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   Michigan REALTOR E-News



Real Estate Licensing Delays

If you have contacted the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) over the last few weeks with regard to the processing of your real estate license, renewal, relicensure or transfer applications, you may have received word that the process could take up to 6-8 weeks. Michigan Realtors® is monitoring the situation and working with the Department to assess the situation.

Because of the large number of real estate licensees, delays are common at the beginning of a new licensing cycle. In the opinion of LARA, 6-8 weeks is on the high side. Many of the licenses are being processed around 2-3 weeks for brokers and 5-6 weeks for salespersons. A few additional challenges are included in this year's renewals. The department recently went through an internal restructuring and new staff is being trained to approve licenses. This year's renewal featured a new form with a check box for attestation of completion of continuing education

In the long term, the new structure at LARA and the training of new employees should benefit turnaround times. Employees will now be cross-trained to approve a variety of professional licenses, not just real estate.

For some licensees the attestation of continuing education on the renewal form is causing delays, because they submitted their renewal in advance of taking their last few credits and therefore did not check the box signifying completion of their continuing education. The license renewal system did not allow licensees to go back in and check the box, so Department staff are making follow-up contact with those licensees. Michigan Realtors® is being told that licensees who did not "check the box" on their renewal form may need to send an e-mail to the Department at, or fax a letter to (517) 373.7179, Attention: Real Estate Renewal, confirming that the licensee has completed of the required continuing education credits and the date of the completion. Licenses expired on 10/31/2015, the last date for receipt of renewal payments was January 4, 2016. Any payments received in the Department after 1/4/2016 requires the licensee to submit a relicensure application, which may be downloaded at

For license transfers, people are encouraged to use the ICOLA system to speed everything along.  The 45 days allowed under the signed pocket card should be sufficient enough for LARA to turn around the paperwork and allow those individuals to still practice.

If you are experiencing issues beyond the delay, please feel free to contact the Michigan Realtors® at (800)454-7842.

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Tenants by the Entireties – Timing is Everything

By Gail Anderson, Esq.

Title to property held as tenants by the entireties is unique. Under Michigan law, property held by the entireties can be held only by a married couple. Both parties hold title; both parties have an equal interest in it; and both parties have the same right to use the property. Neither spouse acting alone can transfer any interest in the property and neither spouse possesses a separate interest in the land. Because one spouse cannot separate his or her interest, creditors who do not have a judgment against both spouses cannot reach entireties property to satisfy that judgment. It is not difficult to see why the vast majority of married couples choose to hold real property as tenants by the entireties.

It is important to keep in mind that a tenancy by the entireties may exist only if the persons are married at the time the deed is recorded. If two unmarried people attempt to take property as tenants by the entireties, a court will typically declare them to be tenants in common. In re: Estate of Kappler, 418 Mich 237 (1983). Moreover, if the parties are not married at the time of the conveyance, their later marriage will not create a tenancy by the entireties.

It is important to understand that the recitation of entireties status in a deed and the acceptance of that deed by a register of deeds does not in and of itself have any legal significance. Any two people can record a deed declaring themselves to be tenants by the entireties. A register of deeds does not, and cannot, determine whether that declaration is accurate; he or she will simply record the deed. The entireties status will only become an issue if someone has reason to challenge that declaration at some time in the future – for example, a challenge from an heir in the event of the death of one of the co-tenants, or from a creditor of one co-tenant alone.

If a married couple was not married at the time that they bought a home (or if their marital status at that time was less than clear), there is an easy fix. The couple can simply deed the property to themselves and clearly provide that they will be holding title to the property as entireties property.

View a sample form of such a deed here


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Professional Standards Procedural ABC's

Can an extension be granted for responses to be submitted to the Board?
Extensions can be granted as a matter of discretion by the appropriate tribunal. It is better to request an extension than to ignore the deadline to provide the response.

