Selling your home on your own may seem cost effective, but you must follow numerous state and local requirements or you risk potential legal issues that could be costly. Before selling your home in the Pelican State, there are a number of things you need to know.
Your Real Estate Agent
A real estate agent can determine the marketable value of your home and present it to a wider market so that you can look forward to a number of credible buyers. Find a licensed Louisiana real estate agent at Realestatelouisiana.com or by getting a referral from someone you know and trust.
There are three kinds of real estate listings:
- Open listing: Owners retain the right to sell the home and pay no commissions.
- Exclusive agency listing: The seller executes a listing agreement with a broker and pays a commission only if the broker is the procuring cause of the sale.
- Exclusive right to sell listing: The seller agrees to pay a commission to the listing broker regardless of who brings in the buyer.
Typically, your agent determines the selling price by comparing prices of similar homes that have been listed in your area within a quarter- or half-mile of your home. Contents of the listing generally contain:
- Price and commission
- Duration of the agreement
- Items included or not in the sale
- Duties and obligations of seller and agent
Your Required Disclosures
Louisiana law requires that sellers provide certain disclosures including known defects in the home’s structure, as well as the following:
- Building and safety information
- Environmental hazards
- Plumbing, water, gas, and sewerage
The failure to disclose known defects or to make other required disclosures can expose you to a lawsuit. Louisiana home sellers are required to use the language contained in the Residential Property Disclosure Statement. Generally, if an inspection turns up material defects, the buyer can insist that you remedy them or lower the purchase price so the transaction can go forward.
What Is an Offer?
An offer to pay a stated price based on certain terms and conditions is not a legally binding contract until the buyer accepts the offer and notifies the buyer of its acceptance. A counteroffer is a rejection of the original offer and submission of a new one. Once the parties agree on the terms of an offer, it goes into escrow where the buyer deposits certain funds into an escrow account.
Preparing Your Purchase Agreement
A real estate purchase agreement is a legally binding contract for the sale of real estate and includes terms and conditions such as the following:
- Identity of the parties
- Price and financing terms
- Guarantee of clear title
- Date of closing and inspection
Closing the Sale
At the close of escrow, the following events occur:
- Buyer signs the deed of trust on the property as security for the loan
- All financial and legal items are completed
- All documents are delivered
- Monies are disbursed
As the seller, you need not be present at the closing so long as all costs and documents are signed and delivered. You will typically turn over the keys to the buyer on the same day as the closing provided the deed has been recorded.
Speak with a Lawyer
This article is only an introduction to the complex field of residential real estate. Each state has its own laws and regulations so consulting with a Louisiana real estate attorney before you begin to sell your home is essential.