The land-contract gamble

Selling tactic a lose-lose when layoffs hit

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DEAR BENNY: I sold a home in 2006 by way of a land contract. The buyers were making payments to me in order to pay down the purchase price. Recently, the buyers quitclaimed (in lieu of foreclosure) the property back to me. They said they lost their jobs. I received a letter from a mortgage company this week. They are applying for a new home. Any recourse I can take? The property has lost a lot of value in the past year. --Nancy DEAR NANCY: As I understand your question, you entered into a land contract -- also known as a "contract for deed" or a "land installment sales contract." Under this kind of arrangement, you kept title to the property and your buyers made monthly payments. When they were able to pay off the balance owed you -- either by way of getting a new loan or winning a lottery -- you would then give them the deed to the property, which would then be recorded in their name. I am not sure what you mean by quitclaim, because in the land sales ...