Buying a home in Louisiana? While there are certain legal guidelines that can be helpful to all U.S. home buyers, there are specific rules that vary from one state to another. Home buyers should bear in mind some key considerations to ease the often overwhelming real estate process. Knowing what to expect can help to ease your stress so you can relax and enjoy the accomplishment of getting the keys to your new home in hand.
The Role of a Real Estate Agent
Buyer's real estate agents do more than just show you property in your desired area and price range. These licensed professionals work with you throughout the transaction, ensuring all paperwork is complete and that no steps are overlooked. Most important, they represent you in negotiations. While you don't necessarily need to have your own agent, it can be a costly mistake to assume the seller's agent will work with your best interests in my mind. To find an agent in your area, you may want to check with a professional organization, such as your local chapter of Louisiana REALTORS®.
What Information Must a Seller Disclose?
Sellers are required by law to disclose certain known defects about a property to prospective buyers. The Louisiana Real Estate Commission provides an official form for this purpose. It includes sections for:
- Termites, wood-destroying insects, and other organisms
- Plumbing, water, gas, and sewer systems
- Electrical, heating and cooling, and appliances
An addendum form focuses on residential sewerage treatment systems. And there is a separate disclosure form regarding lead-based paint.
Your Purchasing Agreement
The Louisiana Real Estate Commission provides a standard Residential Agreement to Buy or Sell form. This legally binding document includes all of the details of the transaction, including terms and price. A purchasing agreement should also allow you to have the property inspected, with the sale pending the results of that inspection.
Home inspectors are licensed professionals who evaluate the condition of the property. They have specific training to spot current and potential problems related to the dwelling. This usually includes a visual appraisal for structural, roofing, plumbing and sewage systems, and other issues. If any defects are revealed, you may negotiate with the seller ways to address them. You can learn more about home inspections through the Louisiana Board of Home Inspectors.
Legal Title Search
Before you can close on a property, you need to be aware of any liens or easements attached to the title. Your real estate lawyer or a title company will conduct a title search to research public records for any issues related to the title. This ensures that the property can be legally transferred from one party to the next.
Consulting A Residential Real Estate Lawyer
State-specific real estate laws can be complicated. For legal information concerning your home buying experience, please contact a Louisiana real estate lawyer.