November Lunch & Learn with VATC -- Mark Your Webinar Calendar!

DATE: Tuesday, November 10th
TIME:  12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Join Andy Mikell and Liz Smith for another VATC virtual lunch as they go through all the detailed nuances of the Notary Act. The presentation will be an in-depth review of notary authority and requirements, and include examples of what can go wrong. Please join us! If you watch the whole program and don’t check your email (not even once), you’re entitled to 0.5 hours of CLE!
Save the Date: VATC Lunch & Learn
December 8th
12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.
2020/21 Town Clerk Directory & 2020 Title Standards

The hard work of compiling updated town information has ended, and the new Town Clerk Directory is back from the printer. We will be making the rounds to deliver them to your office in the coming weeks. As always, the latest TCD information can be found on our website.

The Title Standards Committee recently completed it biennial review of the Vermont Title Standards. The 2020 Standards are posted on our website and hard copies will soon be delivered to member offices. Click here for a summary of changes.
Practice Tips
Identifying Fraud in Real Estate Transactions

Trust Your Instincts

Maintaining a list of red flags is one way to help honest practitioners and service providers avoid unwitting participation in a fraud. While memorizing long lists of red flags is impractical, reading and comparing such lists from time to time can help you develop fraud recognition instincts. One list published on the internet by Fannie Mae is at

For recognizing a possible fraud, however, nothing beats the smell test, which is another way of saying: trust your instincts.

Your instincts may tell you that something isn’t right when one or more of the following are present:

Excessive Secrecy. 
There are atypical disruptions or obstacles to information flow resulting in a lack of transparency. For example,
  • A necessary party communicates only by proxy.
  • There is an inadequately explained use of a POA.

Sequence Oddities.
The usual sequence of a transaction is not followed, in surprising ways. For example,
  • A prospective client brings an already completed title search to the first meeting asking you to represent him.
  • The contract seller is not the record owner. You are asked to record a deed that has been held off record.

Value Disparities.
The numbers just look unusual. For example,
  • Purchase price is significantly higher or lower than the market or property history suggests is reasonable.
  • Commissions or fees are not customary.

Compressed Timelines.
  • Unreasonable demands to rush the closing. 
  • Many frauds rely in part on allowing less time for anyone to catch on.

There are legitimate reasons that many of these elements might occur. But a cluster of them is usually a problem. Ask questions if any of these red flags occur. CATIC underwriting attorneys are always happy to assist you. 
Monthly Marketable Title Mayhem

With apologies, due to apparent lack of interest (based on the small number of "players") we are ending MTM.

Though there will be no questions for November, we will post the answers to the October quiz.

Congratulations to our October winners (5 for 5):
Kevin Shortell (Law Office of Fred Peet)
David Sunshine
Mystery winner who asked to remain anonymous
Lau's Corner & Title Tips

PrepExpress Online® Users: **Reminder**

When filing 1099-S Proceeds from Real Estate Transactions forms with the IRS, be sure to complete "official forms or forms that meet the specifications for substitute forms." As many of you are probably aware, the CATIC software contains a Solicitation/Substitute Form 1099-S. This form has not been approved by the IRS and therefore should not be used for filing purposes.

Staff Turnover?

Please email Katie if you have experienced changes or staff turnover in your office. We like to keep our email list up to date - it is the nice list, we promise!