How do I know if my assessment is fair?
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.

Show All Answers

1. What does an Assessor Do?
2. What are property taxes for?
3. What do the terms on the tax bill mean?
4. What is a Revaluation?
5. What is a “valid” or Market Sale?
6. How do I know if my assessment is fair?
7. I have recently built a new home. Will cost to build my property be considered when my assessment is calculated?
8. The Estimated Fair Market Value shown on my tax bill is more than I think my house is worth, what do I do?
9. Does the location of my property influence its value?
10. If after discussing my assessment with the Assessor’s office staff I still think the assessment is not correct, what should I do?
11. What happens if you review my property after I buy it or take out a building permit; if you discover something that isn’t on your records, will my assessment increase?
12. Can my assessment change in the years between citywide revaluations?
13. Can the assessment on my property be changed even if the assessor has not been inside my property?
14. How can my assessment change when I haven't done anything to my property?
15. Will I be notified if there is a change in my assessment?
16. I just purchased my home for less (or more) than the assessed value. Will you change my assessment to match my sale price?
17. 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 my assessment should be lowered?
18. If market values do go down, doesn’t that mean our taxes should decrease along with them?
19. What if I think my assessment might not be Correct?
20. Why am I paying taxes on an assessment that's higher than my property is worth?
21. How does the assessor value property?
22. I have a refinance appraisal – Will you change my assessment to the appraiser’s value?
23. Why do assessors avoid considering foreclosure or estate sales when calculating assessments?
24. What will happen to my assessment if I improve my property?
25. Will my assessment go up if I repair my property?
26. How does my assessment affect taxes?
27. Do the market values of all properties change at the same rate and over the same time frame?
28. What happens after the Board of Review makes its decision?
29. What is the Board of Review?
30. What is the Board of Review and what evidence do I need to present during a hearing?
31. I have heard that property values have gone down dramatically all across the Country recently, how does West Allis compare?