LET US CLOSE YOUR DEAL
For most families, buying a home will be their biggest investment. When coupled with complex legal documents, property inspections, and title searches, you need to ensure you are in the right hands of a title company you can trust. Trust Broussard Dove. We have extensive experience and knowledge closing deals. Knowing the process is one thing. Being able to walk a buyer through it and adequately and timely respond to questions and concerns is an art. Let Broussard Dove conduct your closing from start to finish giving you the time and attention you deserve as you embark on what could be your biggest asset and investment.
We are American Land & Title Association Best Practices Certified. This distinguished certification can only be obtained by implementing and upholding rigorous standards for title companies through written polices and procedures and proper work ethics. We are also title insurance agents for Fidelity National Title Insurance Company; a leading underwriter of title insurance polices across the United States.
Louisiana Residential Agreement to Buy or Sell
The first step to buying a home is to view the property and make an offer to purchase the home for a certain purchase price. The seller can accept the offer or counter. Once the buyer and seller reach an agreement, they typically sign a Louisiana Residential Agreement to Buy or Sell (the “Purchase Agreement”). In addition to the purchase price, deposit amount, and closing date, the Purchase Agreement spells out obligations of the buyer and seller over the course of the next couple of months until the closing. Typically the buyer will have 7 to 10 days to begin the loan approval process if the sale is financed and 15 to 30 days for an inspection and due diligence period. The seller will have to cure any deficiencies to make the title merchantable and allow access to the home for inspections. In most cases, the default provisions in the event of default by the seller will allow for: a) termination of the agreement; 2) specific performance; 3) termination of the agreement and an amount equal to 10% of the purchase price as stipulated damages. In the event of a default by the buyer, the seller has the option typically to declare the agreement null and void or to demand and sue for the following: a) termination of the agreement; 2) specific performance; 3) termination of the agreement and an amount equal to 10% of the purchase price as stipulated damages.
Property Disclosure Document
Pursuant to La. R.S. § 9:3196, et seq., a seller of residential property must furnish to a potential buyer a Property Disclosure Document (“PDD”). The PDD will contain a list of items the seller is required to answer yes or no knowledge. For example, the PDD asks if the home has ever had termites or if there are any known defects in the roof, interior walls, windows, foundation, etc. A potential buyer should take great care in thoroughly going over the answers the seller provides in the PDD and request further information and explanation on any issues the buyer believes would affect the structure or value of the home. The failure of the buyer to conduct further investigations on issues presented by the seller could prove fatal and bar the buyer from recovering money from the seller in the event defects are later discovered after the closing. It is important to note a PDD is not considered a warranty by the seller and does not allow the buyer to forego a proper diligent inspection of the home. However, a seller could be held liable for an error, inaccuracy, or omission of any information required to be delivered to the buyer if the error, inaccuracy, or omission was a willful misrepresentation.
Act of Cash Sale
Most legal methods of transferring ownership of a home from a seller to a buyer is in the form of an Act of Cash Sale. Among other things, the Act of Cash Sale list the parties, property legal description, purchase price, and whether there is a waiver of warranties. Most sellers demand the buyer purchase the home “AS IS” without any warranties. A typical “AS IS” clause will state the buyer acknowledges and recognizes the home is being in an “as is” condition and the buyer waives, relieves, and releases the seller from any claims or causes of action for redhibition pursuant to La. C.C. art. 2520, et seq. or for a reduction in the purchase price pursuant to La. C.C. art. 2541, et seq. In addition, the seller normally expects the buyer to acknowledge the sale is made without any warranty of fitness for ordinary or particular use pursuant to La. C.C. art. 2524. To be valid in Louisiana, an Act of Cash Sale must be signed by the seller, buyer, and two witnesses in front of a notary public.
Defect Discovered After the Sale
Unfortunately there will be times after the sale when a buyer discovers defects in the home that were previously unknown. The legal remedies available to buyer will depend heavily on the closing documents including the Property Disclosure Document and the Act of Cash Sale. If the seller knew of a defect, i.e. mold on the interior ceiling and walls due to an ongoing roof leak that the seller covered with numerous coats of paint, and failed to disclose this defect to the buyer in the Property Disclosure Document, the seller may be liable to the buyer for damages even though the buyer purchased the home in an “as is” condition. Broussard Dove can assist sellers and buyers in sale disputes. Give us a call today to discuss your legal options!
Why Choose Broussard Dove?
Approved and Experienced
Broussard Dove has been the closing firm for numerous real estate agents, banks, and lenders throughout Louisiana. The majority of our closings come from repeat business or referrals. We take pride in our work and keeping our clients up to date on their closing. Allow us to assist you to ensure your closing is a smooth and easy process.