In their contribution to the New England MCLE for real estate transactions in Vermont, DRM attorneys Scott Jaunich and Tim Sampson review title examinations and title issues. Generally, the chapter covers marketable title, conveyancing requirements, recording requirements, and the logistics of title searches. Title examinations in Vermont can prove difficult to navigate, so Jaunich and Sampson offer the following takeaways:
- Clearly define the scope of the engagement in light of the client’s needs, circumstances and nature.
- Draft clear contractual provisions for the title examination that ensure both parties’ need for certainty. The buyer needs to know what it is buying well before closing, and the seller wants to be done with the property beyond. Clear contracts can prevent a project from creating case law.
- Understand the purpose and scope of the title examination, in light of the scope of representation and the contractual relationship between the parties. Many “rabbit holes” await those who start searching without proper context. In the authors’ experience, clients don’t pay for time spent in the “rabbit holes”.
- Understand the overlap between matters of title and permitting matters in Vermont. This overlap results in “title” searches that must consider matters that are “off record” someplace else or even absent from the record entirely.
- When in doubt, ask questions and follow up.