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How to Buy a Business With Seller Financing A look at when seller financing makes sense and how to vet the deal.

By Michelle Goodman

This story appears in the May 2015 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Advertising and publishing veteran Janelle Regotti was looking for a business to buy. The right opportunity presented itself last year when she found Guide Publishing, a company that distributes a quarterly resource guide for Northeast Ohio seniors. The only catch: Regotti didn't have the $500,000 asking price.

With few physical assets to borrow against, she was unlikely to get a bank loan. So with the help of her business broker, she negotiated a seller-financing deal and bought the business five months later with just 10 percent down and quarterly payments due over 10 years at about 6 percent interest.

Of course, most sellers won't finance 90 percent of their asking price. But borrowing 10, 20 or even 30 percent from a seller at a competitive rate still beats using your credit card to cover capital shortfalls. If you're interested in seller financing, here's what you need to know.

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