Should I Consider a Rent Back Agreement?

Should I Consider a Rent Back Agreement?A rent back agreement can be a great solution that is mutually beneficial for both buyer and seller. It offers some distinct pros and cons, and it's different from the typical home selling process. Whether you are looking to buy or sell a home on the Big Island, we can help you navigate a contract that works for your budget, goals, and timeline. Here's what you need to know about a rent back agreement to decide if it's right for you.

What is a rent back agreement?

A rent back agreement is a contractual arrangement between a buyer and seller that is designed to create  mutually beneficial timeline for the seller's move out date. In this agreement, the seller agrees to lease the property back from the buyer for a specified period after the closing date. The terms of the rent back agreement include details such as the duration of the leaseback period, the rental amount, responsibilities for maintenance and repairs, and any other relevant terms and conditions.

While the terms can vary depending on the needs of both parties, it's generally accepted that the monthly rental rate will be equal to the monthly mortgage payment. It may be just for a few weeks, or up to a few months. 

Why is a rent back agreement a good idea?

A rent back agreement can be beneficial for quite a few reasons:


Rent back agreements provide sellers with flexibility and additional time to transition out of their homes after closing. This can be particularly beneficial for sellers who need more time to secure new housing, coordinate moving logistics, or finalize other arrangements before vacating the property.

Avoiding a Double Move

Rent back agreements allow sellers to avoid the hassle and expense of moving twice by giving them the opportunity to stay in their homes temporarily while they search for a new residence. This can save sellers time, money, and stress associated with multiple moves.

Smoother Transition for Buyers

Rent back agreements can also benefit buyers by facilitating a smoother transition into their new homes. Allowing sellers to remain in the property temporarily can prevent delays in closing and give buyers peace of mind knowing that the property will not be vacant during the transition period.

If you're buying a home in Hawaii from the mainland, this can be particularly helpful to allow you to know the property is being cared for and occupied while you are too far away to check on it yourself. 

Rental Income for Buyers

Rent back agreements provide buyers with immediate rental income from the property, even before they take possession. This can help offset mortgage payments and other expenses associated with homeownership, making the investment more financially viable in the short term.

If you're planning to buy an income property on the Big Island, a rent back agreement can be the ideal way to have immediate occupancy while you secure your long term tenant or plan for renovations. 

Potential Tax Benefits

In some cases, sellers may be able to deduct rental expenses from their taxable income, potentially providing tax benefits for both parties involved in the rent back agreement. If you think this might apply to you, consult with a tax advisor to determine the specific tax implications of your rent back arrangement.

What are the potential downsides of a rent back agreement?

Before you decide to seek out a rent back agreement, take into account the potential drawbacks so you can make an informed decision. 


Rent back agreements can be complex legal documents, and disagreements may arise between buyers and sellers regarding the terms and conditions of the leaseback arrangement. Common areas of dispute include rental payments, maintenance responsibilities, and the condition of the property upon move-out.

While they come with plenty of advantages, you do need to be prepared for potential disputes and conflict resolution, as well as the possibility of damage to the property. 

Limited Legal Protections

Rent back agreements may offer limited legal protections for both parties, especially if the terms are not clearly defined in the contract. Without proper legal guidance and documentation, sellers and buyers may be vulnerable to disputes, misunderstandings, or breaches of contract.

We will do our best to help you agree on a contract that protects both parties' interests, but keep in mind that this is a unique rental scenario. 

Impact on Financing

Rent back agreements can complicate the financing process for buyers, especially if lenders require the property to be owner-occupied at the time of closing. Buyers may need to obtain approval from their lenders and factor in the rental income from the leaseback arrangement when qualifying for a mortgage.

Occupancy Risk

Allowing sellers to remain in the property after closing carries inherent risks for buyers, including potential damage to the property, non-payment of rent, or refusal to vacate the premises. Buyers should conduct thorough due diligence and implement safeguards to mitigate these risks, such as requiring a security deposit or obtaining insurance coverage.

Rent back agreements can be valuable tools for buyers and sellers in the Hawaii real estate market, providing flexibility, financial benefits, and a smoother transition process. If you want to learn more about buying Hawaii real estate or selling your home on the Big Island, contact us any time. 

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