Frequently Asked Questions
How this works
The contract-for-deed program is designed to make the path to homeownership easy and straightforward, with a quick and efficient timeline that can take as little as 5 days from start to finish. Here's an overview of the four main steps in the process:
- Find A Home: Select an available home listed on this site and fill out both webforms associated with that home. If interested in multiple properties, fill out both forms for each home. To be added to our Buyer’s List, select the appropriate link and fill out the webforms to receive notification of future properties that meet your criteria. All these steps are free, there’s no obligation and this won’t impact your credit score. Simply provide us with some basic information about your financial situation and you’ll receive an email with further information about the home along with photos for your review.
- Schedule a Showing: If you qualify for the selected home, and you are interested in a showing (after reviewing the photos), simply follow the instructions within the email. Our showing coordinator will contact you to set up an appointment so you can gather more information about the property and decide if it’s the right fit for your needs. During the tour, you’ll also have an opportunity to view the paperwork and put down an Earnest Money Deposit to hold the home a few days until step 3 can be completed.
- Secure Your Home: If you decide to move forward with a property, the next step is to send an Earnest Money Deposit (if you didn’t in step 2). After that, we will prepare the agreement and other paperwork and send them via email to each signer for review. When ready, contact the showing coordinator and schedule a time to meet at the house. As soon as we have the signed paperwork, the down payment, and have confirmed the utilities have been transferred, we will hand you the keys. We hope you’ll be willing to pose for a photo in front of your new house. Say Cheese!
- Celebrate and Move In: Now it’s time to celebrate! If some work needs to be done before moving in, then you’ll want to get started right away so you don’t delay move-in any longer than necessary. If the home doesn’t need major repairs, then you’ll be able to move in as soon as you are ready. We are so glad to be able to help you get home!
A contract for deed, also known as a land contract, is a type of real estate transaction where the buyer agrees to purchase a property from the seller through a series of installment payments. Unlike a traditional mortgage, where the buyer obtains a loan from a bank to finance the purchase of the property, in a contract for deed, the seller serves as the lender and the buyer makes monthly payments directly to the seller. The seller retains legal ownership of the property until the buyer has paid the full purchase price, while in a traditional mortgage, the buyer obtains legal ownership of the property and the lender holds a lien on the property until the mortgage is paid off. Once the final payment is made, the seller transfers the deed to the buyer, who then becomes the new owner of the property.
It is our mission to make homeownership accessible to everyone, and this is reflected in our low down payment requirements. The down payment on most properties is generally $2,000-$3000, which is a nonrefundable deposit that is applied to the purchase price, secures the property for the buyer, and is due at the time of signing the agreement. By keeping the down payment low, we help buyers overcome one of the biggest hurdles to homeownership and start building equity in their new home with a more manageable financial commitment.
The property taxes are included with the monthly payment and we take care of paying them on the buyer’s behalf. Additionally, hazard insurance is purchased by us and reimbursed by the buyer either through their monthly recurring payment or by paying it in full. It's important to note that the insurance purchased by us only protects the house itself from damage, and if buyers want to insure their personal belongings, it's recommended to obtain additional insurance, which they can purchase anywhere. However, all of our residents are pre-approved for several options within our online Resident Center.
The contract-for-deed program offers clear title properties with no liens to ensure buyers have a worry-free purchase. Although the properties may require TLC, buyers have the freedom to upgrade their home to their own taste and on their own schedule. Prior to agreeing to purchase, buyers are responsible for inspecting the property and doing their own due diligence for any needed upgrades. The best part is that there are no additional costs beyond the down payment, as we absorb all closing costs for you!
Is this for Traditional Home Buyers or for Real Estate Investors?
The short answer is, both! Our contract for deed program offers a unique opportunity for both traditional homeowners and investors to purchase and have immediate access to properties with a much smaller down payment and without the need for a credit check, income verification, or background screening.
For Traditional Homeowners:
This program allows them to have full access to their property and the ability to renovate, decorate, and start building equity, with a lower barrier of entry and less stringent underwriting requirements than those of a traditional lender. Instead of paying rent, they can make monthly payments towards ownership of their property, providing a path to building long-term wealth and stability.
The contract for deed program offers an opportunity to quickly renovate and cash flow their properties with a low down payment and significantly fewer fees and interest points than hard money loans. The monthly payment often allows for a margin from the market rental rate, providing an opportunity to generate monthly cash flow from the investment. Additionally, investors can acquire multiple properties and scale their real estate investment portfolio seamlessly.
You might be a good fit for this program if…
- You would prefer to put a smaller down payment towards the property instead of the typical 20% down required by an institutional mortgage lender
- Your credit score or debt-to-income ratio aren’t quite there yet
- You’re self-employed or just got a new job
- You would rather put your rental payments towards building equity
- You want to scale your rental portfolio without tying up too much capital in one deal
Who is responsible for Maintenance?
Much like a traditional home sale, all preventative maintenance, repairs, capital expenditures, and updates are the responsibility of the buyer. This differs from rent-to-own agreements where the buyer assumes the role of a tenant, and the seller retains landlord responsibilities. When purchasing a property using a contract for deed, you enjoy all the benefits and burdens of homeownership. We act as the lender to make properties accessible to people who have a hard time purchasing homes the traditional way.
Managing Monthly Payments
We have an online portal, called the Resident Center, that offers access to account information 24-hours a day from any computer or smart phone connected to the internet. Simply log in to make your electronic payment in seconds. Utilizing the recurring payments option will insure you never forget to make a payment. As an alternate to making your payment online, we also accept cash payments at various retail locations. Online payments from a bank account will be charged $2 per transaction and cash payments at retail stores will be charged $3.99 per transaction.
Utilizing the recurring payments option within the Resident Center will help you make your payments on time and avoid late fees and the risk of defaulting on the property. All payments are due on the first of the month. If we have not received payment by the sixth, you will be charged a 10% late fee and receive a late notice email. If we don’t receive payment by the fifteenth, we may have to file an unlawful detainer, which could lead to eviction. It is important to stay up-to-date with your payments to enjoy a smooth and stress-free experience.
No, there isn’t. You may pay off the entire unpaid balance at any time without penalty. Buyers may not make extra principle payments unless mutually agreed upon. Therefore, without approval, any money received over the account balance will display as a credit on the account. Approved extra payments will be applied directly to the principle balance and an updated amortization schedule will be provided.