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No question, it is currently a sellers market in the metro Milwaukee area. And as a result, we are seeing a lot of homes go under contract very quickly. In fact, of late I have seen a lot of posts on social media advertising the fact that the sellers got an “Accepted Offer in less than 24 hours”. I personally do not think this is something to brag about, and in fact, I think those agents may be doing a disservice to their clients.

 

I have sold real estate here for almost 26 years, and have been based out of the Wauwatosa Shorewest office since 1997, so I have seen many, many hot markets. Almost every year we see a lack of inventory in Wauwatosa in January, February, March, and April, and as a result, many multiple offer situations. In these hot sellers markets, Buyers are under a tremendous amount of pressure, and they often need to make a decision about whether or not to make an offer almost immediately upon viewing a home. In fact is not unusual for a new listing to hit the market in the morning, and multiple offers to be received by late afternoon/early evening that same day.

 

Unfortunately, the way we tend to do business in this area puts both buyers and sellers under a tremendous amount of pressure. The buyers have to make a quick decision on one of the biggest purchases they will ever make, and because they are fearful of losing the home to another buyer, they then put pressure on the sellers to make a quick decision by putting a short timeline on their offer for acceptance. These deadlines can be as short as a few hours(!), with twenty-four hours or less the norm. 

 

Agents in other parts of the country cannot believe that we operate this way, as they most certainly do not. In many parts of the country, it is actually quite common for there to be a 2 to 4 day period for new listings to be shown, with no offers accepted during that time. I think this is really something we as a local industry need to consider. 

 

In my opinion, normally not accepting any offers for 48 hours or longer after a new listing hits the market is better for both the sellers AND the buyers. Buyers have an opportunity to actually think about the home, and if it is truly the right fit for them. They can sleep on it, take a second look, bring someone trusted to see it, or simply be able to see the home if they were unavailable to look the first day the home hit the market. And of course, most people think it is better for sellers because more time allows more offers to come in, which normally will drive up the price, and can sweeten the terms. But this also can benefit the sellers as it allows them to take some time to consider any offers that are received, really think about the terms offered to them, and to decide what is the best way for them to proceed. They can then accept an offer knowing that all interested buyers have had a chance to see the home and make an offer if they wanted to and that they did not miss a better offer by accepting the first one that came in.

 

In this overheated seller's market, we also see many more offers than normal fall through, due to “buyer’s remorse”, which is often caused by the pressure of making an on the spot decision. Delaying acceptance of any offers for 48 hours or a few days will lessen this fall through rate also. Because of this, I have been discussing the pros and cons of imposing a 48 hour or 2 business day review period for all offers with every seller I have worked with this year, and all have chosen this option. All my clients have also been most thankful for this option also. Agents and buyers have thanked me too, so I see that there is a definite desire for this type of policy.

 

This is why “Accepted Offer in Less Than 24 Hours” is something you will never see me advertise. If you would like to talk to me about how I can help you maximize your proceeds, and take as much pressure as possible off of you when selling, please let me know. I would love to help!

 

Property Tax Assessments - How to Contest Them

by Beth Jaworski

Many people grumble about their property tax bills, yet few do anything about them. One way to lower your tax bill is to get your property assessment lowered. As a property owner you always have the right to contest your assessment. I recently attended a panel made up of three local assessors: the chief assessor for the city of Milwaukee, an assessor from the city of Brookfield and an assessor from West Bend. It was very interesting to hear what they had to say. All three agreed that assessments are supposed to reflect market value. However, because the real estate market can move so quickly, both up and down, assessments rarely do reflect current market value. That can be okay however, as long as all of the assessments in the municipality are off by the same percentage. Uniformity is the goal. In other words, if all assessments in a municipality are 10% above market value, that's okay, as then all are paying taxes at the same ratio.

Often when you look at two comparable properties you find a large discrepancy in their assessed values however. That is a problem, as the owner with the larger assessment is paying more than their fair share. If you think your property is over assessed, it may well be worth your time to contest. If you are not sure of area market values, please contact me. I am happy to help and can supply recent sales in your area.

Keep in mind that you only have a limited amount of time to contest each year (deadline varies by municipality) but the sooner you do so, the better. You will need to contact your local assessors office and follow their procedure. It usually involves filling out a form (in Wauwatosa it is called a "Request for Review" and is available online) and then allowing the assessor to walk through your property. This makes many homeowners nervous, but if you do not allow the assessor through the property, you lose the right to contest your assessment.

The walk through can actually be a good thing, as many times the municipality has inaccurate date for your property. For example, in 2011 I contested the assessments of two of the properties that I own. Turned out the city had a much larger living space listed in the attic of one than was actually there. The other property also had an error in the room count. Both assessments were lowered and as a result, I ended up paying about $1,700 less in property taxes at the end of the year. Well worth my time and effort! Hopefully you will enjoy the same results.

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Contact Information

Photo of Beth Jaworski Real Estate
Beth Jaworski
Shorewest Realtors
11622 W. North Avenue
Wauwatosa WI 53226
Direct: 414.844.1118
Cell: 414.520.8555
Fax: 262.782.1551

I hope that this website was able to assist in your search for a home, or in your quest for information about buying or selling a home.  Please do not hesitate to contact Beth Jaworski of Shorewest Realtors with any questions. Email is sold@bethjaworski.com  and cell number is (414) 520-8555. Thanks!