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Did you know... Michigan Real Estate Legal Questions Answered

I was recently reading from our Michigan Realtor magazine and came across an article written by Rebecca Gean, ESQ. the Director of Legal Education. Here are some items that were in the article that people may find educational.

When there is a property that has multiple offers, a listing agent may have asked for "Highest and Best" offers by a certain deadline. Once that happens, the seller and listing agent will review all offers. The seller is not obligated to accept the highest offer, or to show proof of offers to the buyer/ buyers agent. The seller can accept any offer over another for whatever reason, so long as they are not being discriminatory.

Protected classes under Michigan's Fair Housing Law have expanded. In 2022 the definition of "sex" for the protected class does include "sexual orientation" and "gender expression". Now LGBTQ+ individuals are also protected from discrimination in housing.

Though it may be tempting to share a text message from another agent expressing that their client has accepted an offer or counteroffer from my client, I do not get ahead of myself and misconstrue that as an accepted offer. The reason being is that until I have it in writing and my client has signed or accepted/ acknowledged accordingly, and delivered it back to the other agent the matter is still not resolved fully. If a listing agent texts me and says that their client has accepted our offer and then they decide to go with a better offer, they are not required to go with us. A contract to purchase real estate must be signed and in writing, or else it is not enforceable. It must be signed and delivered back to the buyer or buyers agent.

Can a buyer force a seller to make repairs and proceed forward with a purchase agreement after repair issues were found on an inspection during the inspection period? Probably not. Not all inspection contingencies are the same, but in general a buyer can choose to proceed, walk away based on issues found during inspection, or ask for repairs to be made. The seller should have the right to decide to do those repairs, walk away, or renegotiate who will cover any repairs. Again, this is all subject to what the inspection clause specifies in the contract, so take that into consideration as the primary determining factor.

Can a seller revoke a counteroffer after it has been sent to the buyer? Yes. A counteroffer or offer can be rescinded up until the time it has been accepted. The recission must get to the buyer or buyers agent before the seller or listing agent receives the buyers acceptance of the counteroffer or offer. In the case of a recission or revoking an offer/ counteroffer remember that acceptance must be signed and in writing while revoking can be done orally or in writing. In writing is preferred especially making it clear for any type of dispute.

Can Earnest Money be released to the seller if the purchase agreement has a non refundable clause in place even if the buyer disputes the release of the Earnest Money? No. If there is a dispute between the buyer and the seller over the earnest money that money must stay in the trust account until there is an agreement between the two sides or until a court order dictates who the funds should be released to.

All of the exact details are coming from the Michigan Realtor Magazine November 2022 Volume 21 Number 4 Article "The Legal Hotline: A Year in Review", written by Rebecca Gean, ESQ., Director of Legal Education

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