Property Owners FAQ
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What is a revaluation?
What is the assessor’s role?
What is market value?
How will changes in assessed value affect my taxes?
The actual tax levied by the municipality is determined by the budgeted needs of the schools, technical colleges, and municipal, county, and the state governments. All of these taxing units decide what services they will provide and how much money they will need to provide these services. Once these decisions are made, a tax rate is determined. Your actual tax obligation is calculated by multiplying the tax rate by your assessed value.
How do I know if the assessed value of my property is correct?
What will happen to my assessed value if I improve my property?
– Adding rooms, decks or garages
– Replacing older siding or roofing with aluminum or vinyl siding
– Installing central air conditioning
– Extensive remodeling
Can the assessment on my property be changed even if the assessor has not seen the inside of my property?
Do all assessments change at the same rate?
Will I be penalized if I do not allow the assessor access to the inside of my property?
I have recently built a new home. Will the construction costs be considered?
How does the assessor determine a property's assessed value?
Why do we need a revaluation?
Could the assessed value change even though I've made no changes to my property?
Will my assessment go up if I repair my property?
. Repairing concrete walks and driveways
. Replacing gutters and down spouts
. Replacing hot water heater
. Repairing porches and decks steps
. Repairing original siding
. Patching or repairing interior walls and ceilings
. Exterior painting
. Replacing electrical fixtures
. Replacing furnace
. Exterior awnings and shutters
. Weather stripping, Replacing screens, storm windows, or doors
. Landscaping including lawns, shrubbery, trees, flowers
Will I be notified if there is a change in my property’s assessed value?
Everything I read and hear in the news media tells me housing values have dropped over the past year so why hasn’t my assessment dropped?
the country. While the news media portrays values as dropping, it speaks to an overall trend in some areas and doesn’t take into account a specific neighborhood or specific properties. In actuality, some communities, and some neighborhoods, have seen values increase;
many neighborhoods are experiencing fewer sales yet values remain relatively stable; and a few neighborhoods have experienced
foreclosures and short sales that have driven market values lower. It’s the latter neighborhoods that capture news media attention.
If your municipality happens to be conducting a revaluation this year, then your assessment will reflect the most probable market value. A
revaluation sets all properties at market value as of Jan 1 and establishes the relationships of one property to another. Those relationships remain until the next revaluation. If your community is
not conducting a revaluation this year, then your assessment will likely not be adjusted if the only change occurring is the same market adjustment that the rest of the community is experiencing. Just as your assessment didn’t go up each year when property values where rapidly increasing, your assessment will not be adjusted downward just because values are declining. The reason for this is twofold. If all values are going up or all values are going down, it doesn’t change the
relationship of one property to another and therefore doesn’t change the tax bill.
Secondly, in order to contain costs, most municipalities do not perform a revaluation every year. It is the revaluation process that adjusts
everybody’s value to reflect those properties which have sold.
Wouldn’t my property taxes go down if the assessor lowered home values in our community?
valued at $100,000. Badgertown’s tax levy is $2,000; the amount needed to cover its expenses. Since each resident owns 50% of the total
property, they each pay 50% of the levy giving them each a tax bill of $1,000.
If property values in Badgertown go up 10%, then each property is assessed at $110,000. The amount they pay in taxes, however, remains the same. Each resident still owns 50% of the total property in Badgertown and must pay 50% of the $2,000 tax levy or $1,000. And what if values start dropping? Residents’ property might drop to $80,000 each but because they each still own 50% of the property, and Badgertown still needs to collect $2,000, they will continue to see a
$1,000 property tax bill.
I’ve just refinanced my home and the appraisal used by the bank indicates a lower value than my assessed value. Can I use this as evidence to lower my assessment?
probably not. Making changes to assessed values because of economic conditions are done in the context of a municipal-wide revaluation so that all property values are adjusted to current market levels and every property owner is treated in a similar manner. This creates and ensures property tax equity and uniformity throughout your entire municipality.
The family across the street was foreclosed on by the bank who sold their home for a lot less than the assessed value. Isn't that proof that my assessment should be lowered?
Usually not. Foreclosed properties are being marketed under duress and frequently sell at discount prices.
In recent downturns, Wisconsin has fared better than most states as real estate values adjust to the economic climate. Just as foreclosure-related sales are frequently not an indicator of market value when values are rising, they are not necessarily an indicator of value in a declining market and are not normally considered by the assessor when determining the market value of property in a community. In fact,
Wisconsin law, appraisal standards, and Wisconsin courts, require very specific criteria for a sale to be considered as a reliable indicator of
market value. Two of the most important of these criteria are whether the sale occurred under duress (such as a forced sale) and whether the
property had adequate market exposure. For example, a property that sells two weeks after it’s listed may have sold quickly because it was
under-priced. This may be an indication of a duress situation, requiring closer review by the assessor, to verify whether is was an arms length
transaction. In most cases, looking at non-foreclosure sales is the most reliable way to gauge what is actually happening with neighborhood values.
There are times when the majority of homes that are selling in your neighborhood tend to be around the same price as foreclosure-related
sales. In this case, they may represent a reasonable picture of market value.
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