Thibodeaux Reed Realty, Guidance Real-Estate
Main Line (337)658-0181 New Orleans 504-229-3460

Stupid Questions, Make You a Smart Buyer!

General Home Buying

Answers provided by Rosalind Thibodeaux, Louisiana Licensed Real Estate Broker
Q.  How do I know where to start?
   A.  Start with your lender, a budget is the first part of any purchase. Paying cash? First check with your finical advisor before making a large cash purchase. Second, decide on a budget for your purchase.
Q.  I know how I will pay but have no idea what I want?
   A.  Often buyers don't realize that they know what they want. Start by taking a quick quiz, then looking at only one or two homes that fit the description from your quiz, (a link to the  quiz may be found at below) usually the two actions combined help to trigger your thought processes and give you a full picture of what you really want/need and can afford. 
Q.  Do I have to be pre-approved for a loan before viewing a home?
   A.  No, however, most real estate agents would prefer that you have a pre-approval. Being pre-approved will help narrow the search and eliminate wasted time. Though there is no "true requirement" many agents may choose not to work with you until you are approved.
Q.  I just want "to see" this house, I don't want to call the bank I might not like it, can I
    see it?
   A.  You may find an agent who is willing to show you the home, however this is not the correct process. If you are considering a purchase then you need to call your lender, if you are unwilling to do this, then consider taking advantage of virtual tours and open houses. Real-estate agents do not get paid for their time and should not be expected to waist it, if you are serious and ready that's when you call an agent.
Q.  I want to buy a house, can I just call the person on the sign?
   A.  Yes but why would you do that? The "person on the sign" is the listing agent and hired by the seller. Their primary job is to act in the seller's best interest. You should have your own agent, who cares about your interest and takes the time to learn what you like.  Having someone watch out for you is a FREE service and will provide you with the best advice. 
Q. Do I have to have property inspected?
   A.  No, inspections are NOT required and you may choose to waive them, however inspections are the best way to find out all you can about the home and are highly recommended. If cost is a concern keep in mind that you or a friend may conduct the inspections and this is only done AFTER an offer has been accepted. 

Legal Questions

Q. What does the attorney do?

   A.  Our job is to ensure title is “good” and close the transaction. When a file arrives in our office, we order title work. Meaning, we run an abstract on the property by sending an abstractor to the courthouse where the property is located to search the mortgage and conveyance records.  Our abstractor pulls all documents related to the property and brings them back to us for review.  Once the abstract comes back, the attorney reviews the abstract and renders an opinion as to whether the title is good.  Specifically, we are looking to make sure that all transfers of the property were done correctly and make sure there aren’t any non-cancelled liens or judgments affecting the property, the sellers, or the buyers.  If title is good, then all parties come to our office to sign closing documents, including the Cash Sale (or “Title”), Settlement Statement, and other lender-related documents if a lender is involved.  

Q. What is title insurance?

   A.  Title insurance is a unique form of insurance. It provides coverage for future claims or future losses due to title defects which are created by some past event (i.e., event prior to the acquisition of the property.) These risks are far less obvious than those protected against by other forms of insurance, such as automobile insurance, but can be just as devastating.

Q.  What does it cost me?

   A.  Title insurance rates are regulated by the state of Louisiana. So, individual title companies cannot choose what they will charge for title insurance. It is the same across the board. The policy premiums are based upon the sales price (for owner’s title insurance) and the loan amount (for lender’s title insurance). It is a one-time premium, so unlike other forms of insurance where you pay a monthly or a yearly premium, you pay the premium at the closing and never again.

Q. Who has to pay for title insurance?

   A. Typically, the buyer is responsible for the cost of both the owner’s policy of title insurance and the lender’s policy. In some transactions, it is agreed to in advance that the seller will pay for the title insurance, but as a general rule, the cost of title insurance is paid by the buyer.
Q.  What does it mean to have good title?
   A.  “Good title” means marketable title that is not suggestive of litigation. Meaning, there are no obvious issues in the chain of title that would require a lawsuit to resolve. Unfortunately, there is no way to guarantee to anyone that the title is good. Even though the attorney does a thorough review of the records to determine whether the title to a property is clean, there is always the chance that something that was not revealed in a search of the public records could cause the title to become unmarketable. That is one of the many reasons title insurance is so vital.
Q.  What do the sellers have to disclose to me when I buy?
   A.  Sellers are required by law to disclose any known defects in the property.  Additionally, the Louisiana Real Estate Commission’s property disclosure form has a list of additional items that must be disclosed by Sellers to buyers.  While it is not mandatory that the Real Estate Commission’s form be used, whatever form the seller uses must contain the minimum elements required by the commission.

   A.  Closing Costs are fees and charges which are paid by purchasers and sellers at the closing. Purchasers can typically expect to pay fees associated with obtaining financing for the purchase, and which fees are determined by each individual lender, and which will include appraisal costs, among others. Purchasers can also expect to pay fees and costs associates with the title. A purchaser may pay a closing fee which would cover the title company’s processing of the file, including the accumulation of pertinent information, the preparation of title closing documents, and for services provided by the title company such as copy costs and title examinations. Additionally, title closing costs will include fees for obtaining an abstract of title, for recordation of documents with the appropriate Clerks of Court, for transferring documents to lenders, and for owner’s and lender’s title insurance premiums.

Sellers closing costs will include fees charged for the processing of the seller’s part of the transaction, for paying off any mortgages, for cancelling any mortgages recorded with the Clerks of Court, and for long time monitoring of cancellations handled by lenders.

Q.  Does The Seller Have to Pay for any closing cost to close?

   A.  Sellers are not automatically obligated to pay for any portion of the purchaser’s costs for closing the transaction. However, in Louisiana, sellers are typically responsible for paying any real estate commissions, and for their respective prorated property taxes. During the negotiation of the contract to purchase and sell the real property, sellers may agree to bear some of the purchasers’ costs for closing. In those cases, sellers will pay for some of the purchasers’ closing costs. Answers provided by, Andrus and Boudreaux Mitchell Landry Attorney at Law  


Insurance Questions

 Courtesy of Bryan Couvillion, Shelter Insurance
Q.   If a house is in a flood zone, does that always mean my insurance will be high? 
   A. No.  You would have to purchase a separate flood policy and the price of that is determined by the elevation of the lowest floor compared to the base flood level of the area.  

Q.  What type of things determine a home owners rate?

   A.   Year built, whether it is a Brick or Frame home, type of roof, parish home is in, in or out of the city, amount of coverage on the home and deductible.

Q.  Are there features I can look for in a home to reduce my rates? 

   A.  Alarm systems do help some.  Also, some companies give credits for older homes that have a New roof, New AC, been re-plumed or re-wired.
Q.  How do I know if a house is in a flood zone?
   A.  Check with, New, lsuag/ or contact your insurance agent 
Q.  How often do flood rates go up?
 A.  Every one to two years, has been the historic time period, you may be able to lock your rate in  
Q.  When should I get Insurance?
   A.  Insurance needs to be bounded several days prior to closing  

Thibodeaux Reed Realty LLC
• New Orleans , LA 70113
Main Line (337)658-0181 • New Orleans 504-229-3460

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