Some Protective Measures:
1. Check county records to ensure the person offering the owner finance is the owner of record.
2. Check the County's "Lis Pendens" notices to ensure that the owner is not under water.
3. Make sure you have a solid contract that spells out what amount of payments go to what.
You should always seek the help of a professional, i.e. an Attorney or Realtor.
Best of Luck,
Josh Barnett, Realtor
Metro First Realty