A lease purchase is a true sale, but includes a delayed and pre-determined closing date that usually falls six months or more in the future. It's a perfect option for sellers who need to move immediately but whose house hasn't sold yet. It's also useful for a strong buyer who needs time for his or her house to sell, or to accumulate additional time on the job to qualify for a mortgage loan.
As with any sale, a purchase agreement is drafted and an earnest money deposit is taken. If the buyer doesn't close the purchase, any and all of the default provisions listed in the purchase agreement would apply, including the loss of earnest money deposit — just as with a traditional home-purchase agreement. Because the buyer will be in the house before the deal closes, sellers are smart to get as much earnest money as possible. This works as a great motivator to close the sale and can help cover necessary property prior to closing.
One thing to remember when considering a lease purchase is before you accept the contract, make sure that the buyer is pre-approved for the mortgage. Any experienced Texas REALTOR® will tell you this is a crucial part of the homebuying process no matter what kind of purchase. It also gives you peace of mind.