Saskatoon company offers rent-to-own plan for people struggling to get a house

CBC News, Nov 23, 2015 - Kaitlyn Blair and her husband Brad have recently started a rent-to-own home ownership business in Saskatchewan that they say is helping people having trouble finding their way into the housing market.

"Typically they've either gone through a bankruptcy, or a divorce, or they're just a young family who pays $1,600 a month in rent and can't save any more on top of that for a down payment," Kaitlyn Blair said.

Here is how it works: First, the Blairs meet with the prospective buyer and work out a credit plan. They establish that the client will have a strong enough credit rating and enough of a down payment to buy the home at the end of the renting phase, which usually lasts two to three years.

Next, the client picks out a home within their spending range, and the Blairs buy it. The client pays the Blairs a deposit of 2.5 per cent on the home and they then work out a rent payment plan.

The client pays rent as well as an extra few hundred dollars a month which goes toward the down payment of the house. Once the rental time is up, the Blairs return the lump sum which can be used for the down payment. If the client doesn't buy the house they lose the deposit. The clients can walk away at any time.

The Blairs started the company, Blair's Real Estate Solutions, in 2014. They own homes in Saskatoon, Regina, Langham and Viscount and offer the service across the province.

The couple said they've helped 11 families so far and they are on track to own 15 houses this year.

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