Protect Yourself and Your Clients from Wire Fraud

A big thank you to Dennis Pearsall, President of Real Estate One Northwest and its franchise divisions,  for bringing to our attention the extent of the issue of wire fraud in our country and providing the TAAR with materials to help craft a Wire Fraud Prevention Policy and Customer Fraud Warning and Acknowledgement for the TAAR. As mentioned in the  Traverse City Business News Cover Article: Wire Fraud Strikes Local Real Estate Firms, Home Buyers, wire fraud in real estate transactions has been an escalating issue that we want to make sure our TAAR members stay on top of.  View the TAAR Wire Fraud Prevention  and Customer Fraud Warning and Acknowledgement  Policy HERE, under Forms on the TAAR Members Only Website.

Below are two great pieces from the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) and Michigan REALTORS® on what you can do to prevent wire fraud. Unfortunately, the incidents of wire fraud seem to still be on the rise. However, by taking some basic steps you can help to fend off wire fraudsters. Check out this  video  from the NAR and the article "Wire Fraud: It Can Happen to Your Client" from Michigan REALTORS® to learn more about what you and your buyers can do.  

NAR Voice for Real Estate 60: FHA MIP, Debt Cancellation

FHA dropped the mortgage insurance premium on FHA loans. Also, homeowners can benefit from mortgage debt cancellation relief in the 2017 tax year if the lender signed an agreement in 2016 to write down part of the mortgage in 2017. Other segments look at working with customers who have a criminal record, how to use social media without turning off followers, and what's ahead for sales this year. An excerpt from a recent Real Estate Today radio show gives consumers a tip for saving for a downpayment. Watch it HERE

TAAR Selects Big Brothers Big Sisters as Primary Nonprofit Partner

After careful deliberation of many quality applicants the Traverse Area Association of REALTORS® (TAAR) has selected Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Northwestern Michigan as its Primary Nonprofit Partner for the next two years.

In this partnership, the TAAR members will become a prominent Corporate Sponsor of Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Northwestern Michigan, volunteer to mentor children, support and participate in events, and strengthen community partnerships of Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Northwestern Michigan in the region.

Instrumental in this process were TAAR 2017 Past-President Beccy Janis with Coldwell Banker Schmidt - 522 E. Front St., TAAR 2017 President Jamie Grace with Century 21 Northland, Mike  Annelin with Century 21 Northland, Carolyn Collins with Century 21 Northland, Bryan Olshove with Coldwell Banker Schmidt – 522 E. Front St., and Ted Schweitzer with Real Estate One Traverse City-Front Street for their efforts in the application and selection process of Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Northwestern Michigan as the TAAR’s Primary Nonprofit Partner.    

Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Northwestern Michigan is the TAAR’s inaugural Primary Nonprofit Partner, building on a long history of REALTOR® support for nonprofit organizations in our region. “Strong Kids Build Strong Communities” and the TAAR are excited to partner with Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Northwestern Michigan in these efforts.

TCAPS Releases 2016 Community Report

Traverse City Area Public Schools (TCAPS) is pleased to announce the release of the 2016 TCAPS Community Report. The report contains stories and information about the district's successes over the last year.

"As a community, we can be proud of the education our children receive," said Paul Soma, superintendent of Traverse City Area Public Schools. "There are so many notable achievements in our schools that are only made possible because we live in an invested, supportive community. We want to ensure that everyone is aware of the important work happening in our schools and is able to share in our collective successes."

The report is available electronically and in select locations throughout the region. View the report here:

Moderated Panel Discussion on Proposal 3

This past Tuesday, November 1st the Noon Rotary Club of Traverse City moderated a discussion on Proposal 3 to help inform members on the proposal up for vote in Traverse City on  Tuesday, November 8th. Below is a summary of the discussion courtesy of the Noon Rotary Club of Traverse City.

Jeff Hickman moderated an informative discussion on Proposal 3 between John DiGiacomo and Brenda Quick. John is a partner with Revision Legal, an intellectual property firm. Brenda is a Professor of Law Emeritus at Michigan State University College of Law.

Proposal 3 states:  

Proposed amendment to add a requirement to Section 28 of the City Charter of Traverse City that approval by a majority of the electors at a regular or special election must occur prior to approval by the City or City Commission of the construction of a building with a height above 60 feet.

Shall the Charter of the City of Traverse City be amended to add the following paragraph to Section 28: "It is hereby declared that buildings over 60 feet in height are generally inconsistent with the residential and historical character of Traverse City. Therefore, any proposal for construction of a building with a height above 60 feet, shall not be approved by the City or City Commission, until after the proposal is submitted to and approved by a majority of the City electors at a regular election, or at a special election?"

John is opposed to Proposal 3 and Brenda Quick is in support of Proposal 3.

  • Each was allowed a 7-minute introduction followed by a 2-minute response to questions previously gathered from Rotarians.

