The end is in sight! Here we are at the final section of the Louisiana Property Disclosure form that all sellers are required to provide.
In case you missed them, here are the other parts in this series:
Louisiana Property Disclosures Part 4 – Plumbing, Water, Gas and Sewerage
Louisiana Property Disclosures Part 5 – Do You Have Power?
A quick recap about disclosures:
Home sellers in Louisiana (including for sale by owners) are required to provide a property disclosure prior to a potential buyer making an offer to purchase. This mandate applies not only to sales, but also to exchanges, bond for deeds and lease purchase options.
If the property disclosure is supplied to the purchaser after an offer is received, the purchaser can terminate the purchase agreement without penalty up to 72 hours after receipt. This means that no matter what terms are written in the sales contract, the purchaser can demand the return of their deposit and cancellation of the purchase agreement if the disclosures are not signed at the time an offer is submitted
Our final section of disclosures is a catch all of questions about your home – the Miscellaneous section. The fact that they are in the miscellaneous section does not mean that these questions are not just as important as all of the others on the disclosures!
Has there ever been property damage to the land or improvements? This is a very broad question that needs to be specifically answered. Any prior damages to the property need to be disclosed. For example, in my own home, I had a plumbing backup that caused water damage to the flooring in 2 rooms. After the plumbing repairs were done, the flooring was replaced. If I ever sell my home, I will need to disclose this, even though it happened over 5 years ago. Any problems that led to an insurance claim should absolutely be disclosed – insurance companies have a database of claims relating to a property!
If yes, were all damages repaired? In the comments section, explain how the damages were repaired. In my example it would be damaged flooring removed, slab cleaned and disinfected and new flooring installed.
What is the zoning of the property? This is particularly important when selling vacant land, since zoning restrictions may prevent a buyer from using the property in a manner they plan to.
Has it ever been zoned for commercial/industrial use or is it located in a historical district? It is important to note if a home is located in a historical district, since there are strict regulations regarding exterior changes to those properties. Again, a purchaser needs to be aware of any limitations on their use of or ability to alter the property.
Does the property and its present usage conflict with zoning, building or safety restrictions? If you own a property that has been granted a special zoning status, this needs to be disclosed, since that status may not be transferable to a new owner.
Are there any current or pending assessments, dues, liens, taxes owing on the property? If so, you should know that the title company will require these to be paid prior to or at the act of sale in order to provide a clear title to the new owner.
Is membership in an HOA, COA or POA required as a result of owning this property? If yes, copies of the appropriate association documents should also be included with the disclosure. Potential purchasers need to review these documents to fully understand any restrictions that exist when owning the property.
Are any HOA, COA or POA dues required? Some associations have voluntary but not mandatory dues. If dues are mandatory, this must also be disclosed.
If yes, what is the amount? The current amount of annual or monthly dues.
Are there any pending special assessments? If you know of any pending special assessments, this must also be disclosed. For example, a HOA may have approved a special assessment to be charged to home owners for upgrades to community amenities that has not been assessed yet. Buyers need to know if there will be any additional costs involved with owning the property.
If yes, what is the amount? The exact amount of the pending assessment must be disclosed.
Were any additions or alterations made to the property? Any changes made to the original structure should be disclosed. For example, a sun room that was enclosed to make a den or an attached garage that was converted to additional living area are alterations that need to be disclosed.
If yes, were the necessary permits and inspections obtained? Often in the New Orleans area, sellers do not know if the permits and inspections were obtained by previous owners for alterations or additions to the property. Buyers should not be alarmed by an answer of NK to this question, but sellers should be aware that if they have made changes without permits and inspections, this needs to be disclosed to avoid future problems.
Is there a homestead exemption in effect? This question is especially important in Orleans Parish, where property taxes are paid in advance. At the act of sale, property taxes are pro-rated between the buyer and the seller – if there is no homestead exemption in effect, this will mean a higher rate of taxes will be paid by the purchaser at closing.
Note to buyers: Be sure to file your homestead exemption as soon as possible after your sale is recorded! This exemption saves you approximately $900 per year in property taxes, but can only be used for your primary residence.
Is there high speed internet access available to the property? If there is cable TV service available to the area, then there is high speed internet access as well, even if you don’t currently have this service.
Is there any pending litigation regarding the property? Any pending lawsuits must be disclosed, including if the home is currently in the process of foreclosure, even if it has not been foreclosed on yet.
Does the property or any of its structures contain any of the following? Here is your laundry list of potential hazards that must be disclosed to a buyer. If any of them exist, they must be fully outlined in the explanations section.
This brings us to the end of this series about property disclosures in Louisiana. I hope that I have impressed upon you how CRITICAL it is to truthfully tell potential buyers everything you know about your home! If you need assistance with understanding how Louisiana property disclosure laws apply to you when selling your West Bank home, feel free to contact Lisa Heindel, REALTOR®. I’ll be happy to help!