35% of American households are renting their home. If you’re still renting, you’re probably frustrated that the barrier to entry of home ownership is as high as it is. You’re not alone. Welcome to this post, this one’s for you.
Home prices have increased by over 7 times faster than income for the last 50 years, and for those that aren’t able to afford a home, they’ll be spending over $200,000 on rent on average within their lifetime. This can make it that much harder to build net worth and reach financial goals in a timely manner.
Today, we’ll be taking a look at Divvy Homes, a company that purports to help you realize your dream of home ownership, even if it means you just have to rent for a little bit longer. We’ll be addressing both the pros and cons of Divvy Homes. It isn’t for everyone, so hopefully by the end of this post, we’ll have helped you decide whether or not Divvy Homes is right for you.
- What is Divvy Homes?
- What is Rent-to-Own?
- Pros and cons of the Rent-to-Own model?
- Who qualifies for Divvy Homes?
- What is equity savings?
- Does applying for Divvy affect your credit score?
- How much does it cost to apply for Divvy Homes?
- How much of your Divvy rent payment goes towards rent vs equity savings?
- How long will Divvy give you to buy the home?
- Who is Divvy Homes best for?
- How long does it take Divvy to close on the home?
- Can you terminate the lease or back out of the final purchase with Divvy?
- Where is Divvy Homes available?
- Is Divvy Homes Legit?
- Alternatives to Divvy Homes
- In conclusion
What is Divvy Homes?
Divvy Homes is a company founded in 2017 along with the help of several investors, including Andreesen Horowitz, Caffeinated Capital, GIC, SciFi VC, and TigerGlobal. Divvy Homes offers a service in helping current renters make the transition to home ownership in a not so traditional way. The mission is to empower those who weren’t born into the privilege of generational wealth to have access to property ownership, so that they can eventually obtain freedom from the rat race and build financial security for themselves and their families.
Essentially, Divvy Homes embraces a variation of the lease purchase rent-to-own model in a way that is more beneficial to all parties involved.
What is Rent-to-Own?
Rent-to-own, also known as lease-to-own or rent-to-buy, is a financial arrangement that allows individuals to acquire a product or property through a combination of rental payments and an eventual purchase. It is commonly used for items such as furniture, appliances, electronics, and even real estate.
In a rent-to-own agreement, the buyer (referred to as the renter or lessee) enters into a contract with the seller or owner of the item (referred to as the lessor). The contract typically outlines the terms and conditions, including the rental period, rental payments, purchase price, and any additional fees or obligations.
During the rental period, the renter pays regular monthly or weekly rental payments to the lessor. These payments may include additional fees, such as maintenance or insurance costs. Part of the rental payments may be allocated toward the eventual purchase of the item.
The renter has the option, but not the obligation, to purchase the item at the end of the rental period or within a specified time frame. The purchase price is predetermined in the contract, which may be higher than the market value of the item due to the rent-to-own arrangement.
Rent-to-own agreements can be beneficial for individuals who may not have the upfront funds or credit history to make an immediate purchase. It provides them with the opportunity to use and evaluate the item before committing to buy it. Additionally, rent-to-own agreements may offer more flexible terms compared to traditional financing options.
Pros and cons of the Rent-to-Own model?
Although Divvy Homes isn’t completely a typical rent-to-own example, it shares numerous similarities. It’s good to go over the pros and cons of the model so that you can make an educated decision of whether this route is possibly for you.
- You can agree ahead of time on a price to purchase the home at, and later if the price of the home shoots up, you still get the original price as outlined in the contract.
- If you love the home you’re renting and can get into a rent-to-own contract for it, it allows you a longer period to come up with the down payment or at the very least, stagger the down payment into relatively bite-sized and more affordable portions.
- If you’re undergoing problems with your credit score but you know you can fix it within the allotted time as outlined in the lease, you’ll be able to bypass those problems for a certain amount of time until you can get your situation the way you want it.
- There are two types of rent-to-own contracts: the first is a lease option and the second is a lease purchase. If you’re signing into a lease purchase, you’re contracted to buy the home at the end of the lease, and if you don’t, you could be taken to court for it. This can apply even if you thought you would qualify for a mortgage but got turned down in the end.
- Rent is usually higher than the going market rate in a rent-to-own contract.
- You could be obligated to pay an upfront option fee that is non-refundable and is usually based on the price of the house, usually about 1% in many cases.
Who qualifies for Divvy Homes?
