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   Michigan REALTOR E-News



2016: The Year of REengagement

By Gary J. Reggish, 2016 Michigan Realtors® President

Good people do what is expected of them…Great people do what is expected of them…and then some! Great agents meet their client’s needs, and then some. Great brokers meet their agent’s expectations, and then some. Great associations serve their members to the fullest of their abilities…and then some!

“… And Then Some” is the theme for 2016 as presented by the President of the National Association of Realtors®, Tom Salomone. As I view our association through the filter of “… And Then Some,” I stand in awe of the great work completed by our immediate Past President, Gene Szpienski, the Leadership Team of the Michigan Realtors®, our CEO Rob Campau and the entire Michigan Realtors® staff. My hat is off to the Michigan Realtors® for a job well done! 

Our focus for 2016 will be to continue the good work of 2015…And Then Some! In order to build on our successes and make our association better in 2016, we will need to continue to focus on every aspect of what makes us great and stretch those facets a bit more, while focusing on our members, clients and private property owners. It is critical that you, as a member, REengage. 2016 will be the year of REengagement (Real Estate-engagement). I look forward to going the extra mile…and then some! I am honored to be your President.

To read the full President’s Report, watch for your January issue of Michigan Realtor® Magazine in the mail this week.


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RPAC Recognition Luncheon Details

The Michigan Realtors® would like to thank all of the local associations who made the final push for RPAC investors at the end of 2015. With a state RPAC goal of $750,000, Realtor® members met and exceeded it with a final total of over $800,000! In addition, many local associations met and/or exceeded their local RPAC goal! Congratulations to all the local associations who put forth such an amazing effort! 

These grand RPAC accomplishments will be recognized at Achieve in Dearborn. The RPAC Recognition Luncheon and awards ceremony is scheduled for Thursday, January 21st at noon. The luncheon is free for Achieve attendees and $35 for those who would like to attend the luncheon only. Click here to register for the Achieve conference or for the luncheon only. Don’t miss this chance to mingle with the best of the best in Michigan’s real estate!

As 2016 begins, RPAC continues to lead the charge in the protection of homeownership and private property rights for all Michigan citizens. Again, thank you for your commitment to RPAC, and we look forward to continued success this year!

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Take Note: Important Transfer Tax Changes to Begin the New Year

At the close of 2015, Governor Snyder signed into law legislation providing clarity to Michigan’s State Real Estate Transfer Tax. House Bill 4173, sponsored by Realtor®-member and Representative Dave Maturen (R-Brady Twp.) revises the State Real Estate Transfer Tax to clarify two items:

  1. The party that paid the transfer tax may request the refund if a refund is due, and
  2. Clarify that Exemption (u) applies when the SEV at the time of sale of a Principle Residence is less than or equal to the original SEV on the purchase.

The Michigan Supreme Court recently broadened the application of Exemption (u) by removing the requirement that True Cash Value be realized in a transfer. The legislation enshrines this change, offering important clarity and tax relief to distressed sellers.

In addition, this legislation gives buyers the same refund rights as sellers when it is determined that the transfer tax was paid unnecessarily by a buyer. Refund rights under the Sate Transfer Tax are available up to 4 years and 15 days from a transfer.

To better aid members in reaching out to their former and current clients that may qualify, the refund application form is found here. (Please note that the current refund form does not reflect the change in law. The State Treasury will be updating the form in the coming weeks).

The following Q&A’s are intended to illustrate exemption (u)’s applicability:
QUESTION: Some clients of mine sold their principal residence in 2013 and the SEV was lower at the time they sold it than when they purchased it. They just found out that they might be entitled to a refund of the state transfer tax they paid. They sold the house at a profit; will they still be entitled to the refund?
ANSWER: YES, to qualify for the state transfer tax refund, the SEV at the time of purchase must be higher than the SEV at the time of sale. The fact that they sold the house at a profit has no effect on their ability to get a refund.
QUESTION: Some clients of mine bought vacant land in 2011 on which they had a house constructed in 2012. They sold the house in late 2014. Will they be entitled to a state transfer tax refund if the SEV of their property at the time the house was completed was more than at the time of sale?
ANSWER: NO, since at the time of purchase, the land was vacant, they cannot claim a refund of the state transfer tax since the property was not their principal residence at the time of purchase.
Please contact Brian Westrin at or 517.372.8890 with any questions.


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Achieve – Early Registration Rates End This Friday, January 8th

Achieve is taking place in less than two weeks. Join us January 20-22 as we engage leaders and build connections in Dearborn. Check out the speaker lineup, schedule of events and other event resources on the Achieve Web site. In addition to the leadership conference schedule, we will install our newly elected Michigan Realtors® officers and board of directors at the REengage Leadership Reception on Thursday. Tickets for REengage are included in full registration or can be purchased separately.

Register Online

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Legal Lines – Question of the Month

With the help of McClelland & Anderson, we are taking the most recently asked questions from our legal hotline and putting them in E-news. We will be featuring a different question each issue.

I am representing the sellers in the sale of their house. There have been some delays and the buyer is asking for yet another extension. My sellers will only give the buyer an extension if the buyer agrees to a $2,000 non-refundable deposit. I have heard that non-refundable deposits are illegal. Is this true?        

NO. A buyer and seller can certainly agree that a deposit will be non-refundable. You will want to make certain that this is explicitly stated in the contract so that there can be no argument about the parties’ intent. 

For more Legal Q&A, visit the new Legal Resources Web site

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Featured Member Benefit: E&O Insurance

As a leader in the insurance industry for nearly 60 years and a long time partner of the Michigan Realtors®, Pearl Insurance is proud to share with you our quality Errors & Omissions Insurance, which offers valuable coverage that's better and more affordable than ever before. Receive a Michigan Real Estate E&O Insurance Quote and choose to bind coverage or renew your policy. As a Pearl Insurance insured, you'll gain access to our quality Real Estate Errors & Omissions Insurance as well as:

  • Extensive risk management tools and services
  • Superior customer service
  • Proactive claims handling and assistance by the experienced XL claims staff
  • Expert defense against a claim from your state's dedicated panel counsel


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In This Issue:



January 20-22, 2016
Dearborn Inn
Register Online

Broker Summit
April 21, 2016
Breslin Center
East Lansing
Learn more

Xplode Conference
June 8, 2016
Location TBD
Learn more

Convention & Expo
October 6-7, 2016
Soaring Eagle Casino & Resor
Mt. Pleasant

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2016: The Year of REengagement


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