“Across the country, people like Mr. Williams have found themselves in similar predicaments. Unable to obtain a traditional mortgage, they have signed a high-interest, seller-financed deal known as a contract for deed that works like an installment plan for housing. For many, these deals can quickly turn into money traps.
The deals also have added to neighborhood blight when the houses fall into further disrepair.
Contracts for deeds are difficult to track because the transactions are not recorded in many states. It can become difficult to determine who actually owns the property — and who is responsible for its upkeep and paying property taxes — often because the original contract is sold to several investors over time.”
Source: How a Home Bargain Became a ‘Pain in the Butt,’ and Worse – The New York Times