MI Underwriting Summary

From WFG Wiki

MI A to Z Underwriting Guide



  • Minimum Search Requirements -- No Statute. Marketable Title Act – 40 years
  • Search Standards
  • Plant or other search restrictions -- No
  • Foreclosure Checklist --
 WARNING – property tax issues - 
  • Survey Requirements -- No


Attorney involvement is not required for title searches or issuance of policies. However, an attorney must draft “non-form” instruments if the seller is unwilling to act as drafter.


The following tenancy types are recognized:

  • Individual
  • Tenancy by the entireties
  • Joint tenancy
  • Joint tenancy with right of survivorship
  • Tenancy in common (default)
  • Life estate
  • Enhanced life estate (Lady Bird).

Acceptable instruments for transferring ownership on real property: Warranty Deed (either General or Special) however other forms of deeds exist, such as: Covenant Deeds, Quit Claim Deeds, Trustee’s Deeds, Personal Representative Deeds. (Limited Warranty Deeds are prohibited by statute.)

Witness Requirements

No longer required.

Property Tax

Mortgage/Transfer Tax

No Mortgage Tax. Deed transfer taxes are provided by statute and uniform across the state. The taxes are based upon the total value of the property being conveyed. The rates are:

$7.50 per thousand for State; plus $1.10 per thousand for County

Spousal Joinder Requirements/Homestead

The non-owning spouse must join in a mortgage other than a purchase money mortgage. The non-owning spouse is not required to join in a purchase money mortgage. A non-owning wife must sign on a deed to sell property to release her Dower interest, but a non-owning husband does not need to join in on a conveyance by the wife.

Power Of Attorney

Construction Liens

Foreclosure Review

Instrument Requirements

  • An unrecorded land contract may be valid between the parties, but it is not insurable. Failure to record leaves the buyer completely unprotected, even though they have equitable title in the property. The forfeiture of a land contract often requires foreclosure, and therefore, we require that either the land contract or the Memo of the land contract be recorded to evidence the insurable interest.

Who May Serve As Trustee On Deed Of Trust

Mortgages only. Deeds of Trust may not be recognized.

Time Limitations

  • US Judgment Liens -- 20 years
  • State Court Judgment Liens --
  • Federal Tax Liens -- 10 years (+ 30 days)
  • State Tax Liens --
  • Estate Tax Lien -- 10 years
  • State Inheritance Tax Liens --
  • Mechanics Liens --
  • Financing Statements --
  • Mortgages --
  • HOA Liens --
  • Condominium assessments --
  • Child Support Liens --

Odd Stuff

  • Usury coverage through an endorsement is available. The usury statute is MCL § 438.31 et sec.
  • Michigan has a dormant Oil & Gas lease law which may eliminate oil and gas (but not other mineral) interests if not of record or actively used for 20 years. Strict requirements apply s. 554.291. OGM Reference

Tax Sales

In general, when a property is purchased on tax sale in Michigan via a Quit Claim deed from the county treasurer only the tax interest in the property is conveyed to the tax sale purchaser. The ownership interest in the property remains vested in the original owner.

We cannot insure a property purchased on tax sale unless the owner of the tax interest has also obtained the ownership interest, giving them fee simple title to the property.

In order for the owner of the tax interest to obtain that ownership interest (to our satisfaction to insure), we need one of two things:

1. Deed from the prior owner. 2. An Order Quieting Title to the tax sale purchaser with all parties properly noticed.