First, you should make sure that our permanent records describe your property accurately.
Secondly, you should compare the actual assessment of properties similar to your own. To know if your assessment is fair and equitable, you must first determine if your property is bearing its fair share of the tax burden. Make a list of properties like your own in your area, and check their assessments periodically to make sure that they are in line with each other.
The amount of money you pay on your property tax bill should be about the same as your neighbors with similar homes around the City. The local assessor’s job is to make sure that happens in order that the burden of tax is evenly spread out according to the relative value of each property.
According to the Wisconsin Legislature, for instance, if you’re comparing Milwaukee Bungalows, the one in the best neighborhood with the best condition should have the highest tax burden and the one in the least desirable neighborhood in the worst condition should pay the least. All the other Milwaukee Bungalows should be between these extremes in order of best to poorest. As long as your home seems to be in line, your share of the total tax levy should be fair.
Finally, you should make sure that your assessment is based on actual sales prices of similar properties at the time we performed our last “market-adjusted” Citywide Revaluation. This can be done by looking at sale prices of similar homes or buildings in comparable parts of the City. Sales and assessment information is available in our office and open to the public for review during regular office hours and also on the City website.
You may also choose to contact a private contract appraiser or real estate salesperson to estimate the probable selling price of your property if sold now. However, keep in mind that the job of the Assessor is not to determine what your house is worth today. It is instead to divide the burden of tax fairly and equitably between similar properties using historical sales trends as a basis, an understanding of market activity over time is necessary.