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What to do about your sellers’ furry friends.

A recap of May’s REALTOR® rally in Washington, D.C.

June 2012 $5.00


Networking Revamped It’s Not About You, It’s About Them! 2012 convention speaker shares secrets about the new way to network, page 6.

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table of contents

june 2012



28, no. 9

25 6 features 6 10



NetworthingTM Is the New Way to Network!

Convention 2012 speaker Sarah Michel, CSP, details how the new NetWORTHingTM is never about you. It’s about them!

Preparing Your Seller to Prepare the Home to be Prepared for Showings — Part 1

The first installment of a series of articles on REALTORS® working with sellers to prepare homes for showings. This installment? Handling furry friends.


10 2 5 13

The ABCs of Entrepreneurship

Discover 26 motivational words and ideas that impact your business in this month’s sales tip.


Wisconsin Recall Experience Unprecedented


REALTORS®’ Guide to Wisconsin’s New Nonconforming Structures Laws

A historic look at recall elections, with the recent June 5 recall elections.


Was That Really Necessary? A recap of May’s Rally to Protect the American Dream in Washington, D.C.

WRA Launches Mobile Website Mobile web usage is taking over desktop usage — and the WRA is ready.

Should the Seller Disclose? Defects, the RECR, “as-is” sales and much more regarding sellers and REALTORS® in disclosure situations.

Zoning: Why it Matters to Your Buyers and Sellers This Legal Hotline looks at zoning regulation questions and answers.


It’s Spring! Rejuvenate Your Motivation! With spring comes a sense of energy and revival — and you’ll be ready for success with these publications in this month’s Product Showcase.

You’ll be prepared with these commonly asked questions and answers on the new 2011 Wisconsin Act 170.

wisconsin real estate magazine


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inside the wra

with mike theo

Top News Stories in and Around the Industry

Was That Really Necessary? United Way Honors the Stark Family for Service to Community United Way of Dane County

Wisconsin Receives Millions to Ease Foreclosure Crisis

substantially increase funding for rental assistance, particularly help for working families.

Milwaukee Business Journal (WI) (09/30/08) ®

We are encouraging Congress to When 14,000 REALTORS gathered in Washington, NARtoReleases Free Toolkit United Way of Dane C o u nont y May The of Wisconsin is due 550-foot to receive nearly $39 take action improve the shortFHA sales D.C. 17,state under the towering Wisconsin REALTORS® Association (10/30/08) recognized the Stark Family million in federal funds to stabilize neighborhoods process, support the independence monument to our first president, their rallying with the 2008 Tocqueville Society and stave off a spate of abandoned homes. According and integrity of WRA appraisals, cry was the protection of the American Dream NAR and the are eager toenact help you meet the Award for outstanding to HUD and Gov. Jim Doyle, the funds are separate ® comprehensive reform of ofthethegovernmentof homeownership. (Another 14,000 REALTORS watched the current challenges troubled economy. We service to the Dane County community and United from approximately $9.2 million the government is sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae and rally live celebrates on the Internet!) Atawarding first you why was that Way. The Tocqueville Society Award and themight city of ask, Milwaukee, where the foreclosure know that you need resources that can help you Freddie Mac, and have regulators establish necessary? concept of owning a home is universalHUD goalisofawarding the acknowledges people or families, such as The the Starks, rate is currently 9.9a percent. close transactions, and you needand them at little or no qualified residential mortgage (QRM) qualified families inquality every corner world, here inStabilization America, Program, who have made a major impact on the of life of thefunds viaand itscertainly Neighborhood cost. NAR has just released an all-new FHA to Toolkit mortgage (QM) rules that all reasonable access in Dane County through their right?exceptional So isn’t aservice rally in support of thatalmost concept redundant or allocated to under which $4 billion is being online for FREE to help you get clients the financing credit for homebuying consumers. and commitment to the community. local and state governments for the redevelopment unnecessary? Bill Malkasian of abandoned and foreclosed houses. they need in a credit-strapped environment. It is WRA President Bolster commercial real estate lending Good Receives question. Yet there, in the middle of a city filled with an City Housing Authority one of the most comprehensive toolkits NAR has overabundance of government workers, andPersonal homeless, Sites: Not lobbyists Just for 100-Unit Grant We are encouraging to take to action to bolster® ever produced,Congress and it’s available all REALTORS Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (09/25/08) Pabst, Georgia who presumably share a common dream of having a nice place Connections Anymore liquidity in the commercial and multifamily real ® right now by visiting the link below. They alsoestate have Minneapolis-St. Paul Business (09/29/08) Grayson, to live,authority the National Association of REALTORS felt Journal the need to The city of Milwaukee’s housing is due marketlaunched to avoid astalling ourcalled nation’s Katharine new page “NAReconomic Helps Yourecovery. Navigate demonstrate themoney virtues of owning a home in America, for all to receive $6.7 million in federal Hope VI Americans to units see. will to build 100 new housing units. The 100 St. Paul, Minn.-based REALTOR® Teresa Boardman thethe Current Economy” where you of Preserve mission and purpose of can the find FHAdozens program


