From the end of the seventies until the beginning of the eighties, land contract use was quite popular, having offered more options for financing and paying for deeds than any other form of contract available at that time. It gave people another choice aside from traditional lenders and their standards for qualification which were typically much more rigid.
However, when the regulations for loans started to ease, land contracts started to lose ground in their popularity. This was compounded by the fact that interest rates also dipped under 8 percent. However, though they may no longer be at their highest use in history, this does not mean that they do not continue to exist. IN fact, since 2006, the land contracts has made their way back into the real estate market and has started to reestablish its position as a commonly used real estate sales tool.
Land contracts occurs between the seller of a property and a buyer, allowing the buyer to pay for the purchase over time through installments. Throughout that time the seller retains title (or deed) over the property, until the time that the full payment has been made.
The laws regarding sales through land contract do vary from state to state, so it is important to become familiar with the regulations within the applicable state before entering into the contract.
During the time that the land contract is in place, the property can be changed in order to make improvements or remove them. It can be left empty, or a manufactured home may be placed upon it.
The agreement typically means that monthly payments will be made following a down payment. These monthly payments continue until the amount is completely paid or a balloon payment occurs to complete the fulfillment of the debt. Balloon payments are a lump sum which is separate from the monthly fees and down payment and that occurs at a specific point in time – most commonly at the very end of the term of the land contract.
A land contract is usually most appealing to buyers who are struggling to obtain financing to buy the property through traditional means (such as a mortgage). That being said, it is also advised that sellers proceed with caution – though it is acceptable if they cannot otherwise sell the property at a price attractive to them.
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