Lisa, do yourself a favor and engage a local Realtor first. This is a good place to find a Realtor but to get an answer to detailed questions. Here is where to find one http://www.trulia.com/voices/directory/49849-broker--60791... more
If this is a condo project I would think the association would have insurance to cover common elements.
You have to watch some of these associations they will lie to you about types of coverages because they might have a large copay on the deductible . exp: sewer backup rider $1500 they pay. make sure they have proper cash reserves on hand.... more
First, here's a blog I wrote on how to find land contracts and similar: http://www.trulia.com/blog/don_tepper/2010/03/how_you_can_find_and_buy_a_lease-option_rent-to-own_property
How do you convince a seller you're good candidates?
First, be honest with them. Explain what happened to damage your credit. And--here's the key--explain why what happened then won't happen again. Explain what's different. Explain why the sellers should not be overly concerned about what happened in the past.
Many investors, when dealing with people with poor credit, divided those folks up into two categories. One category is the deadbeats. These are people who keep running out on their rentals. They keep buying things they can't afford. They habitually don't repay their debts. They know how to work the system, and they're not going to change. These folks don't deserve another chance, because they'll just repeat what they've done before. Investors avoid these folks.
The other category of people with poor credit have a different history. They used to have good credit, and they had a history of paying their debts. Then something happened. Maybe they lost a job. Or they had a divorce. Or a huge medical bill. Or they were in a car accident and couldn't work for 6 months. Their credit dropped. They may have lost their home. But now they're getting back on their feet. They have another job. Or they're back at work after the accident. Or they've moved into a smaller place. And their credit is slowly improving. These are the folks that investors love to work with. (And that everyday home sellers should, too.)
What you have to show is that you fall into this second group, not the first. Someone selling on a land contract will want to know: "Are these buyers really going to be able to follow through? Do they really want to buy, and are they going to be able to?" Your job is to convince them that you really do want to buy, and that you will be able to follow through.
One other point: Don't sell yourselves short. A land contract should be a win-win situation. You'll be dealing with someone who wants to sell. You're offering them an opportunity to sell. You're a willing buyer. So: Don't approach it as: "Please do me a big favor and allow me to purchase your property even though my credit is weak." Approach it as: "You've got a property you'd like to sell, and I'd like to buy it. I don't have perfect credit, but I am a serious, interested buyer who intends to follow through. And in so doing, you'll be able to accomplish your goal of selling your property."