Land Contract Law & Legal Definition


A land contract is essentially an installment payment arrangement for purchasing land. It is also known as a contract for deed or installment contract. It is an agreement for the purchase of real property in which the payment of all or a portion of the purchasing price is deferred.

The purchase price may be paid in installments over the period of the contract, with the balance due at maturity. When the buyer completes the required payments, the seller must deliver valid legal title by way of a deed. During the period of the contract, the buyer makes installment payments on the purchase price and is entitled to possession and equitable title to the property. The seller retains legal title and continues to be liable for payment of any underlying mortgage or loans.

The buyer may assign and convey his/her interest as long and it doesn't result in impairment of seller's position. Any assignment or conveyance will not release the buyer from obligations under the contract unless the seller specifically releases the buyer in writing.