Rent-to-Own Homes in Atlanta and Best Alternatives (2024)

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By Steve Nicastro Updated June 5, 2024


Condos in Atlanta suburbs just next to Highway GA 400

Why trust us: To create this comprehensive guide, we researched the available housing options in Atlanta, consulted with local housing experts, and had the guide reviewed by a real estate professional with rent-to-own experience. Learn more.
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Rent-to-own homes allow you to lease a home with the option to buy it in the future. Typically, they require a renewable "option fee" (1–2.5% of the property value) on top of monthly rent payments. Although rent is higher than local averages, part of the rent you pay can be applied toward a down payment for when you opt to buy the house.

According to Paige Grove, associate broker with Grove Homes Group in Buford, GA, multiple rent-to-own companies serve the Atlanta area, partly because people frequently move in and out of the city. Her team offers this option to home buyers who want to avoid getting locked into an interest rate before they're ready to buy.

"For new residents, it's hard to figure out where you want to live," she says. "It's a great way to try out a neighborhood and stay there for two or three years. You might find that's not really where you wanted to be, or maybe that's not the school district you wanted to be in. And you can walk away a lot easier from that than if you actually had to sell it."

Read our guide to find reliable rent-to-own homes in Atlanta and explore potential housing alternatives.

What to know about rent-to-own homes in Atlanta

Grove encourages buyers not to be afraid of rent-to-own. "As long as you've met [the company's] requirements — for one year, usually — you get your down payment back, which is two months what a normal rental would have been. So there's no risk to the buyer."

Still, a rent-to-own company may charge a termination fee or move-out fee, so be sure to read your contract agreement carefully before signing

Location matters

Home prices in City of Atlanta are so high that people need to move a few counties out to afford homeownership. That's not a huge issue for commuters since downtown Atlanta is only a 45-minute drive.

According to Grove, Atlanta's rent-to-own housing options are more commonly available within city limits, but they get sparse the farther you get outside Interstate 285. One reason is that real estate companies tend to buy properties where their service networks (e.g., contractors) operate, which are often hyper-local.

If you're considering rent-to-own because you're moving to Atlanta, perhaps for work, you may have to choose between:

  1. A traditional lease or mortgage in a commuter suburb or a Metro Atlanta county
  2. An expensive rent-to-own arrangement in city limits that grants you flexibility to move if things don't work out

No guarantee

Some renters have issues trying to buy at the end of their lease periods if the homes don't appraise for the amount specified in the contract. Lenders will only lend the appraised value, so if your option price exceeds that, you're on the hook for the difference.

It might not be the best solution if you're considering rent-to-own as a cheaper alternative to homeownership in Atlanta. You may end up spending just as much — or more.

Compare rent-to-own options in Atlanta

🏆 Top picks: Trio and Pathway Homes

Trio Homes is best suited if you have a lower credit score or lack a substantial down payment. Program requirements include a small option fee (1%), and a portion of your rent goes toward building equity in the property. Trio also has a 78% success rate (i.e, buying the home at the end of the lease period) — one of the highest success rates in the industry.[1]

Pathway Homes is an option if your finances are fair but you’re looking for a longer lease period. It requires a slightly higher credit score (600) and a larger down payment (2.5%), in addition to having the highest minimum income requirement ($75,000 annually). You can rent up to five years, though the option price increases substantially: 3–6% each year.

Trio and Pathway both allow you to move out without penalty if it's not a good fit, so the risk to you is minimal.

Other rent-to-own options

Dream America

Dream America is a good fit if you have your finances in order but have a lower credit score. To qualify, you'll need a high minimum monthly income ($4,000), at least a year of on-time rent payments, and $8,000 in savings that can be used towards home purchase.[2] You can lease-to-own single-family homes or townhouses valued from $150,000 to $400,000.

Divvy Homes

Divvy's rent-to-own program is among the easiest to qualify for, with the lowest minimum income requirement ($2,500 per month) and a low minimum credit score (550 FICO). You can lease-to-own a single-family home, townhouse, or even new construction valued between $130,000 to $500,000.[3]

Note that Divvy charges a relisting fee of 2% of the property's purchase price if you don't purchase the home. Additionally, you will be responsible for any outstanding fees and payments owed to Divvy, such as delinquent rent payments, costs related to your departure, and costs related to the condition of the home.[3] So, unless you're confident you can either buy the house or pay the termination fee, this arrangement could pose a significant financial risk.

