To attain the dream of home ownership, many lower income Americans may take risks to buy a home, maybe taking on a home with serious defects in hopes of fixing it up. Unfortunately, there are companies out there looking to take advantage of this hunger for ownership, according to an in-depth New York Times report from Matthew Goldstein and Alexandra Stevenson.

Goldstein and Stevenson pinpoint the Midwest and South as areas that see a particularly high amount of these home sales. Here they talk about the problem in Akron, Ohio.

Dozens of these houses were scooped up after the financial crisis by investors, who then make deals with low-income home buyers unable to get traditional mortgages. The arrangement is something like buying a home on an installment plan, with a high-interest, long-term loan called a contract for deed, or land contract.

But for buyers lured by the dream of homeownership, these seller-financed transactions can become a money trap that ends with a quick eviction by the seller, who can flip the home again. Before the housing crisis, low-income buyers got too much of a house that they couldn’t afford. Now, they are getting too little of a house that they can’t afford to repair.

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