About Matt Vitart

Matt Vitart practices in the areas of real property and business transactions. H

    Matthew Vitart will be presenting at a continuing education seminar titled “Real Estate Closings from Start to Finish” on February 1, 2019, at the Holiday Inn in Pearl, Mississippi. The seminar is hosted by the National Business Institute and is approved by the Mississippi Real Estate Commission and the Mississippi Bar. Attending realtors and lawyers will earn 6 hours of continuing education credit. Details can be online by clicking here.

    Program Description

    Handle Real Estate Closings with Skill and Efficiency

    Real estate closings are a maze of confusion that require a skilled attorney to successfully navigate. Ensuring proper timing of seemingly disparate elements is critical to ensure closings remain on track and don’t lead to further issues down the road. This course will provide you with the information you need to confidently orchestrate the real estate closing process from start to finish. You will obtain essential information on analyzing key transaction documents, resolving potentially devastating title defects, handling closing funds with efficiency and more. Take the confusion out of the real estate closing process – register today!

    • Confidently navigate the in’s and out’s of the real estate closing process.
    • Review sale agreements and coordinate key transaction elements before the closing date.
    • Analyze title commitments for issues that will lead to trouble down the road.
    • Confidently resolve critical last-minute closing issues that have the potential to derail the whole transaction.
    • Tie up any loose ends that may unravel after the closing, including post-closing title issues.
    • Avoid critical liability pitfalls that lurk in the real estate closing process.

    Who Should Attend

    This basic-to-intermediate level seminar provides an overview of the real estate closing process for:

    • Attorneys
    • In-House Counsel
    • Real Estate Professionals
    • Title Insurance Professionals
    • Settlement Agents
    • Lenders
    • Paralegals

    Course Content

    1. The Closing Process Explained: A Practical Refresher
    2. Preceding the Closing Date
    3. Reviewing the Title Commitment: What to Watch out for
    4. Proper Closing Procedures
    5. Post-Closing Procedures: Tying up Loose Ends
    6. Ethical Considerations

    In general, there are two potential basis that may support a real estate broker’s claim for a commission on a transaction: 1) pursuant to a contract (such as a listing agreement), or 2) acting as the “procuring cause” of the transaction. These grounds are not mutually exclusive; they may overlap or be intertwined in a particular case. This post discusses the second basis – procuring cause.

    Procuring Cause may sound like a simple concept, and in some ways it is. The basic question is whether the real estate agent did anything that significantly contributed and led to the successful closing of the transaction. In most deals, it is rather clear which brokers were the procuring cause of the sale. But, in some cases it can be a very complicated analysis and contentious issue, especially when there are multiple causes of a transaction. For example, the timing of the offer and acceptance of a purchase contract (or multiple counter-offers or multiple offers from multiple parties), the involvement of multiple brokers, a party switching brokers, or independent conduct and negotiations by the seller or prospective buyers may make it difficult to determine whether or not a broker was the procuring case of the sale.

    The Mississippi courts have explained:

    • In general terms, precedent established by case law in this state entitles a real estate agent to recover a commission on a sale if the agent was the procuring cause of the sale of the subject property. Whether a broker may be considered the procuring cause of a sale depends upon the particular facts and circumstances of each case. . .

    Sudeen v. Castleberry, 794 So. 2d 237, 245 (Miss. 2001).

    • Before a broker is entitled to a commission, he must call the purchaser’s attention to the property and begin negotiations that lead to a sale. Absent contract to the contrary, the rule is settled that the broker’s efforts need not be the sole cause of the sale, merely a predominant one. Pursuant to an implied brokerage agreement, the broker must with diligence and fidelity provide substantial services to his principal – be he seller or buyer – which services become a substantial causal predicate to a consummated sale.

    Leary v. Stockman, 937 So. 2d 964, 971 (Miss. Ct. App. 2006).

    There is no single factor that determines procuring cause. Rather, it is evaluated by the totality of the circumstances in a given case. The Central Mississippi Realtor’s Association has issued a quick-reference that provides hypotheticals illustrating common procuring cause issues. The paper can be accessed by clicking here.

    Matt Vitart


    Have you ever wondered why the document used to convey title to real estate is called a “deed”? The word’s meaning derives from what I consider to be one of the coolest legal ceremonies in our tradition – the “Turf & Twig Ceremony” earlier known as “Livery of the Seisin”. In that ceremony, which dates back to medieval Europe but was also used in Colonial America, the buyer and seller accompanied by witnesses would meet at the property. The seller would dig up a clump of turf and then break a twig off a nearby tree and stick it in the turf.  The buyer would deposit the purchase money in the hole left by the excavated turf. The seller would then tickle the buyer’s hand with the twig (for blind buyer’s) and pass the turf and twig to the buyer while stating his intent to convey the property.  This was the “deed” that conveyed the property.  I once considered implementing this into my real estate closings, but abandoned the idea after negative feedback from realtors.

    Click below to watch a reenactment of the ceremony:

    Matthew Vitart