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Just as in many other fields, computers are useful in the assessment process. Assessors are trained to look for relationships between property characteristics and market value. By coding these characteristics and studying sales prices, assessors can estimate value by developing formulas and models. Computers are much faster and are capable of advanced analysis in this area. But despite these capabilities, common sense and assessor judgment are always required to verify assessments. Assessors most familiar with the neighborhoods and properties review all assessments.
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The assessor is a State certified individual whose duties are to discover, list, and place a value on all taxable real and personal property in the city, in a uniform manner. The assessor is not involved in the collection of property taxes.
There is a process called “Open Book” in which you can schedule an appointment with Musser Appraisal Service. After Open Book concludes, there is a meeting of the Board of Review. Please watch the News section on the homepage of the website for current dates. The Open Book and Board of Review process typically occurs in the spring of each year.
Wisconsin Law requires property assessments based on fair market value. Estimating the market value of your property is a matter of determining the price a typical buyer would pay for it in its present condition. Some factors the assessor considers are: what similar properties are selling for, what it would cost to replace your property, the rent it may earn, and any other factors that affect value. IT IS IMPORTANT TO REMEMBER THAT THE ASSESSOR DOES NOT CREATE THIS VALUE, BUT RATHER INTERPRETS WHAT IS HAPPENING IN THE MARKET PLACE.
Market value is defined as the amount a typical, well-informed purchaser would be willing to pay for a property. The seller and buyer must be unrelated, the seller must be willing, but not under pressure to sell, and the buyer must be willing, but not under any obligation to buy. The property must be on the market for a reasonable length of time, the payment must be in cash or its equivalent, and the financing must be typical for that type of property. If all of these conditions are present, this would be a market value, “arm's-length” sale.
Generally speaking, improvements that increase the market value of a property will increase the assessed value. The following are typical items that will increase the assessed value of your property: Added rooms or garages, Replacing asbestos or wood siding with aluminum or vinyl siding, Substantial modernization of kitchens or baths, Central air conditioning, Fireplaces, Extensive remodeling, etc.
Good maintenance will help retain the market value of your property. Generally, your assessment will not be increased for individual minor repairs such as those that follow; however, a combination of several of these items could result in an increased assessment. Repairing concrete walks and driveways, Replacing gutters and downspouts, Replacing hot water heater, Repairing or replacing roof, Repairing porches and steps, Repairing original siding, Patching or repairing interior walls and ceilings, Exterior painting, Replacing electrical fixtures, Replacing furnaces, Exterior awnings and shutters, Weather stripping, screens, storm windows, doors, Exterior landscaping including lawns, shrubbery, trees, flowers.
General economic conditions such as interest rates, inflation rates, supply and demand, and changes in tax laws, will influence the value of real estate. As property values change in the market place, those changes must be reflected on the assessment roll.
There are differences between individual properties and between neighborhoods. In one area the sales may indicate a substantial increase in value in a given year. In another neighborhood there may be no change in value, or even a decrease in property values. Different types of properties within the same neighborhood may also show different value changes. For example, one-story houses may be more in demand than two-story houses, or vice-versa. Older homes in the same area may be rising in value more slowly than newer homes. There are numerous factors to be considered in each property which will cause the values to differ. Some of the factors which can affect value are location, condition, size, quality, and number of baths, basement finish, garages, and many others.
You should first attempt to decide for yourself what your property is worth. This can be done by looking at area sales, contacting appraisers, and comparing assessments of similar homes. Assessment information is available at www.assessordata.org.
Wisconsin law requires that whenever an assessment is changed the owner must be notified.
Unattached Garages add less value than attached garages by about 25%.
Sheds add value only if they are site built and of a substantial nature with a foundation and made of wood. Metal or PVC sheds you buy at a home improvement store or other location do not add value.
Gazebos add value to the property.
Above Ground Pools add no value.
In Ground Pools add value, but only about 35% of the actual cost to put one in.
Landscaping, trees, and shrubs are not considered. It is assumed everyone has landscaping, trees, and/or shrubs. Value is not added for exceptional landscaping; however, wooded area on a lot does add value.
No, driveway surfacing is not considered.
Fences are not considered in the property valuation.