March 1, 2012

Good afternoon everyone-

In Michigan, you are the protectors of private property rights and the American dream. In Greek mythology, Ctesius is the God who is the protector of house and property.  I’ll place ALL of my faith in you.  Don't let me down..

Thank you for all of your positive feedback on our weekly legal update.  The feedback is very encouraging. Many of you have requested that we expand our legal questions to include topics related to title and financing as well.  I will begin adding these as the questions are received, so feel free to send them to me.

Question 1:

I have a buyer client that has a service dog that is with us for every showing. I'm amazed on how well it’s trained. Can a seller and/or listing agent prevent me from showing the home based upon the dog?



No. A guide dog is not considered a "pet," but rather a service animal. Prohibiting service animals would most likely be deemed to violate various laws and regulations and be considered discrimination against disabled persons. I would recommend using standard showing procedures for your area. This response also applies if you ever represent a seller as well.  Welcome the service animal.  


Question 2:

I have heard that a person that purchases a new home, but has not yet sold the prior home, can claim a principal residence exemption on both homes. Is this true?


Answer: (as provided by Lindsey Maroudis from PPR Title Agency)

YES, provided certain criteria are met. The Michigan Department of Treasury allows for a Conditional Rescission of the principal Residence Exemption (PRE) on both homes. However, the previous principal residence must meet ALL of the following criteria:  it is not occupied, it is for sale, it is not leased, AND it is not used for any business or commercial purpose. If the property meets ALL of these criteria, your client can file a conditional rescission of principal residence exception form, and provide it to their assessor. Form #4640 is attached for your reference. They must file the form every year for up to three years. Please review the form and instruction sheet for additional information. Also- you are not an attorney or tax planner, so simply provide the form to your clients. Do not imply that they will receive the exemption or advise them in any way.



Jimmy, I have a listing that I’m working hard to sell. To generate interest, I’m offering four tickets to the last Griffins game in April to anyone that refers a buyer to me provided, of course, that the sale closes. Can I do this?



Well…no. The Red Book prohibits such a payment to anyone that is not a licensed agent under the Occupational Code.  Remember - it’s a referral fee. That being said, it may be permissible to give the tickets to the actual buyers of the home or to your office manager, but other laws may be violated.  If the Griffins are losing, there might not be any value in them anyway. Have you ever considered Detroit Tigers tickets? J


Carpe Diem-   Seize the Day- Make it Happen!




Jim Fase