Understanding Your Property Assessment

Recently you may have received a letter from the city that shows your newly assessed property value.  It can bring you joy, confusion or even worry, depending on how that assessment has changed.  Here are some answers to questions you may have:

What are property assessments?

Property assessments are conducted by the city to establish a value for your property. This value is then used to determine your annual property tax bill.  A property’s value is determined primarily by using the sales of similar properties from the previous year. Property owners can see values go up even if they have not made improvements. The good news is that if the assessment increased then the value of your home has increased.

Can I appeal my assessment?

If you do not agree with your current assessment you may file an appeal.

Property owners in Milwaukee have until Monday, June 8 at 4:45 p.m to file an appeal of their assessments. This is an extension from the original statutory deadline of May 18 and applies to all City assessments.

This year, because of the pandemic, there will not be any in-person appeal meetings.

1. Contact the Assessor’s Office to request an appeal form.

The Assessor’s Office can be reached:

2. Fill out the appeal form and return it by 4:45 p.m. on June 8, 2020.

It is recommended that evidence be submitted with appeals. Examples of evidence are a copy of a recent appraisal, a recent market analysis from a local real estate agent, photos of the inside or outside of the home showing areas that need maintenance, and photos showing features that are not part of the home that are listed on the Assessor’s Office’s property record card. 

3. After the appeal has been submitted, it will be reviewed by the property appraiser, whose conclusions will be sent to the Board of Assessors for review. That board will send its conclusions in written form.

4. Property owners who do not agree with the Board of Assessors can ask for a Board of Review hearing. The format of those hearings is currently being reviewed due to the pandemic.

How will my property assessment affect my property taxes?

If your assessed value increases your taxes may increase.  If your assessed value decreases, your taxes may decrease.

How will this affect your mortgage payment?

Because your property taxes are included in your mortgage payment, if your taxes increase your mortgage payment may also increase; if they decrease then your payment may decrease. 

There are two parts to your mortgage payment; the principal/interest portion, which will not change for the life of your loan, and the escrow payment. 

The escrow payment consists of two parts, homeowners insurance and taxes.  This portion of the payment can change when there is an increase in the homeowners insurance, taxes, or if you do not pay your water bill.

If you are delinquent on your water bill and do not make payment arrangements by October 1st, the delinquent amount is attached to your yearly taxes causing your payment to increase.  It is important to keep up on your water bill or contact Milwaukee Waterworks to make payment arrangements.

Seeking out the best price for insurance, not making claims, bundling your home and auto, and having a good credit score will help keep your insurance premium cost down.