COVID-19 Information for Real Estate Transactions

Can real estate closings occur without meeting in-person?

Yes.  To allow your closing to proceed without attending in-person, we will provide a complimentary Power of Attorney. The Power of Attorney will authorize a member of our office to sign documents on your behalf. You will not need to attend the closing unless required by your lender. We will provide copies of closing documents to be signed and will answer any questions you have by phone or email prior to completing the transaction. The Power of Attorney will be prepared and sent to you near the time your closing is scheduled. You will need to sign it before a Notary and scan or mail a copy to us prior to the closing date.

Can title searches still be completed?

Yes.  Most clerks are now allowing limited in-person access to the land records for title searches. Some clerks have online land records or are remotely assisting attorneys with title searches by email. The title search process is taking longer but we are generally able to complete them.  We are very grateful for the assistance being provided by town and city clerks during this time.

Can real estate closing documents be signed online in Vermont?

No.  Mortgages, deeds and other documents are required to be wet ink signed with only original documents recorded in the land records.

Can a scanned or faxed Power of Attorney be used as an original?

Yes.  There is a special exception in the statute which allows for a copy of a POA to be used as an original.

With fire safety inspections on hold, can closings for condominiums and multi-family properties proceed?

It depends on the willingness of the buyer, seller and lender.  A buyer and lender could choose to waive proof of Fire Safety compliance after consulting with an attorney regarding the risks.  A buyer could negotiate with a seller to agree (subject to lender approval) to resolve Fire Safety issues when inspections resume after the closing.  An escrow might be needed.  If no agreement can be reached, the transaction will need to be postponed until Fire Safety inspections resume.