The sidewalk laws in Grand Rapids, Michigan, have been changed, thanks to a measure that recently passed a vote in the city. Homeowners are going to be impacted by the change to the way that sidewalks are taken care of, but real estate agents are the ones who are really cheering on the new ruling.

Under the old regulations, a home could not be sold until the sidewalks in front of it were fixed, if need be, to adhere to local codes. The cost of doing this was on the home’s current owner. This sometimes added costs to the sale, which, according to some agents, could run as high as $1,200.

The new regulations make it so that the city will now have to take responsibility and pay for the repairs, rather than the homeowner. This means that the cost would never be transferred into a home sale.

Often, adding that $1,200 could make a deal fall through when it otherwise would have worked out, one agent said. In fact, he said that the new law already helped to save one deal that he was working on. Both sides had been haggling over the price, but the city now has to pay instead of either of them, so the deal can go through.

The new regulations replace ones that were established in 1997.

If anyone is involved in real estate transaction disputes in Michigan that involve the upkeep of a sidewalk — and who should have to pay for it — they should be made aware of this new law, which could settle the entire dispute without either side having to pay.

Source:, “Realtors and title companies cheer the end of Grand Rapids sidewalk inspection program” Jim Harger, May. 07, 2014

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