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SEBAR Legal News Update for March featuring News that's Relevant to YOUR Business!

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Important News from the
Michigan State Capitol

Senate Bill 253:
Ban Lawsuits over Verbal Real Estate Commission Agreements

On Wednesday, March 4th, the Michigan House of Representatives passed SB 253 with an overwhelming vote of 104-2. Sponsored by Senator Pete Lucido, this REALTOR ® -supported legislation clarifies that all commission agreements between a broker and an owner of purchaser of real property must be in writing.

While the requirement of a written commission agreement has been long understood as a requirement in the real estate industry, a recent Michigan Supreme Court opinion called that fact into question when they held that a verbal promise may be good enough to establish a commission claim, Michigan REALTORS ® views SB 253 as an important measure to protect both buyers and sellers, while reinforcing the importance of the written contract for brokers.

SB 253 now heads back to the Michigan Senate for enrollment and presentation to Governor Whitmer for her signature.

House Bill 5421:
Audio Recordings by Home Security Monitors

On Tuesday, March 3rd, the Michigan House of Representatives passed HB 5421, sponsored by Representative Graham Filler, by a vote of 106-2. HB 5421 makes an important clarification in Michigan law, allowing homeowners to use audio recording for home security purposes.

Under current law a homeowner may only use video recordings and is prohibited from recording audio unless they have the permission of one of the parties. In the age of audio activated devices like doorbell cameras and other smart home devices, REALTORS ® know that they play an important role in homeowner security and safety. This important clarification protects sellers that may wish to secure their home during open houses and showings, especially where someone may enter under false pretenses. It also makes buyers and their agents aware that there is no expectation of privacy in another person's home when they enter.

HB 5421 now moves to the Michigan Senate.

Source: Michigan REALTORS®

Where Marijuana Use Is Legal, Realtors® Saw an Increased Demand in Commercial Properties

A new definition for “hot property” has emerged within the real estate market. The recent string of state-level marijuana legalization continues to impact commercial property demand and residential housing decisions throughout the United States.These findings are according to the latest study from the National Association of Realtors®, Marijuana and Real Estate: A Budding Issue , which found that in states where prescription and recreational marijuana use is legal, more than a third of those polled said they saw an increase in requests for warehouses or properties used for storage.

In those same states, up to one-quarter of members said the demand for storefronts grew, while one-fifth said there was a greater demand for land.

The NAR report examines how marijuana is grown, harvested, stored, sold and consumed within states where the product is legal. Because each law and the duration of time when which the product has been legal varies by state, the study is summarized by legal for medical use, legal for both medical and recreational use after 2016 and legal for medical and recreational use before 2016. The states where marijuana has been legal for the most amount of time have seen the largest impact on both commercial and residential real estate.

“As more states legalize marijuana, the real estate market will progressively have to adjust,” said Dr. Jessica Lautz, vice president of demographics and behavioral insights for NAR. “From property owners, to manufacturers, to those who simply want to engage for leisure – it all touches real estate in some form.”

You may click HERE to learn more

Source: National Association of REALTORS®

Michigan REALTORS ® Legal News

Legal Lines – Question of the Month 
I represent a buyer who put in an offer on a home where there were multiple offers. My client’s offer was not accepted. We have reason to believe that my client’s offer was in fact the “highest and best.” Are we entitled to see a copy of the offer that was accepted by the sellers in order to verify that it was the “highest and best” offer?
NO. Moreover, it does not matter whether the accepted offer was in fact the “highest and best.” As long as the sellers did not engage in unlawful discrimination (for example, on the basis of national origin), they were not required to accept the “highest and best” offer or otherwise treat all offers equally. A “Primer on Multiple Offers” prepared especially for buyers in this situation is available on MR’s website.

Click HERE to access the Michigan REALTORS ® l egal library, Q&A and video transcripts.

Source: Michigan REALTORS®


Check out some important dates below to help you prepare to respond to the 2020 census survey.

  • Mid-March 2020: The Census Bureau will be inviting households to participate in the 2020 census*, and households can begin completing the Census survey by mail, phone, or online at 2020census.gov
  • April 1, 2020: National Census Day! This is a nationally recognized day, and by this date every U.S. household will receive an invitation to participate in the 2020 census, and to respond by mail, phone, or online.
  • June 30, 2020: Last day for households to respond to the census survey.
  • December 2020: The Census Bureau is required by law to provide an apportionment count to the President and Congress.

*If someone from the Census Bureau visits your home for the 2020 census, you should verify their identity, by checking to see if they have their valid, and a non-expired ID badge with their photograph, a U.S. Department of Commerce watermark. 
For additional questions regarding a Census Bureau employee’s identity or to report possible fraud or a scam, please call 1-800-923-8282.

Source: National Association of REALTORS®
Michigan REALTORS ® Legal Hotline


The Michigan Realtors® Legal Hotline allows members to have direct, toll-free access to a qualified attorney who can provide information on real estate law and other related matters. This service is only available to Michigan Realtors® members and is not a public service. The service is provided through members’ dues.The Legal Hotline number is 800.522.2820. It is operated 9 a.m.– 3 p.m., Monday – Friday. This makes the Michigan Realtors® Legal Hotline available to Members approximately 250 workdays per year. Recognized holidays are excluded. If the Legal Hotline is busy; an answering machine will take calls. Calls are returned within 24 hours, usually during the same day.
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Southeastern Border Association of REALTORS®
Shannon Harner, RCE, e-PRO, CEO/Association Executive
Donna Birkner, Downriver Office Manager
Lisa Horvath, MLS Specialist
Jessica Lapp, Membership & Administrative Manager

Monroe County Office
125 Cole Road
Monroe, MI 48162

Downriver Office
Horizon Business Center West
20600 Eureka Road, Suite 510
Taylor, MI 48180

Both Offices are Open Monday - Friday / 8:30 am to 4:30 pm