How can I find homes for sale with owner financing?

Asked by Royce, Kansas City, KS Fri Jul 11, 2008

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Don Tepper, Agent, Burke, VA
Fri Jul 11, 2008
I can't help with your specific property search. However, here's a way to find owner-financed properties...even when they're not advertised as owner-financed.

This is a variation on an answer that I post when someone asks how to find a lease-option (or lease-purchase, or contract for deed). All of them have the same basic characteristics that you're looking for: An owner wants to sell, but doesn't need all of his/her equity out, and is thus willing to help finance the transaction. And a prospect who want to buy, but often due to either weak credit or an insufficient downpayment isn't able to get a mortgage outright.

So your task is finding people who want to sell, but don't need all their equity out at once. They may or may not have considered owner financing.

There really is no "best" way to find them. It depends on your neighborhood, what you're looking for, what you can afford, your comfort zone. So, read through the list and pick 3 or 4 that make sense to you.

Here's how to do it.

To find owner-financed properties, you often have to use some creativity. Most aren't listed on the MLS.

**Using a Realtor**
[Note: If you use a Realtor--which is fine--ask them how they'd find properties where the seller is willing to do some of the financing. If they can't come up with more than 1 or 2 of the answers below, find another Realtor.]

--Some owner financed properties (for simplicity's sake, from here on I'll refer to finding lease-options--in other parts of the country, similar arrangements may be called rent-to-own, land contracts or contracts for deed) are listed in the MLS. Not too many, but some. That's where to begin. However, that's not where to end.

--Search for homes that are listed both to rent and to sell. There may not be any comment that the property is a lease-option, and maybe it didn't even occur to the seller. But a property that a seller is willing to lease, but is also willing to sell is a perfect candidate for a lease-option.

--Search for homes that are listed for rent, but were previously listed for sale. It's likely that the owner was trying to sell the house, but wasn't able to. Now he/she is willing to rent it. That's another perfect candidate for a lease-option.

--Search for homes that are listed for sale, but were previously listed for rent. In today's market, there will be fewer of them, but it happens.

--Search for homes with expired listings. The owners wanted to sell, but weren't able to. Many will consider renting the property, especially if it's vacant.

--Search for homes listed for sale that are vacant. The owners are hurting. They might appreciate the cash flow they'd receive from leasing the property.

--Search for homes listed for rent that are vacant. Again, the owners are hurting. And most owners of single family homes are "reluctant landlords." That wasn't their long-term strategy. Especially if they're bleeding, they may just want to get the property off their hands.

***Not Using a Realtor***

I'm not advising doing it yourself, but you certainly can. However, here are a few other ways to do it.

--Advertise on sites like CraigsList for a lease-option. Advertise under both the rental and purchase areas.

--Go through the papers and look for properties that owners are trying to rent out. A lot of them won't be listed in the MLS. Approach them and explain that you'd like to rent their property for awhile, then have the option to purchase it.

--Look for FSBOs. Same basic pitch to them. You'd like to buy their house, but would like to rent it first.

--Choose a neighborhood you like. Knock on doors. Ask, "Do you know anyone in this neighborhood who might be interested in selling their home?" Often, you'll turn up people before the home is listed. Again, you explain you're interested in buying, just renting awhile first.

--Put cards up in your local supermarket.

--Attend a meeting of your local real estate investors club. It may cost $10 or $15, or maybe nothing. There's usually a time near the beginning of the meeting when investors can stand up and offer or solicit deals. You can stand up, too, and announce that you're looking for a rent-to-own. Specify what you're looking for (number of bedrooms, baths), geographic location, type of property (townhouse, single family home, etc.), maximum amount you're willing to spend on rent and purchase, and anything else that's relevant. Print up some one-page factsheets with details. Make sure you put all your contact information on there. Go to for a list of investment clubs.

Hope that helps
2 votes
Airfreightgal, Renter, Bonner Springs, KS
Sun Jul 26, 2015
ISO owner financing in Kansas City, Kansas and surrounding area. Please contact me with any information you may have for me. Thank you!
0 votes
sciarabba, , Roselle, IL
Sun Dec 2, 2012
looking for owner finance on 50,000 condo in roselle ,il ur western suburbs
0 votes
David Van Noy, Agent, Leawood, KS
Thu Jul 24, 2008
Just register here for the HASSLE FREE MLS GUARANTEE and I will send you ONLY the deals you request and nothing more.

PS, make sure you do a little research and make sure that you feel comfortable that I wont abuse your information and
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0 votes
Maria Morton, Agent, Kansas City, MO
Sat Jul 19, 2008
We can do a search in Heartland MLS. Are you looking to buy in Lenexa?
Let me know if you'd like help.
0 votes
Debbie DiFon…, Agent, Lebanon, MO
Fri Jul 11, 2008
Thanks for asking the question, Royce. Finding a Realtor that you like and trust is the best way to go. Your Realtor often knows of owner financing opportunities or can put the word out they are looking for such a property. You don't mention why you need owner financing, but a Realtor may be able to explore other finance options with you.
0 votes
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