I am a mortgage banker/broker, but work with a lot of investors that do owner financing in the Austin, Tx area. While you truely will get better rates from an FHA/ VA / USDA (USDA still provides 100% financing) loans (especially compared to owner financing); however the investors serve a valuable function in our market currently providing homes and financing to people who just do not qualify. If you have tried to qualify and feel this is you then...
There is a lot of research that you need to know about, but much will depend on the person finacing the loan and how they are doing the financing. Many investors are currently doing wraps also know as subject tos and also known as "deed in lieu there of". This means that they have taken over the existing financing from the original owner and act as the "bank"r to the new buyer who has a fully excuted deed, while they carry the deed of Trust.
Advantages: You really don't have to have much if anything down (down payment or buyer fee can be financed), they close quickly, and there is not much concern about credit. They will also have all the necessary paperwork for you to fill out.
Disadvantages: You have to make sure this person is reputable and will live up to their responsibilities or your investment into the property will be in jeapordy.
Finally, if this isn't an investor, but just a person who is trying to sell their current residence, then you need to make sure the paperwork-Deed and Deed of Trus- (typically from real estate attorney) is mutually agreed by you and the seller, and yes I would have an attorney review.
Please let me know if I can be of further assistance---(512) 633-4393