Verbal Offers in New Orleans Real Estate
Recently, we ran into a home buyer that didn’t want to put his offer in writing. Instead, he wanted to do all of the negotiations verbally before agreeing to sign a purchase agreement.
It wasn’t that he was not a viable buyer, just that he was old school in how he wanted to handle the negotiations. In the end, it all worked out.
But, there are drawbacks to handling offers verbally
Louisiana law requires all real estate contracts to be in writing
Whether you are buying or selling, Louisiana civil code says this about real estate contracts:
“A contract to sell must set forth the thing and the price, and meet the formal requirements of the sale it contemplates.” La. C.C. art. 2623.
If your contract doesn’t meet this criteria, it’s not enforceable, meaning that neither the buyer nor the seller is obliged to meet the terms.
Buyer risk: If another buyer submits an offer in writing, you might be out of luck
While negotiating verbally with a seller or their agent might seem to be the path of least resistance in trying to come to an agreement, if someone else slides in with a written offer, the seller has no obligation to continue to negotiate or honor a verbal agreement.
Seller risk: If a buyer changes their mind, you have no recourse
We’ve seen home owners get all excited about someone who said they wanted to purchase their home, only to have them disappear when it’s time to put pen to paper.
Our advice: Get it in writing, every single time
Whether it’s an initial offer or a counter offer, don’t leave yourself open to the risks. Get it in writing.