 12 at 6, June 16, 2008

For some, renting to own may sound like a way to pay slowly for something you can't afford to buy in one fell swoop. But it can be an expensive way to do business.

The saying goes, you're just throwing money away when you rent. In some cases, that's true, but in others, people cannot afford to buy so they have to rent.

Sometimes the credit isn't so good or maybe they can't wait to save up. Here's reality, the South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs say the only practical way for doing rent-to-own is to treat it as a rental.

You want a bigger TV for a party you're hosting for the Super Bowl. You don't want to buy one, then just rent it.

The problem is rent-to-own is very expensive. Over time, you'll pay a lot more for the item than it would cost in the store.

But sometimes it's an option if you need a stove or some other necessity.

Here's what can be an exception. Buying a home on rent-to-own can work. It's a lease with a portion of your rent going towards a down payment.

This can be a good way for owners to get their homes sold in this market and for buyers to get in on the market.

Of course, you'll want to get an attorney involved just to be safe.

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