Home Partners of America

With low up-front costs and no down payment or termination fees, Home Partners is a good option if you don’t have much savings. It has a large market in Atlanta and offers flexible renting options for single-family homes and townhouses up to $550,000.[4] You'd need slightly better credit than for Divvy Homes, but it's still one of the easiest rent-to-own programs to qualify for.


Landis' rent-to-own program carries the strictest qualification requirements. You'll need a high income ($55,000) and a higher-than-average down payment (2–3% of the home's purchase price).[5] Landis also charges the highest termination fee among its peers (3%), making it a risky bet.

The upside is that qualifying for Landis means a higher chance you'll be able to buy the house at the end of the lease period. But while the company claims to have helped many people become homeowners, there's little information available about its success rates.

✍️ Editor's note: You can ask a landlord to consider a rent-to-own agreement

If you need more versatility and personalization, landlords in Atlanta are often willing to negotiate rent-to-own agreements, opening the door to a home despite a low credit score or minimal down payment. Just do your research and choose a landlord with a good reputation so that you're not left high and dry.

🏡 Get help from a local realtor

Whether with a rent-to-own company or an independent landlord, a real estate agent can help you find listings that meet your budget and needs. They'll also help you avoid rent-to-own scams, warn you about common issues and risks, and give you the support and guidance you need to make the best choice.

"The biggest [benefit of a realtor] to someone who's renting is it opens up not only the homes that are on the market for rent, but it opens up all the homes that are on the market for sale as an option to rent for them," says Grove.

Grove recommends that buyers reach out to realtors who have experience helping clients secure rent-to-own properties — many will even have personal contacts at rent-to-own companies.

She advises, "Be forthright in what your intentions are, and let the professionals set you up with other pros to help you."

» Clever can match you with multiple real estate agents in Atlanta until you find one with the right expertise.

🔎 Pro tip

Your credit score affects your ability to qualify for a mortgage. Check your credit score now, and you can take work to improve it and correct any mistakes in your credit report.

Not sure where your credit stands? Get your credit report at This free resource gives you access to your scores from all three major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) once a year.

Rent-to-own home alternatives in Atlanta

If rent-to-own isn't your best option, you still have several alternatives to consider.

Down payment and closing cost assistance programs

Atlanta Housing Homeownership Program offers down payment assistance of up to $25,000 to buyers within the City of Atlanta who haven't owned a home in the past three years.

Buyers must meet income eligibility requirements and complete an 8-hour home buyer education class to qualify. The program limits property purchases to a maximum price of $335,000.

First-time home buyer loans

Loan type Min. down payment Min. credit score Max. debt-to-income level
FHA 3.5% | 10% 580 | 500–79 43%
USDA None Varies by lender 41%
VA None 580 41%
Rental 1–2 months rent 680 33%
Conventional 20% 620 45%
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FHA loans

FHA loans are popular among first-time home buyers because of the lower down payment and flexible credit requirements. It's an option if you don't have significant savings or a high credit score, but keep in mind that FHA mortgages have strict requirements and fees, such as mortgage insurance premiums.

USDA Rural Development Loans

USDA loans can provide zero down financing for home purchases in rural areas and down payment and closing cost assistance. The downtown and heavily populated regions of Atlanta don’t qualify, but many places outside the city are eligible.

VA loans

This government-backed mortgage option offers 0% down financing for veterans, active service members, and surviving spouses.

Free resources in Atlanta

Local housing counselors

Local housing counselors can help you make informed decisions about your housing options. You can get unbiased opinions about the rent-to-own market in your area and advice on other valuable resources to help you achieve your housing goals.

» FIND: HUD-approved housing counseling locations in Georgia

Housing education programs

The Atlanta Housing Authority provides housing assistance to low-income families and individuals through vouchers, affordable public housing, and various other community services. It also offers a housing education program to help families prepare for homeownership.

The Georgia Dream Program, offered by the Georgia Department of Community Affairs, offers free homebuyer education and money management courses.

Why you should trust us

Our team at Clever spent several weeks learning the ins and outs of rent-to-own homes to create this comprehensive guide. We identified legitimate companies that operate in your area, consulted with local realtors, and researched government housing resources.

Our experts

  • Paige Grove, an associate real estate broker serving the Atlanta metropolitan area. Grove has over 30 years of experience, and her team sold over $71 million worth of homes in 2021.
  • Steve Nicastro, managing editor at Clever Real Estate, and a real estate professional who has advised numerous clients on whether rent-to-own housing is a good option for them. His expertise helped us provide a more in-depth understanding of the rent-to-own process.

Related reading

Article Sources

Authors & Editorial History

Our experts continually research, evaluate, and monitor real estate companies and industry trends. We update our articles when new information becomes available.

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