Caller Times – Residents stuck in contract-for-deed trap

Arturo Rodriguez wished for a house of his own for most of his life. When he found someone who would sell him one, he willingly stepped into a trap.

“I wanted a house,” he said. “My credit was bad. This was all I could afford. It was falling apart.”

Rodriguez and hundreds of others entered into a type of legal arrangement called a contract-for-deed. House dwellers make payments, pay taxes and insurance on a house as if they own it, but they don’t receive the property deed until it is paid off. Equity doesn’t accrue. Interest rates are high, a home inspection and appraisal aren’t conducted and repairs are the responsibility of the residents.

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