be constructed in a 2.5-mile area and will include says Flickr, Facebook and other social networking great products and resources, like the FHA Toolkit, So was that rally units; really necessary? 29 public housing and affordable rental We are encouraging Congress to ensure that the Federal sites make it easy to meet people who might for free or at a steep discount. Visit www.Realtor. nine affordable housing units for income-eligible eventually become clients. While many professionals Housing Administration (FHA) single-family program It was indeed necessary because today, in the wake of the Great to these great programs families; and 62 moderately priced, open-market are using these sites to make business contacts has theorg/NARHelpsYou tools and policiesforinlinks place to meet its mission of Recession, is a growing national debate, particularly in background condominiums. HUD Secretary Steven there C. Preston and companies use them to conduct and products. providing access to safe, affordable mortgage financing the hallsauthority of Congress, White House andnew numerous comments, “Milwaukee’s housing has the checks or recruit workers, federal many simply want for qualified borrowers nationwide. And to do no harm to regulatory agencies, questioning whether or people not ourwho nation invests demonstrated it has the leadership to lead and to connect with have similar interests. Loans Going Strong, Albeit a that the FHAHome program by advocating initiatives and policies revitalize neighborhoods excessively and transform lives. in promoting homeownership and whether those According to Boardman, “The hard sell is dead. It unfairly burden homebuyers. Bit Tighter, in Area Cities like Milwaukee changeinvestments and grow and need toor at least doesn’t work door-to-door, and to, it doesn’t caused, contributed significantly the work on Wisconsin State Journal (10/17/08) Balousek, Marv revitalize housing to make sure manyofaren’t priced market social On Flickr, Boardman connected collapse the housing andnetworks.” Great Recession that followed. Reauthorize the national flood insurance program out.” Milwaukee is one of a half-dozen housing with a fellow photographer who eventually used her Despite the ongoing national credit crisis, property authorities nationwide to Inreceive new VI aloneservices the long run,Hope history will hold answer, but in the short to the purchase a home. We are asking Congress to reauthorize the National Flood professionals say mortgage money remains available grants. run, the very essence of our long-standing, bipartisan, pro-housing

Insurance Program to ensure access to affordable flood throughout southern Wisconsin to home buyers Foreclosures Push the Rents Higher, insurance. tax and public policies is under attack. And during recently Housing Study Delayconcluded Frustrates Low Income Families NAR meetings Squeezing in Washington, these fundamental with solid credit. Ron Steinhofer, manager of Advocates MinnesotaofPublic Radio (MN) (09/21/08) Olson, Dan These pending issues will strengthen homeownership issues were the topic of hundreds individual meetings in the Marshall & Ilsley Bank’s regional home lending Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (10/07/08) Williams, Scott America, which is important not just for us or for the halls of Congress on Capitol In Hill. Minnesota’s Twin Cities, a wave ofinhome group, states, “There’s plenty of money for home Two years after promising the Milwaukee metro — it’s important for families and society. foreclosures has pushed more people into theeconomy rental loans out there. It is slightly more difficult to qualify Specifically, REALTOR from every corner America area’s first major housing study in three decades,® leaders Homeownership increases student performance, apartment sector. Theof result is met an intensifying than two or threeincreases years ago,healthy but if you have a good the Southeastern Wisconsin Planning delegations withRegional their congressional their staff, demand onand Minneapolis and asking St. Paul’sfor rental housing increases civic participation, lifestyles, Commission (SEWRPC) is still struggling get thekey pending their support to of these issues: stock, so much so that the vacancy rate is very low property credit score, a good and a down payment, increases values, andjobdecreases crime. And money effort launched. Proponents hope the study will and rents are on the rise. This, in turn, means lowhomeownership is important for politicians, too. There is available.” Steinhofer adds that banks still are Protect homeownership tax working benefitsfamilies face higher monthly rents serve as a catalyst for improving affordable housing income is nearly a 100 percent correlation making loans via such between programsowning as Fannie Mae opportunities throughout the city’s suburbs. But even though their income hovers at unchanging a home and and votingFreddie in elections! First and foremost, we are asking Congress to do no harm. Mac. Furthermore, credit standards commissioners have yet to assemble an advisory levels. Since 2005, the Twin Cities apartment While thea housing is improving, it is not stable. to closer to committee to oversee the research or set specific market vacancy rate has dipped fromyet7 percent remain about the same as they were six months ago, So was the rally really necessary? You bet. MorePhil than 20 percent of all homeowners morerents on their timetable for conducting the survey. Evenson, 4 percent. Average owe monthly over that same buyers can get loans And now it’smeaning up to that eachqualified of us tohome continue the commission’s executive director, said other than issuesthe home’s mortgages current market value. time span are fair up more than $25,The rising to more the processif they of educating policymakers have the proper income verification. On the keep getting in the way. The delays have frustrated most urgent need is anthan extension of the relief provided $850. The St. tax Paul-based Wilder Foundation and the general publicbanks on the virtues downside, have been of less willing to make housing advocates the most. Bethany Sanchez, recently reviewed income data for several in 2007 that assures individuals in foreclosure, short sales Twin Cities preserving, protecting and promoting vice president of the Metropolitan Milwaukee Fair organization’s found that the loans with higher loan-to-value ratios. In addition, or loan modifications counties. will pay The no income tax onresearch forgiving homeownership as our American Housing Council, laments, “It’s been a long time number people in those paying too much mortgage debt. Over the longofterm, during themarkets tax reform conventional financing without a down payment has coming.” The Pewaukee-based commission has Dream. for their rental housing will double from around debate, Congress must not impair the market by making indeed disappeared. However, 100 percent financing not conducted a comprehensive review of housing 70,000 currently to a whopping 140,000 changes to the mortgage interest deductions or property tax by 2010. patterns since the 1970s. is still available with Veterans Administration and Some say a partial solution would be for the U.S. deduction. These longstanding provisions are woven into the government to reverse course on housing policy and Rural Development home loans. fabric of our tax law as should remain. Secure the future of homeownership


