Lagniappe Living in Lake Charles, Louisiana: What is an Abstract and Why Do I Need One?

What is an Abstract and Why Do I Need One?


Lake Charles Real Estate

I am frequently asked  questions about Abstracts.  An experienced home buyer recently asked me" What is the approximate cost of of Abstract update?"

How Much is Abstract Cost








Because most First Time Home Buyers are not familiar with Abstracts I am going to answer these Abstract points:


  • What is an Abstract?
  • Why Do I need an Abstract?
  • What is the approx. cost of abstract update?

Lake Charles, LA Real Estate Attorneys usually do not ask for an Abstract anymore to examine Title.  With today's technology everything can be found online to review.  If a Seller has an Abstract in their possession the Buyer's agent can ask to have it delivered to the Title Company ahead of time and the Attorney can review the Abstract itself before researching the property history online.  Abstracts can be a time saver.  The Abstract  should  be conveyed to the new Buyer at closing.

If you don't know what an Abstract is, it is that thick bound document you probably have stuck in a drawer, filing cabinet or in your bank deposit box.  It is really Abstract of Title to the Property....Abstract for short.  Some properties will not have an abstract, especially bank owned properties.  Homeowners do not always posses the original Abstract.

The Abstract is not required to close on a property but it is nice to have.  If there is no Abstract the Real Estate Attorney/Title Company  will review the history online via courthouse records.  The Real Estate Attorney is going to search the property in order to make sure there are no issues with Title.  This is referred to as the "title search".  During the course of review the Real Estate Attorney will  be able to see the chain of ownership to make sure the property can convey to the new owner cleanly with a free and clear title (no tax liens, successions, or other issues)

You can find alot of helpful information in an Abstract  which is the condensed history of the property containing:

  • Original land information
  • Plat Map
  • Lot & Block Diagram
  • Subdivision Restrictions
  • History of the Property
  • Recorded Deed
  • Recorded Mortgage
  • Legal Actions/Suits Filed

The Louisiana Purchase Contract does not have any language referencing the updating of the Abstract. (it is not required by either party) If a Buyer chooses to include this as a condition of purchase the REALTOR will have to add this language in the write-in section provided within the contract.  A Seller will usually opt to choose paying for Title Search vs. Paying to Update an Abstract.  A conservative estimate of the cost of a Title Search is $250 more/less vs. estimate of Abstract Update of $500 more/less.

Sometimes Buyer will choose to have an Abstract updated at their own cost.  If there is no Abstract Buyer may also choose to have a new Abstract built.  This means binding all of the document history of the property (this is why it is more costly).

If you are a first time home buyer or have other real estate questions you would like answered, I am here to help  answer your questions in a concise easy to understand manner.  Subscribe to my Blog "Lagniappe Living in Lake Charles"  for up to date answers to the questions you may have wondered about! Or just pick up the phone and call me MARILYN BOUDREAUX 337-499-9592




For more information on Lake Charles Real Estate, visit my website.  You can search homes for sale in Lake Charles, Louisiana,  and view up to date information on Lake Charles Subdivisions, Neighborhoods

Find Lake Charles Realtor Marilyn Boudreaux Century 21 Mike D. Bono & Co.'s on Google+

If you are planning a move to or from the Lake Charles, LA area, I can help!   I am a full time Realtor licensed by the Louisiana Real Estate Commission and am affiliated with:

Century 21 Mike D. Bono & Co.'s

4410 Nelson Road, Lake Charles, LA, 70605 USA

337-478-1578 or 337-499-9592

CENTURY 21® is a registered trademark owned by Century 21 Real Estate LLC. An Equal Opportunity Company. Equal housing Opportunity. Each office is independently owned and operated.  The information contained in this blog is believed to be reliable and while every effort is made to assure that the information is as accurate as possible, the author of this blog, and its comments are not warranted or implied representation of it's accuracy,  All information is copywritten and the property of the Author, Marilyn Boudreaux.  


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Comment balloon 13 commentsMarilyn Boudreaux • January 14 2011 12:06AM


Very interesting, it is amazing the differences in closing techniques across the country.  In Massachusetts an attorney will run a title to ensure they can write title insurance on the property.

Posted by MaryBeth Mills Muldowney, Massachusetts Broker Owner (TradeWinds Realty Group LLC) over 9 years ago

Marilyn, why do they give it such a Abstract Name, especially when you explain it so simply and clearly.

Posted by Ellen Caruso (Daniel Gale Sotheby's International Realty) over 9 years ago

Good morning Mariyln,

Great question and answer! Your presentation is concise and easy to understand..great job!

Posted by Dorie Dillard CRS GRI ABR, Serving Buyers & Sellers in NW Austin Real Estate (Coldwell Banker United Realtors® ~ 512.750.6899) over 9 years ago

Good tutorial Marilyn.  How is the weather there?  We have been super cold.  Ready for our southern weather again.

Posted by Paula McDonald, Ph.D., Granbury, TX 936-203-0279 (Beam & Branch Realty) over 9 years ago


Great explanation on the abstract of title. 

Posted by Scott Hayes, Realty Austin, Broker Associate ((512) 786-8300) over 9 years ago

Marilyn I love this new series of blog posts you are doing. It shows you as the go to REALTOR(R) in the Lake Charles area.

Posted by David Beckham, Your Louisiana Real Estate Connection (Realty Executives Bayou Properties) over 9 years ago

It is interesting to read how different title policies in different states. Thanks for sharing.

Posted by Inna Ivchenko, Realtor® • Green • GRI • HAFA • PSC Calabasas CA (Barcode Properties) over 3 years ago

Thank you very much the information, i am doing an HARP with the Bank who is the Curent Lender to get a fixed interest rate... They are charging for both, Abtract and title search.????

Posted by Mary almost 3 years ago

I live in Oklahoma and we are buying a house with cash. What can I expect to pay at closing besides a title search title insurance, prorated property taxes?

Posted by Norma T 11 months ago

Norma you may also incur a filing fee to record your deed as well as any HOA fees for the neighborhood which could be prorated , i an agent in Louisiana

Posted by Marilyn Boudreaux 11 months ago

We r in the process of selling our house there can we do it without an abstract but use the title?

Posted by Rosemary boehlert 6 months ago

Rosemary the attorney reviewing title will make sure it is clear, not everyone has an abstract or requests one

Posted by Marilyn Boudreaux, Lake Charles LA Century 21 Realtor (Marilyn Boudreaux, Century 21 Bono Realty) 6 months ago

Grate article, We at Addhunters shifted this service to a level much higher than the broker concept. you can see more details like this article Property for sale

Posted by add hunters 4 months ago