In Louisiana, real estate is voluntarily transferred by contract between the seller and the buyer before a notary and two witnesses. Sales, both cash sales and credit sales (sales with a mortgage), are the most common transfers. Other types of voluntary transfers are donations, exchanges, the dation en paiement and the bond for deed. The seller can only transfer the interest that is actually owned, therefore it is vital that the purchaser have the title researched or insured to establish what the purchaser is acquiring. Liens, faulty or unopened successions, un-cancelled mortgages and other charges can cloud a title.
The purchase agreement is the road map to the sale. The savvy purchaser, or seller, will read and understand what is being agreed to when there is an offer and acceptance. Otherwise, it may be too late to fix an onerous contactual provision the formally enthusiastic party failed to recognize was there.
In cash sales, the parties have the greatest freedom to contract. The can do it with or without an agent and sell with or without a warranty. In credit sales where a mortgage company is putting in its own funds, other parties come into the deal. The mortgage company hires an appraiser, usually orders title insurance to cover its interest based on an abstractor’s research and may hire a surveyor. The mortgage company underwriter has to insure that all its requests for documents are complied with and come from authoritative sources.