What are Wisconsin Property Records?
Wisconsin property records are legal documents that contain information about real property and land in Wisconsin. They have information about private and commercial property owned by individuals or organizations.
According to Wisconsin open record law, state residents are entitled to view or obtain copies of these records. This is because Wisconsin property records are in the public domain. Property and land information automatically become public when owners file them with state officials after performing a real estate transaction.
Wisconsin property records come in many forms, including deeds, mortgages, liens, plats, and judgments. To obtain information about a property or piece of land in Wisconsin, interested persons may query the office of the County Clerk in the county where the property is located. However, suppose the inquirer is seeking information about a deed. In that case, the Wisconsin Secretary of State and the Wisconsin Department of Revenue may be preferred alternatives for a Wisconsin property record search. Both offices allow citizens or the public to request property records individually or via mail. In addition, most custodial offices maintain online databases of this information where inquirers can search the record of interest.
Are Wisconsin Property Records Public?
Yes. Wisconsin property records can be accessed by interested and eligible members of the public under Chapters 59.43 and 69 of the Wisconsin Statutes. According to these statutes, recorded real estate documents are a matter of public record and can be inspected through government repositories and official online resources. This law enables Wisconsin citizens to duplicate, request or review property records, provided it is without malicious intent.
Property records are available for public viewing through government agencies or third-party aggregate websites. Accessing property records through third-party sites is typically straightforward, and the records are not geographically limited. However, because the sites are not government-affiliated and run independently, the information contained in the records may vary. Searching parties should include the following details to obtain complete property records:
- The property's exact location.
- The property owner's details.
What Information is Included in Wisconsin Property Records?
The information typically contained in Wisconsin property records varies with the type of record in question. These records are as follows:
- Wisconsin Mortgages Records
When property owners borrow money to buy properties, mortgage brokers create documents that are called Wisconsin mortgage records. Information on financial data, such as the property's initial sale price and the payment allocation between the property owner and mortgage company, are usually included in these documents. They also show the timing and amount of repayment as well as any unsettled balances on a property.
- Wisconsin Property Maps
These are official pictures created to serve as visual representations of real estate. Property maps come in various forms, such as subdivision maps, parcel maps, assessment maps, and survey maps.
- Wisconsin Property Deeds
These official documents assist the property's seller and buyer in transferring ownership. People looking for Wisconsin property records typically require property deeds because they usually identify a property's true owner. There are different types of property deeds in Wisconsin, and they include:
- Deed of Trust
This is a contract between a borrower, a lender, and a trustee. It is used to safeguard real estate transactions requiring financing to purchase a property. Deeds of Trust are sometimes used in place of conventional mortgages in some states because they can be compared to mortgages in some ways.
- Warranty Deeds
A warranty deed is a document in real estate used to verify that a property is legally owned. This indicates that there are no liens, mortgages, or other claims against the owner. To put it another way, ownership is established using a warranty deed form. During the course of a real estate transaction, warranty deeds come into play. The seller and the buyer are involved, either an individual or a company. The seller uses the warranty deed to demonstrate to the buyer that they are authorized to sell the property.
- Grant Deeds
A grant deed is a legal transfer document that offers the grantee some degree of protection. In a grant deed, the grantor promises that there won't be any unforeseen liens, encumbrances, or claims made against the property while they are the owners. The grantor may pay for title insurance and retain a title company to carry out a title search to offer extra evidence of ownership. A grant deed's main characteristic is that they do not guarantee that encumbrances on the title did not exist before the grantor's possession. In contrast to warranty deeds, the grantee is likely to be responsible for any future claims of liens or other interests in the property made by third parties who acquired them after the grantor bought it.
A quitclaim deed is an official document used to transfer ownership of real estate or other property from one person to another. They are frequently referred to as "quick claim" deeds. When a quitclaim deed is used, the property is transferred to its current condition without needing a title check or title insurance.
Where to Search Wisconsin Public Property Records
Wisconsin state residents may obtain property records from custodial government agencies. In this case, it may be the local county register of deeds, the county clerk's office, and in some cases, the local tax assessor's office (for tax property records).
