Here’s why low-income households may gamble with homeownership

Texas passed a law last year that will help McKinney and homebuyers like him claim titles to the properties they’re paying for, the latest in a series of reforms. Other states also are adding protections for buyers involved in this archaic form of financing.
News Story (NATIONAL)

Sophie Quinton
PBS News Hour
June 1, 2016

Tags: Housing: Contract for Deed

Organizations mentioned/involved: Texas RioGrande Legal Aid (TRLA)


Nobody knows how many U.S. homebuyers have entered into contracts for deed. The U.S. Census Bureau’s American Housing Survey pegged the number at 3.5 million in 2009, but hasn’t asked the question since.

In some communities, the contracts may be on the rise. The recession eroded people’s finances and drove banks and credit unions away from risky borrowers. This expanded the market for contracts for deed, rent-to-own plans, and leases with option to purchase — seller-financed deals that don’t require a credit check and sometimes don’t even require a down payment.

“The underbelly of real estate, is what I call it,” said Robert Doggett, an attorney with Texas RioGrande Legal Aid who specializes in housing law.