What is a Revaluation?
Revaluations are performed periodically to assure that the burden of tax is distributed equitably and uniformly among property owners. State law requires municipalities to adjust assessments if a majority of market sale prices are more than 10% above or below the assessment. The Wisconsin Department of Revenue-Equalization Bureau monitors sales activity statewide and notifies each community if their assessments should be adjusted.

A Revaluation is a thorough review of assessed values throughout the City, when it is clear that open-market, arms-length real estate prices have increased or decreased enough to require that the assessments be adjusted to keep in step. During the Revaluation process, all assessed values are examined and adjustments are made where necessary to "catch-up" with market trends.

In Wisconsin, assessments are simply “snapshot” estimates of value whose chief purpose is to divide the burden of tax evenly and fairly between all properties in a community. Because they are only snapshots and may not be updated for several years, they ARE NOT good estimates of a property’s value TODAY.

As described by Chapter 70 of the Wisconsin statutes and the Wisconsin Property Assessment Manual, property assessments are calculated “en masse” or “as-a-group” in a process called Mass Appraisal. This mass appraisal process is based on analysis of Sale Prices, Construction Costs and Rents over a period of time.

Over time, there are high sales and low sales, but the assessor looks for the range of sale prices which is most common for each type of property to derive assessed values. It is important to remember that the assessor may only react to what happens in the market.

By design, Mass Appraisal does not address day-to-day fluctuations, but rather attempts to “smooth out” short-term variability by looking at the market over a period of years to understand how markets change overall.

This approach is very different from that used by private appraisers, who must rely on a few up-to-the-minute sales to satisfy risk-averse lenders, and may yield widely different results.

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?