John focused on the small town character that Traverse City has. He mentioned that a lot of people contribute to small town character, saying its “good people doing good”. What is under threat is our zoning process. He believes this process is wrong. He mentioned the review process conducted by the city sounds thorough. He stated that Save Our Downtown does not address any of the elements that Judge Roberts stated in his ruling. He stated that this process works and there is no reason to change the process.

Brenda stated that this is legal. The Pine Street project did start this, but it is about buildings that are over 60 feet tall. She went on to say that people come to Traverse City because they have certain expectations and tourism brings in over $1.1 billion a year. The success of our area is about maintaining Traverse City as a tourism destination. The decision to do something is crucial because “building a tall building is irreversible.”

  • Question posed to each presenter: Why should or shouldn't voters be allowed to decide the future of TC and the character of the city with a direct vote? 

Brenda stated that the big issues should to be voted on by the voters, not by 7 commissioners. A recall is too slow and the damage will already be done. Give people the right to vote.

John stated there is no support for this issue and it is unlawful. “Ask a lawyer.”  There is the possibility that voting can be made based on discrimination. Only 27% of the population came out to vote in the last election and elections are costly.

  • Question posed to each presenter: Why are the systems in place such as elected officials, zoning ordinances, paid staff and various boards to deal with matters such as these not satisfactory as they are in most areas?

John stated that they are good enough, these people care and give a lot of time to do good things.

Brenda stated it went to court and it was decided that the decision made by the commissioners was wrong. Her position is that she is not satisfied that things have been done right.

  • Final remarks:

Brenda just wants a right to vote. We want small town character to still be here and just want a voice.

John asked “Are you going to do something illegal and unlawful to stop one development from happening?”

2016 Annual General Membership Agenda

View the TAAR Annual General Membership Meeting Agenda HERE


And don't forget to bring an item of greatest need  and/or a few dollars  to support needy families:

  • Canned Meats (e.g. Tuna or Chicken)
  • Canned Meals (e.g. Beef Stew, other protein-based canned meal)
  • Canned Soup (protein-based, not vegetable)
  • Toilet Paper
  • Personal Care Items (Toothbrush, Toothpaste, Feminine Hygiene products)
  • Pasta Sauce (like Spaghetti and Alfredo sauce)
  • Boxed Mac & Cheese

All donations  will go to support Food Pantries in a six county region (Antrim, Benzie, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska, Leelanau, and Wexford County) through the Northwest Michigan Food Coalition.  Project sponsored by the TAAR Young Professionals Network.  Click Here   for more information on the Food Drive

Urban3 Joe Minicozzi Presentation Recap

Below are a  few tidbits from Joe Minicozzi's  (Urban3)  final presentation at Lars Hockstad Auditorium  Tuesday, October 11th, 2016 on Grand Traverse County's tax base study. To watch  Joe's full  presentation you can  stream it online at, courtesy of UpNorth Media Center:

  • Joe spoke directly to the City of Traverse City's  Proposal 3  asking that we, as a community, take data into consideration of any potential building height restrictions, citing the results of  building height restrictions in Boulder, Colorado.
  • He urged that we, as a community, think about all the infrastructure (water pipes, fire hydrants, etc.) it takes for people to live further and further from a central city, township, or village downtown. The further people live outside of the main city center the more it costs the city to build and maintain infrastructure for these residents.
  • Joe stated that in terms of tax-base your downtown is your golden goose. Less infrastructure costs, more tax revenue.
  • Joe also presented Henry George's  Land-value tax, known as the 'Single-Tax.' Henry George's land-value tax argued that all land should be taxed equally regardless of the value of buildings, personal property or other improvements on the land.
  • Finally Joe called for us to "do the math." To have an open conversation about how some things are built inefficiently and to look at our city as a diverse topography designed to best serve our community.

2017 Michigan REALTORS® District Director Election Results

The Michigan Realtors® 2017 District Director Election results were announced during the delegate body meeting at The Convention.

Congratulations to:

  • District 1 - Meagan Luce

  • District 4 - Tom Darger

  • District 6 - Natalie Rowe

  • District 9 - Maureen Francis

  • District 11 - Jamie Iodice

  • District 14 - E-Toile Libbett

The following NAR Director candidates were elected to serve in 2017:

  • Stephanie Jones - Small Board

  • Alex Milshteyn - Medium Board

Thank you to all who ran for election and to our members who voted.

Joe Minicozzi Grand Traverse County Tax Base Study Presentations

Great article in the  Traverse City Ticker  this morning on Joe Minicozzi's Grand Traverse County tax base study presentation yesterday evening at the State Theatre,

Don't miss his final two public presentations today 9:30 am at the Traverse Area District Library (610 Woodmere Avenue, Traverse City) or tonight 7 pm at Lars Hockstad Auditorium - Central Grade School (301 Seventh Street, Traverse City).


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