Real estate purchase agreements the “road map” to closing. They are legally binding contracts that determine the rules that govern the transaction. Buyers and sellers are well advised to understand what is in them before they sign, because it is often too late to fix a problem later.
Some of the terms in a purchase agreement concern things that the parties are probably thinking about at the time they sign the document like the price, the financing and the down payment. Other terms concern things that may not be on the radar at the time of the offer and acceptance. They concern the as yet unknown outcomes of property inspections, possible defects in the title, warranty issues or what happens upon a default.
Even seemingly innocuous verbiage in the agreement as “the property will be sold subject to title and zoning restrictions and servitudes of record” is significant. A purchaser may assume he or she is getting more than what is actually being contracted for.
An attorney can draft a custom purchase contract to meet the special needs of his client. He can explain the terms of the “standard” Louisiana Residential Agreement to Buy or Sell. Note: even the standard agreement has options concerning appraisal and warranty and has blank lines for “Additional Terms and Conditions” that can be adapted.
In the New Orleans market most sales involve real estate brokers and agents. Agents with disclosure to and the consent of the parties can represent both the seller and the buyer, so called “Dual Agency.” In my view this is not a good idea because they must treat each party equally and cannot give confidential advice. In my view, with For Sale By Owners and Bonds for Deed the role of an independent lawyer is essential because there is no third party with a stake in the deal.
To be fully effective seek the advice of legal counsel early in the process of buying a home or business.