A down payment will create equity in the property and give the seller money to deal with foreclosure.
Seller financing is almost always going to be a second mortgage that is subject to the first mortgage from the bank. The bank’s loan is usually for the majority of the purchase price and stands first in line to get paid. If the buyer fails to pay on the first mortgage, the lender on it will foreclose and the seller-financed mortgage will be wiped out. If the sale pays off the first mortgage balance, including all delinquencies and foreclosure costs, and there is money left over, the seller will get this money up to what is owed on the mortgage. It seldom happens. You can bring the first mortgage current and add that amount onto your mortgage. This will put the borrower in default on your mortgage if the added money is not paid with the next regular payment after you have informed the borrower of your actions and demanded payment. You can then begin your own foreclosure. If you foreclose, you will either be paid off at the sale or get back the property if no one bids enough to enable a payoff (usually the latter). If there was equity in the property, the owner would probably have sold it to avoid foreclosure.
Once you get back the property, you will be responsible for the first mortgage payment. Foreclosure of a first mortgage wipes out the second (third, fourth, etc.). Foreclosure of a second mortgage does not affect the first. There are problems that may arise.
• If the first mortgage is for a high amount, making up the delinquency may require more money than you can afford. This is especially true if the first mortgagee waited until the borrower was several months behind on the payments before starting the foreclosure process.
• The holder of the first mortgage may claim that the foreclosure triggers a due on sale clause and demand payment. However, most state laws do not allow this. Check the applicable law in your state.
• Borrowers in possession of property being foreclosed upon usually do not take care of the property. Some deliberately damage it. If the second mortgage is for a relatively small amount, make sure the added expense to get ownership of the property is worth it.