What Is a Leaseback? A Definitive Guide

You don’t have to continue to own your property for the duration of your mortgage. If mortgage payments are too high, you might consider a leaseback, which is a way to make some extra cash and transfer the burden of ownership to another party.

When is a leaseback right for you? Read on to discover the details of leasebacks and certain alternatives, like co-homeownership with Balance.

What Is a Leaseback?

In a nutshell, a leaseback is a financial setup where the owner of a property sells the property to a new owner but remains in the property and leases it from the new purchaser. In a homeownership context, a sale-leaseback agreement means you:

  • Sell your home to a new owner
  • Take out a lease from the new owner
  • Make regular lease or mortgage payments to the new owner

For example, say you purchase a house with a variable interest rate. However, as the economy shifts, the interest rate becomes too high for your current financial situation. Rather than selling the house and moving, you find a willing buyer to purchase the house. They then lend you the property through a traditional lease. Note that most leaseback lessees do end up moving out shortly after selling their properties.

Leasebacks are also often used for commercial and retail real estate properties. For instance, a small business owner may own a retail property but can’t make the mortgage payments. They will sell to a developer and take out a lease on the property to keep their store.

How Does a Sale-Leaseback Work?

A sale-leaseback or leaseback agreement works whenever you find a buyer to take your property off your hands and then lease it back to you in the same condition. With a sale-leaseback agreement, you do not always retain the right to later purchase the property from the new lessor if they don’t want to sell it to you.

Generally, a leaseback only works when:

  • You can prove to the new or prospective buyer that you will be a strong tenant and make regular lease payments.
  • There’s enough time for the lease arrangement to be worth it to the lender/buyer. Because of this, leaseback leases are usually 10 years or longer to benefit both the lessor and lessee.

Leasebacks are most popular and profitable for properties that would already make strong rental homes. For instance, if you have a single-family home or townhouse in a desirable location, a buyer might be willing to purchase the property from you and pay off your mortgage, then let you stay in the property as a tenant.

The buyer might do this if their original plan was to purchase the property and rent it out. If your home wouldn’t make an ideal rental property, or if it needs extensive repairs, it may be difficult to find a buyer for a leaseback agreement.

What Are the Benefits of a Leaseback?

A leaseback can seem like an attractive prospect, especially if you can’t make your mortgage payments. Some of the many benefits of a leaseback for your home include:

  • As the home seller, you get to avoid all of the associated costs of homeownership, like private mortgage insurance payments, taxes, and insurance, while still residing in the property.
  • You don’t have to move if the new owner agrees to lend you the property.
  • Using a leaseback to get out of a bad mortgage could be a good way to avoid a significant hit to your credit, particularly if you are at risk of foreclosure.

What Are the Disadvantages of a Leaseback?

That said, leaseback arrangements do have some drawbacks you should keep in mind:

  • You are no longer a homeowner. You have less control over the property and may not be able to modify or renovate it, depending on what your new lease agreement allows.
  • It can be hard to find a buyer who is interested in a leaseback arrangement. In many cases, you’ll have an easier time outright selling your house to a new owner, who may want to rent it or live in themselves.

Is a Leaseback Right for You?

Though a leaseback can seem attractive at first glance, it removes your ownership from the property. There are alternatives you can pursue if your current mortgage arrangement is too financially difficult to maintain.

For example, you can work with Balance. Instead of forfeiting your home, Balance allows you to keep your home and access your equity to consolidate debt, repair your property, and build your credit. Balance invests in your home in exchange for an ownership interest. Sharing in your future home appreciation allows Balance to offer affordable terms with low monthly payments and flexible qualifying criteria.

Working with Balance allows you to continue living in your home and remain a co-owner. There's no minimum term, so you can exit by refinancing or selling the property when you're ready and keep your share of the proceeds. 

Contact Balance Today

At the end of the day, Balance offers a superior way to retain ownership of your home and get out from under the thumb of a difficult mortgage agreement. Speak to one of our representatives today to learn more about how Balance can help you stay in your home and save money at the same time!


What is the difference between a fixed APR and a variable APR? | Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

Nearly 20 Percent of Sellers Move Out After Leaseback Period | National Association of Realtors

What is private mortgage insurance? | Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

What You Should Know About Co-Owning a House | Mortgages and Advice | U.S. News