Michigan Deed Requirements

A Michigan deed successfully transfers real estate only if the deed is correctly formatted, contains all required information, and is signed, notarized, and recorded in compliance with Michigan law. The legal requirements for Michigan deeds are described below.

A register of deeds in Michigan generally does not have the authority to refuse a document that meets the recording requirements of Michigan law.1

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Formatting Standards for Michigan Deeds

Michigan formatting standards deal with the arrangement and format of Michigan deeds. Michigan deeds must meet the following formatting requirements:

  • Paper Size. Michigan deeds must be printed on white paper of at least 20-pound weight. Pages must measure at least 8½ × 11 inches (standard letter size) and not more than 8½ × 14 inches (legal size).2
  • Font. Font used for a Michigan deed must be written, printed, or typed in black ink—using font no smaller than 10-point. Deeds must be sufficiently legible to permit copying.3
  • Margins. The top margin of a deed’s first page must be at least 2½ inches. All other margins must be at least one-half inch.4
  • Title. Documents submitted for recording in Michigan must include a title identifying within the first printed line the recordable event evidenced by the document. More than one recordable event cannot be included within a single document.5

Content Requirements for Michigan Deeds

Michigan’s content requirements govern the substantive provisions that must be included in each Michigan deed form. Michigan deeds must meet the following content requirements:

  • Grantor and grantee names and address. A Michigan deed must identify the current owner making the transfer (the grantor) and the new owner receiving the property (the grantee). The grantee’s mailing address must also be listed in the deed.6 Michigan law no longer requires a “return to” address.7
  • Social Security number redactions. If a Michigan deed or other document submitted for recording includes any Social Security numbers, the first five digits of the SSN must be redacted.8
  • Marital status. Michigan law requires deeds recorded before April 6, 2017, to identify the marital status of any male grantors. The marital-status requirement no longer applies to newly recorded deeds.9
  • Identification of deed preparer. A deed must identify by name and address the person responsible for drafting the deed.10
  • Consideration / property value. A deed must include a statement of consideration that identifies the value given for the property. If the deed is subject to transfer tax, it must state the property’s total value or be accompanied by a completed Real Estate Transfer Tax Valuation Affidavit that sets forth the value.11 A deed that is exempt from transfer tax must cite the statute under which the transfer is exempt.12
  • Legal description of property. Michigan deeds must contain an accurate legal description of the property being transferred.13 The property’s tax ID number and physical address should also be included, if applicable.
Attorney Practice Note: Michigan law requires the following statement within deeds that transfer parcels of unplatted land: “This property may be located within the vicinity of farm land or a farm operation. Generally accepted agricultural and management practices which may generate noise, dust, odors, and other associated conditions may be used and are protected by the Michigan right to farm act.”14

Signing Requirements for Michigan Deeds

A Michigan deed is not valid unless it is signed as required by law. Michigan deeds must meet the following signature requirements:

  • Grantor’s original signature. A Michigan deed must include the grantor’s original signature. The name of any person who signs a deed must be printed, stamped, or typed immediately below the signature. Names must be stated identically throughout the document.15
  • Notarization. The grantor’s signature must be acknowledged by a notary or other authorized officer in the format prescribed by Michigan law.16 Michigan law lists the information that a notary certificate must include.17

Fees Required to File Michigan Deeds

To be recorded, each deed sent to the Register of Deeds should include the following:

  • Recording fee. Michigan deeds are recorded with the register of deeds office for the county where the property is located.18 The standard fee for recording is $30.00, though fees may vary between deeds and by county.19
  • Treasurer’s certification. The person requesting recording must provide to the register of deeds a treasurer’s certificate regarding payment of property taxes when filing the deed for recording.20
  • Transfer tax. If a Michigan deed qualifies for transfer tax, the transfer tax must be paid at the time of recording. Michigan assesses state and county-level transfer taxes.21 The state transfer tax rate is $3.75 for each $500.00 of the purchase price, and counties may impose additional transfer tax of $0.55 per $500 (or $0.75 per $500 in counties with populations exceeding two million).22
  • Transfer tax exemptions. Michigan law lists multiple categories of deeds that are exempt from transfer tax.23 Exemptions include deeds for consideration below $100.00 and deeds between spouses for the purpose of creating a tenancy by the entirety.

Each deed created by our deed preparation service is attorney-designed to meet Michigan recording requirements and comes with step-by-step instructions for filing with the Register of Deeds.

  1. See MCL 565.201(5) (stating that the register “shall not reject an instrument for recording because of the content of the instrument” if it complies with the statute); see also Andrews v. Brown, No. 350659 (Mich. Ct. App. Oct. 22, 2020).
  2. MCL § 565.201(1)(f)(iv) and (v).
  3. MCL § 565.201(1)(f)(iii) and (iv).
  4. MCL § 565.201(1)(f)(i).
  5. MCL §§ 565.201(1)(f)(ii) and 201(3).
  6. MCL § 565.201(1)(d).
  7. MCL § 565.201a repealed effective Sept. 18, 2018.
  8. MCL § 565.201(1)(g).
  9. MCL § 565.221.
  10. MCL § 565.201(1)(i).
  11. MCL §§ 207.504; 207.525.
  12. MCL §§ 207.505; 207.526.
  13. MCL §§ 565.151; 152.
  14. MCL § 560.109(4).
  15. MCL § 565.201(1)(i).
  16. MCL §§ 565.8; 565.47.
  17. MCL § 55.287.
  18. MCL §§ 565.291; 565.491.
  19. MCL § 600.2567.
  20. MCL § 211.135.
  21. MCL §§ 207.502(1)(b); 207.523.
  22. MCL §§ 207.504; 207.525.
  23. MCL §§ 207.505(a)-(o); 207.526(a)-(w).