Areas of Practice

Real Estate

Business and Corporate

William R. VanderSluis

Member

Email: wrv@msblaw.com
Phone: 616-732-5000
Fax: 616-732-5099

Bill VanderSluis has an extensive transactional real estate practice that spans agricultural law to zoning law and everything in between. 

To Bill, every matter is a puzzle that needs deciphering and solving, a perspective that helps him minimize risk for the banks, developers, investors, farmers, and individuals he represents. It’s often said that hiring Bill is like buying an insurance policy – if there’s a problem, he’ll find it and fix it now, saving unnecessary time and expense later.  

This is particularly true with the title work and survey reviews Bill performs. On several occasions, he has uncovered unperfected interests and obscure deed restrictions, pitfalls that would have exposed the client to risk and liability had they gone undetected. He has also saved clients thousands of dollars in real estate taxes through the creative use of tax cap exemptions at the time clients purchase appreciated lake front homes and other property. 

After high school and college, Bill worked on residential construction sites where he learned surveying and gained insight into the business of constructing and selling real estate. A college career counselor recommended he pursue cartography and math, but Bill opted for a legal career where he could apply his strong analytical and technical skills. He graduated magna cum laude from law school and was the class valedictorian.  

The real estate matters Bill handles include purchases and sales, title transfers, mortgage and loan documentation, all types of leases, easements, cell tower and wind turbine leases, zoning, and land use involving residential, condominium, multi-family, commercial, industrial, and special use properties. He counsels farmers and agribusinesses on issues such as government benefits, subsidies, tax breaks, and incentives.   

Bill currently sits on the City of Wyoming Zoning Board of Appeals, and he is an affiliate member of the Commercial Alliance of Realtors, serving on the organization’s Forms Committee to standardize transactional documents and practices. He also mentors students at Burton Elementary School, helping them improve their academic performance, social skills, and self-esteem. Outside of his professional and community involvement, Bill enjoys road biking and plays ice hockey, a throwback to growing up in Canada.

Representative Matters

For a client going through Chapter 11 reorganization, Bill negotiated the sale and lease-back of a $5 million industrial facility that allowed the debtor to continue its business operations and eventually emerge from bankruptcy. 

When a developer sought to erect a $50 million office building, Bill handled all of the preliminary work, including street vacation, zoning applications and appeals, site plan approvals, and assembly of multiple parcels. 

A local college retained Bill to negotiate the sale of its entire campus, purchase of a replacement campus, plan approvals, variances, and construction of new facilities, helping the school to secure its future and continue to serve its students. 

When an investment group wanted to buy an eight-building office complex from the foreclosing bank, Bill stepped in to negotiate the purchase price, review the title and survey, and conduct environmental due diligence before consummating the transaction for the client. 

For a client who wanted to enroll his 400-hundred-acre farm in the Michigan Farmland Development Program, Bill analyzed all of the land eligibility qualifications, prepared the necessary documentation, and ultimately secured tax credits worth thousands of dollars annually.  

When a client needed assistance with an offer to purchase a residence on Lake Michigan, Bill designed a strategy to preserve the real estate “tax cap” on the property, saving the client more than $8,500 in taxes annually for as long as the client and his family own the property.

Bar Admission:

  • Michigan 
  • U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan

Education:

  • University of Toledo College of Law, Juris Doctor, magna cum laude, 1984 
    • Valedictorian and Order of the Coif 
  • Calvin College, Bachelor of Arts in American History, 1979

Professional Associations and Membership:

  • State Bar of Michigan 
    • Master Lawyers and Real Property Law Sections 
  • Grand Rapids Bar Association 
  • Commercial Alliance of Realtors  
    • Affiliate Member 
    • Member, Forms Committee

Community Involvement:

  • City of Wyoming Zoning Board of Appeals 
    • Chairperson and Board Member 
  • Burton Elementary School 
    • Affinity Mentoring Volunteer

Publications:

  • Status of Real Property Taxes in Bankruptcy Cases – Revisited, (co-author), Michigan Real Property Review, 1995