If you’re looking to make the jump from renter to owner, the first order of business is to find a copy of your lease and read it. If the language in the lease seems vague or confusing, send us a copy and let us read it. We can quickly give you insight as to what you need to do in order to begin the process of buying.
The key clauses: Renewal & Default
Renewal – Most landlords include language that automatically renews the lease for another year at either 30, 60, or 90 days from the lease anniversary.
An unexpected auto-renewal can wreak havoc on the home buying process. Ideally, you should switch to a month-to-month renting option, even if slightly more expensive, to give you flexibility. Being under time pressure does not make for good decision making and having 30 extra days in your pocket pays you back in spades if a last minute issue comes up unexpectedly.
Default – Typically, a landlord will outline the penalty incurred if you wish to break a lease. Breaking a lease is never the preferred option, but if a good enough deal presents itself then it may be the best strategy. Make sure you understand the consequences before opting to take this step.
By law, a landlord must treat all tenants the same (you can find the Virginia Landlord Tenant Act here), so they usually have a standard policy for lease breaking. In most cases, they are willing, for a penalty, to release you from your lease without impacting your credit.