For instance, Milwaukee county residents can obtain property records from the Office of the Milwaukee County Register of Deeds. Inquirers may opt to use the Milwaukee Tapestry Application or send their requests via mail to:
Milwaukee County Register of Deeds
901 N. 9th St., Room 103
Milwaukee, WI 53233
How to Do a Property Records Search in Wisconsin
To do a property record search in Wisconsin, inquirers may visit the office of the custodian official in person or use any of their online resources. To conduct a search, the requesting party will be required to provide information to facilitate the search, including:
- The address of the property (including the county, street name, and plot or house number)
- The full name of the owner of the property owner
It is important to note that while the custodian of property records in some counties is the Register of Deeds, selected counties refer to the office as the Clerk-recorder's office.
How to Find the Owner of a Wisconsin Property Using Public Records
Individuals seeking to locate a property owner using public records must first know the real estate property's address or parcel number. Then they must take this information to the County Clerk's Office or search using the RETR tool on the Department of Revenue Website.
What are Wisconsin Property Records Used For?
Wisconsin property record provides an overall picture of the history of a property. They can help requestors in:
Finding Hidden Information
Laws regarding the acquisition of property records are there for a reason. It is to everyone's benefit, especially the buyer, to completely understand a property's aspects before making a purchase. Property records give the entire history of a property, from ownership to the condition of the property and any restrictions that concerns the land. Researchers can find the following when searching through property records:
- Land use restrictions: like real covenants, easements, and equitable servitudes, limit how homeowners can use land or the type of actions that can be carried out on the land. For example, real covenants may restrict the construction of certain size buildings or may forbid businesses from being built on the land. Easements and equitable servitudes are similar in that they allow others to use part of the land (such as a joint driveway or water for fishing), although they don't possess it.
- Undisclosed liens may surface during a property title search. Unfortunately, property owners only sometimes make payments on time, and sometimes this information can fall through the cracks. A property search will expose any unpaid back taxes, missed mortgage payments, mechanic's liens, or any other type of value assessment. Liens on a property will often affect its price, and someone will have to take care of these obligations before the home can be sold.
Knowing the Condition of The Property
Property reports show both the financial and physical conditions of the home. This information is imperative whether purchasing private or commercial property. Physical problems inside and outside a structure will greatly affect its value and may even negate a sale. An internal inspection will reveal potential problems, like mold or leaks, while an exterior inspection will assess structural damage, foundation slippage, or other weaknesses. A property report on the home's condition is a great tool for leveraging the property's price.
Property Valuation during Dissolution of Marriage
When married couples get divorced, they must divide their marital property amongst themselves, following state laws. In some states, the property is distributed evenly. In others, marital property is divided up based on several factors.
Most of the time, the biggest asset that a married couple holds is joint property. Of course, this can lead to disputes about the property's value and how it will be divided. This is where property reports and valuation can be tremendously helpful.
A surveyor will conduct an assessment to determine a fair and accurate valuation of the real estate. Many times, this may even include the land surrounding the home and any possessions inside. Divorcing couples will have a much easier time dividing property once a fair property report is obtained.
Like a property report, a probate valuation provides an accurate number for divvying property during a divorce. A probate valuation may be in order when an individual passes away, having willed some property. Firstly, this will report the property's value and any inheritance taxes that come with it. It will also determine if there are any outstanding debts and if the property's value will cover them. Once the property is accurately valued and all debts are paid, the will's beneficiaries can receive their inheritance.
How to Find Wisconsin Tax Records
Persons seeking to obtain Wisconsin Property Tax records may query their Local Revenue Commissioner's Office or query the Wisconsin Department of Revenue via mail to:
2135 Rimrock Road
Madison, WI 53713
What to Do When You Can't Find Wisconsin Property Records
Wisconsin residents experiencing difficulty obtaining property records from government-managed resources may consider third-party aggregate sites. These sites aggregate records from government databases and make them available to inquirers for a fee.