Sunday, December 9, 2012

Getting a Land Loan, The Positive and Negatives of a Land Contract for Buyers and Sellers

A Land Contract which is also known as “contract for deed”, or “land installment sale”. The buyer makes payments in order to pay down the purchase price. Under this type of arrangement, the seller keeps title to the property and the buyers make monthly payments. When they were able to pay off the balance owed then the seller would then give them the deed to the property, which would then be recorded in their name In can be interpreted like a rent to own agreement. In one example a seller lost out when the buyer stopped making payments and gave the property back to the seller. Properties values had dropped so the buyers decided to move on. The seller finds out later that the buyers applied for a mortgage loan to buy a home. In this case the buyer would lose out on all of their prior payments, but the seller has no recourse, since he held title and keeps the buyers payments. The seller has to find a new buyer. The seller was complaining because the property values decreased, but he would not be complaining if the property values increased. In this case the seller should have taken a mortgage An example where a buyer loses would be when they make monthly payments for years, and If they can’t make any further payments then they are essentially “out of contract” and will lose all their payments and have no claim on the property. Land contacts are similar to an owner will carry (OWC) as the seller is acting as the mortgage holder instead of a bank. The essential difference with a land contract and an owner will carry type loan is the seller keeps title in a land contract but the buyer has title in an OWC. If the buyer fails to pay on an OWC then the seller can foreclose on the buyer for lack of payments. Land Contacts “land installment sale” are not used as much these day, but can be a viable option as banks are less likely to loan for vacant land. It is also a good option in a decreasing real estate market as our example above shows. Also for home buyers who don’t have the down payment a land contract helps them buy a home over time directly from the seller avoiding banks and mortgage companies.

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