To qualify, at minimum, you must meet the following:
- 550 minimum FICO score on Experian specifically (if you have a score of 600 or better, you benefit from a lower equity savings requirement)
- Debt-to-income ratio of 50% or less
- Steady income, preferably W-2
- No evictions or bankruptcies in the last year
Everyone needs to fill out an application and if you get approved, you’ll know your max approved budget both for the rent amount and for the purchase price of the home. When you apply, make sure that for the property you’re looking at, you have at least 2% of the home purchase price in your bank account at the time of application, or else you will get rejected.
What is equity savings?
Equity savings is an account that Divvy Homes requires you to build up in order to ensure that you have enough funds to be able to purchase the home at the end of the lease in three years. In a way, it’s basically your down payment account, and you’re required to meet certain milestones along the way with it.
Does applying for Divvy affect your credit score?
When you apply for Divvy, they’ll do a pull on your credit score in two steps. Initially, they’ll do a soft pull, which does not affect your credit score in any way. This is done to simply see if your credit score qualifies for the minimum needed to work with Divvy. If it’s too low, you simply can choose not to proceed since you won’t qualify anyways. If you do qualify for the minimum credit score, you can agree to proceed with the application in which they will then do a hard pull on your credit, which does affect your credit score, albeit temporarily.
How much does it cost to apply for Divvy Homes?
It is completely free to apply for Divvy Homes. Since there is no cost to applying for Divvy Homes, if you are considering a rent to own home, it may be worth it to try it out and get a quote to see how it will work our for you.
How much of your Divvy rent payment goes towards rent vs equity savings?
When you rent with Divvy, 75% of your payment will go towards rent, and the remaining 25% will go towards your equity savings account.
How long will Divvy give you to buy the home?
Typically, you get 3 years to buy the home. However, they have changed their policies and you can buy it as soon as the next day after they purchase the home if you wish to, as long as you qualify for a mortgage for it or come up with the full cash amount. This allows you to spend less money towards the rent portion of it and allows you to put more of your money into the down payment for it. Furthermore, if you are able to buy it back within 18 months, you get a lower price for the home as opposed to if you buy it back after 18 months.
Who is Divvy Homes best for?
If we’re being honest, buying a home the usual way is the best way… by qualifying for a mortgage from a bank. However, this program benefits those who can’t qualify at the moment, but have their eyes on a property that they can see themselves in for the long term.
For such people, it’s probably the next best option, not to mention a much more feasible one. If your credit score is suffering for whatever reason, Divvy Homes gives you time to fix that. If you fix it before the term that is agreed upon, great! You can buy the property sooner than later. And if you do it before 18 months is up, you get an even better price. Talk about some great incentives to build your credit score as quickly as possible.
How long does it take Divvy to close on the home?
At minimum it will take them 17 days to close, but it may take longer depending on the circumstances. However, once they close, you can get the keys basically the same day, provided you have all your ducks in a row. If any money is owed, such as a security deposit, they’ll give you 10 days to take care of that.
Can you terminate the lease or back out of the final purchase with Divvy?
Yes, you can, and at any time. If you do, you will get some of your equity savings back, which is quite awesome. They will keep some of the equity savings in order to help them cover the cost of finding another renter or selling the house to another potential buyer.
Where is Divvy Homes available?
Unfortunately, Divvy Homes is not available nationwide. As of now, they are available in the following cities:
- Fort Lauderdale
- Fort Myers
- San Antonio
- St. Louis
If you’d like to check if a particular property qualifies under the Divvy Homes program, you can go to the Divvy Homes Search page and enter in the property address. If it qualifies, it’ll show up.
Is Divvy Homes Legit?
In general, Divvy Homes seems like a legit company. There are plenty of good reviews on the internet to support it. However, there are a lot of bad reviews stating they were scammed, although there are not many of them. If you look deep enough, you can find reviews on almost any company that claimed they were scammed by it. The ratio of good to bad reviews makes it seem that Divvy Homes is in fact legitimate.
Alternatives to Divvy Homes
Other similar companies that have lease purchase programs include:
- Home Partners of America
- Dream America
- Pathway Homes
Keep in mind that each of these companies serves different areas and markets, so be sure to check on their availability individually.
Personally, I think Divvy Homes is a great addition to your arsenal of options in securing yourself a home. As always, if you can buy a home outright, that is the best option. However, it’s not a possible reality for many people at the moment, and for them, a lease purchase rent-to-own program like that of Divvy Homes would likely be their second-best option.
It’s great that a company like Divvy Homes exists, if not simply for the fact that they make home ownership much more feasible for many who would otherwise have a much lower chance at owning a home anytime soon.