Must a Board grant a postponement each time one is requested? If one party receives a postponement, is the other party automatically entitled to a postponement if requested?
A Board is under no obligation to grant a postponement, much less honor repeated requests for postponement. Extenuating circumstances should be considered in determining if a requested continuance will be granted. Continuances will be granted when all parties mutually agree to a subsequent specified date or when the hearing panel chair determines that denying the continuance would deny the requestor a fair hearing. The fact that one party has been granted a postponement does not “automatically entitle” the other party a postponement without good reason.

The Board has scheduled a hearing and the respondent advises the Board that he will not attend the hearing. Can the scheduled hearing proceed?

Ethics hearings can take place without the respondent. Arbitration in the absence of a respondent may take place where permitted by state statute or case law as it is in Michigan. Ethics and Arbitration hearings cannot take place in the absence of a complainant.

Remote Testimony
The policies and procedures established in the NAR Code of Ethics and Arbitration Manual contemplate that except in “extreme circumstances” parties and their witnesses will participate in ethics and arbitration hearings in the physical presence of Hearing Panels and the respective parties.

“Extreme circumstances” in which parties and witnesses may be permitted to participate in those hearings by teleconference or videoconference at the discretion of the Hearing Panel are defined as circumstances where (1) postponement or rescheduling of the hearing to permit their participation is not feasible and (2) failure to accept their testimony or permit their participation would deny a party a fair hearing. Generally, a party requests remote testimony if they have moved to another state or health issues make it difficult or impossible to appear in person, etc.

NOTE: Counsel is permitted to participate in hearings only in physical presence of Hearing Panels.

Interstate Arbitration
The arbitration procedures may be used for arbitrating disputes between Realtor® members of Boards located in different states, subject to the parties’ voluntary agreement in advance to the place, date, and time established by the arbitration Hearing Panel and agreement to pay all costs of the arbitration as may be directed by the panel and further subject to the applicable law of the state in which the arbitration is held.

NOTE: Interstate arbitration is subject to many problems of administration and logistics and can be accomplished only if both parties agree voluntarily to such arbitration and agree to pay the required costs. Further, the applicable law of the state in which the arbitration will be held should be carefully considered prior to the arbitration for this will relate to any necessary judicial enforcement if the non-prevailing party should refuse to pay the award.


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Foundations To A Successful Digital Marketing Strategy

 By Paul Salley

Digital marketing is an essential component to the success of any real estate brokerage business. In reality, it’s a primary component that attributes to the success of almost any company in or out of real estate. As the marketing strategist at REAL Trends Technology, I am often asked where to start when getting started in digital marketing. Because digital marketing is such an expansive category it is often difficult to assess exactly where a specific company should invest their marketing dollars. However, there is a proven, solid foundation that will immediately improve web traffic and lead production to your brokerage. This foundation consists of three primary components…
Read more


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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 selling a piece of commercial property that has a lower SEV now than when I purchased it. Is this transaction exempt from state transfer tax?

NO. The declining SEV exemption from the state transfer tax is not applicable to commercial property. It is only applicable to residential property that is your principal residence

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


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Featured Member Benefit: ArtVan Home Rewards

Art Van Home Rewards is a gift from you to your client: $300 in Art Van Gift Cards to use throughout the store or online, in every department, from any line we carry...courtesy of you. Plus, priority processing for 0% financing with the Art Van Signature Card after their closing.

Sign up for FREE


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Boys & Girls Clubs of America Success Stories 

The National Association of Realtors® and the Boys & Girls Clubs of America are joining forces so America’s kids continue to have a bright future. As the premier youth-serving organization in the U.S., Boys & Girls Clubs have doors open to youth in communities across the country, serving as a “home away from home” for nearly 4 million kids each year during the critical time after school and in the summer. 

Have you or your local association recently completed a local BGCA project or activity? We want to hear about it!

 BGCA Resources & Success Stories 


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In This Issue:

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

Xplode Conference
June 10, 2016
Suburban Collection Showplace
Learn more

The Convention
October 5-7, 2016
Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort
Mt. Pleasant

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2016: The Year of REengagement


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