Frequently Asked Questions
What is a Land Contract?
A Land Contract is a form of home ownership. Unlike purchasing a home through a bank or another financial institution, a Land Contract does not require a large down payment that many potential homeowners cannot afford.
Instead a Land Contract offers you a lower down-payment with an affordable monthly payment for you to build your credit and equity until you can easily refinance.
How long does a Land Contract last?
A Land Contract will last until a Land Contract holder either refinances or takes an option to extend the length of the contract. The actual full life of a Land Contract will be agreed upon at the time of the Contract, but is typically 3 to 5 years.
How much do I need to start a Land Contract?
The amount of the down-payment for a Land Contract is $4,000, but we recommend that anyone interested in a Land Contract have available about $5,000 due to closing costs, your first payment, utilities, insurance or any other costs that may be incurred during the initiation of home ownership.
What about Refinancing?
A lot of people are confused about refinancing, but it is really simple. While you are in your Land Contract you are building up your credit and more importantly, equity in your home. After you have built up some equity and established a good financial relationship in your Land Contract all you need to do is seek out a mortgage company.
A mortgage company will give you the amount of money you need to pay off your Land Contract and put you into a financing situation in which you will pay a lower interest rate and therefore a lower monthly payment, making it more affordable to be a home owner.
Why would I not get a mortgage in the first place?
Without a good history of credit or a history of not having much credit at all, it can be quite difficult to get approved for a home mortgage loan, especially if you have no equity to finance upon. If you have built up equity in a home already and established a good financial track record in the process, it can be much easier to get a mortgage.
What responsibilities do I have as a homeowner under a Land Contract?
When you own a home through a Land Contract, you will be responsible for paying for, but are not limited to: Homeowners Insurance, Flood Insurance (if necessary), Property Taxes, Utilities, and home repairs.
What happens if I decide I do not want my home any longer?
If you decide you no longer want to live at that home, and you would like to end your agreement through the Land Contract, you simply must notify us and sign a Land Contract Termination Agreement. The financial results will differ in each case of Land Contract Termination.
What is a Lease Option?
A Lease Option is a way of getting into a Land Contract if you can not afford the full down-payment on a Land Contract.
In a Lease Option, you will essentially be paying a monthly lease, but your monthly payment will be more that what your house payment would be in a Land Contract.
The extra money you pay every month will be accrued until you reach the amount of money you need for your down-payment. If you have accrued your down-payment within the time of your lease, you may then sign into your Land Contract.
How long will my Lease be in a Lease Option?
The amount of time on your lease will be agreed upon according to how long it will probably take to have the full amount of your down-payment.
Can I pay the full down-payment before my Lease expires?
Certainly! We want you to become a homeowner as quickly as possible. You may pay the remaining amount of the deposit as soon as you can and opt out of your Lease into a Land Contract.
Will my monthly payment decrease after I pay my down-payment?
Yes. On average your monthly payment will decrease about $50 a month because you are no longer accruing your down-payment.
What does it cost to get into a Lease Option?
We usually need $2,500 to initiate a Lease Option, but some cases may vary.
What responsibilities will I have under a Lease Option?
When you are in a Lease Option, you are only responsible for those things that a common renter would be responsible. You need only worry about making your monthly payment and covering utilities expenses. However, at the end of your lease, if you have entered into a Land Contract you will then become responsible for taxes, repairs, utilities, insurance and any other expenses incurred through ownership.