Ignite FB Tracking PixelShould you Choose a Land Contract or a Mortgage? - Kimberly Jokela

Should you Choose a Land Contract or a Mortgage?

by Kimberly Jokela 08/22/2021

Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

A land contract and a mortgage have a number of similarities. For example, you can use either option to purchase a home Both loans must be repaid on a monthly basis.

Understanding the Differences 

A land contract is a legal agreement between a buyer and a seller. Rather than a traditional mortgage scenario with a bank, the seller becomes the lender. The buyer and seller agree on a price for the home then negotiate terms and a payment schedule. 

In many cases, these repayment terms follow a schedule of monthly payments much like a mortgage. However, a balloon payment for the remaining balance is often due within three to five years. At that time, you would then obtain a traditional mortgage to fund the remainder that's due. 

Land Contract Risks

While it can seem like a land contract would be an ideal way to secure a home, it does involve risks you need to know about. A land contract can be a way for you to close on a home if you aren't able to qualify for a mortgage that covers the full cost right away. The three to five years that a typical land contract lasts can give you time to improve your credit and increase your financial soundness. 

Before you agree to a land contract, though, be aware that the property is not yours until you make the final (balloon) payment. This means that if you make any improvements to the property during that time, you could potentially be out of your investment. You are also not building up any equity in the home during the time that the land contract is in effect. 

At any point during the land contract, your position as the buyer could be compromised. For example, the seller is the legal owner of the property until the contract has been fully paid. If they experience financial problems and lose the property, you would have no claim to it and would forfeit your payments. 

As the buyer, you are obligated to meet your payment agreement. If you don't do so at any time during a land contract, the deal ends. The property stays with the seller and you are out the money you've invested. 

Advantages of a Mortgage

With a mortgage, you must pay property taxes and honor your obligations to the lender. As long as you do so -- and avoid liens -- you have legal recognition as the property owner. 

A land contract can seem like an attractive alternative if you don't think you qualify for a traditional mortgage. Before agreeing to one, though, be sure you understand the pitfalls that could be involved. 

About the Author
Author

Kimberly Jokela

Meet Kimberly Jokela:

With a genuine passion in people Kimberly loves helping her clients make their real estate dreams or needs come to life!

Born and raised in the midwest in a family with a strong work ethic, filled with creativity & dedication.

Her determination lead her to attend college at the "Philadelphia Performing Arts" where she had the opportunity to follow her passion in the Arts & to travel. Living in California with her husband Rick for 15 years together they built a successful business. After the birth of her beautiful daughter Brittany in 2003 & seeking a "small town” coastal lifestyle, they took a trip to Naples Florida & fell in love with all it has to offer and made the jump!

With now over 13 years experience as a licensed Realtor serving Naples, Bonita Springs, Marco Island, Estero & Fort Myers.

A great listener, negotiator & connector, Kimberly is dedicated to helping her clients looking to BUY find their ideal property! .

Her warm & friendly personality is present in everything she does on her clients behalf!

Kimberly’s creativity & "out of the box" thinking gives her clients the extra leverage they need when SELLING a property.

Her well organized marketing includes professionally produced photography, video, drone imagery, media presentation in print, numerous online websites & social media!