Wisconsin Customs

Wisconsin Customs

Real Estate Customs in Southeastern Wisconsin

Real estate transactions vary from state to state and even within a state, because of different state laws and  market needs for the area. We hope the following explanations of real estate customs typical for  Southeastern Wisconsin will help you during your transaction.


“Agency” is the relationship which results when one person (buyer or seller) consents to another person  (real estate broker) acting on his or her behalf and such other person consents to so act. In Wisconsin,  during the initial stage of the relationship when the broker/agent is supplying information to a buyer or seller  and no negotiation is taking place, the broker/agent is not an advocate for either buyer or seller but does owe  all parties certain duties including:

  • Provide brokerage services honestly, fairly and with reasonable skill and care. 
  • Disclose material adverse facts in writing and in a timely manner unless prohibited by law.
  • Keep confidential information.
  • Provide accurate information about market conditions upon request.
  • Safeguard trust funds and other property.
  • Present offers and other proposals in an objective and unbiased manner disclosing advantages and disadvantages.

After that initial stage of meeting, the buyer will choose how they want the Associate to work with them. A seller is always the broker’s client because a contract exists between the two. A buyer may choose to be the broker’s client with a Buyer Agency contract where the broker represents and is an advocate for the buyer, or may choose Subagency where the broker works as a subagent of the listing broker/company and has duties to the seller. You may ask, “Why would anyone not choose Buyer Agency?” Actually, subagency has worked successfully in Wisconsin for many years, and Buyer Agency does create a contract between the buyer and the broker where there is a possibility that a fee may be involved. Typically, a seller will pay the buyer’s agent. Relocation buyers are encouraged to choose Buyer Agency for full representation. A copy of the Broker Disclosure to Customers is enclosed with this information packet so you may review it. Your Coldwell Banker Elite Associate will also discuss agency in detail with you.

List Price versus Offer Price

If Coldwell Banker Elite is working with you as a Buyer’s Agent or through Coldwell Banker Relocation Services, we will prepare a Buyer’s Market Analysis when you are ready to make an offer on a home. This will inform you of market values for properties similar to the one you are considering. This can vary depending on specific circumstances of each transaction.

Earnest Money

The amount of earnest money for an offer to purchase generally ranges from 1-2% of the purchase price. It  is customary for offers to be written so the earnest money is paid upon acceptance of the offer, not at the  time the offer is written. If the property you’re buying involves a relocation company, however, they may  require earnest money at the time the offer is written.

Information provided by Coldwell Banker Elite to describe typical real estate transactions in the market area of Southeastern  Wisconsin, and may be subject to change without notice based on individual circumstances in any particular transaction.

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