Buying a home in WisconsinWisconsin is one of those rare places that's rapidly becoming more popular, but still has affordable home prices. Especially if you're considering the university hub of Madison or up-and-coming Milwaukee and its suburbs, buying a home in Wisconsin can be a great investment. But, before you get going, there are a few real estate-specific laws Wisconsin home buyers should know about. In Wisconsin, only a qualified attorney is allowed to provide a home purchaser with legal advice. By law in the state, real estate agents, realtors, closing agents, and loan officers cannot give such advice. Both buyers and sellers will require their own lawyers to guide them through the buying and selling process. And it is rarely a good idea for both parties to share a lawyer. After all, the two sides have different interests, needs, and priorities. In The Badger State, there may also be certain property tax assessments and homeowners association (HOA) costs that become the buyer’s responsibility after an offer has been made and accepted. The only way to avoid these is to state otherwise in the sales agreement. State law requires that a seller provides the buyer with a completed disclosure report on the property’s condition within 10 working days of any offer being accepted by the seller. This has been the case since 1992 [Wis. Stat. Chapter 709]. However, questions still arise as to what issues need to be disclosed. They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and so it would seem are property defects. A seller may feel that a damp wall in the kitchen is a minor defect not worth reporting, whereas the buyer could find it a dealbreaker. So every buyer should make sure they go through the disclosure document with a fine-tooth comb. And, if there are any queries, then they should as their lawyer to raise them. As in every state that has such disclosure requirements, relying on these documents can be risky. Many prefer to commission a licensed professional to carry out a home inspection.
Refinancing a home in WisconsinWisconsinites are generally helped rather than hindered by state laws concerning mortgage refinances:
- A 2013 act allowed the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA) greater flexibility over refinances
- Another law says you can repay your existing loan early without any penalty when you refinance (Wisconsin chapter 428.207 Prepayment)
- And yet another law obliges lenders to record your settlement of a secured debt in a timely way (2013 Wisconsin Act 66)