wisconsin real estate magazine


june 2012

Real Estate

Wisconsin Real Estate Magazine™ is published by the WISCONSIN REALTORS® ASSOCIATION. Trademark issued pursuant to Wisconsin state statute; federal trademark is pending.

notes from the wra

Rob Keefe, Chairman

WRA Member Benefit: Save Up To 30% on UPS Shipping

Renny Diedrich, Chairman-Elect

Simple shipping and simple savings — it’s that easy!

Steve Lane, Treasurer

The relationship between WRA members and UPS dates back many years — and now, that relationship has gotten even better. With bigger discounts on an expanded portfolio of air and international shipping services, you can now save on express shipping. All this with the peace of mind that comes from using the carrier that delivers outstanding reliability, greater speed, more service and innovative technology.

Michael Theo, cae, President & CEO Editorial Staff:

Once you sign up, using UPS is simple. Packages can be processed from the “shipping” tab after logging in to www., and they can be dropped off at any of the 61,000 drop off points, including over 4,400 neighborhood locations of The UPS Store. If you can’t drop off your package, scheduling a pickup is easy, too. Call (800) PICK-UPS or click on the “shipping” tab at to schedule your same-day or future pick-up.

Michael Theo Publisher

Robert Uhrina Advertising

Once your package is shipped, you’ll always know where it is by using UPS Quantum View NotifySM. With this timesaving service, you can receive notifications when packages are picked up, when they are delivered and when there are exceptions. Exception notifications let you know when and why a package may not meet its originally scheduled delivery date and will provide you with a rescheduled date of delivery. These services and more are available to WRA members as a member benefit.

Lauren Bizorik Editor

Joe Leschisin Senior Designer

Note: Members currently enrolled in the UPS Savings Program must re-enroll to take advantage of this new exclusive offer.

Wisconsin Real Estate Magazine, USPS 597-850, ISSN 1548-0526, is published monthly by the WISCONSIN REALTORS® ASSOCIATION, 4801 Forest Run Road, Ste. 201, Madison, WI 53704. Periodical postage paid in Madison, WI and additional mailing offices. An annual subscription rate of $5 is included in membership dues and a copy is mailed to every paid REALTOR® and affiliate member of the association. Nonmember subscription rate: $60. POSTMASTER: please send address changes to the WISCONSIN REALTORS® ASSOCIATION, 4801 Forest Run Rd., Ste. 201, Madison WI 53704-7337.

Sign up today at

Broker Pre-license Education Hours Increase As of July 1, 2012, broker pre-license education hours will increase from 36 to 72 hours. If you are currently working on or have completed the 36 hours of broker pre-license education, please note you must complete the course, pass the license exam and apply for a broker license no later than June 30, 2012. As of July 1, 2012, the Real Estate Examining Board will require, without exception, all broker license applicants to provide evidence that they completed the 72 hours of broker pre-license education.

Permission to reprint or quote any material from this issue is hereby granted, provided the Wisconsin Real Estate Magazine is given proper credit in all articles or commentaries, and the WISCONSIN REALTORS® ASSOCIATION is provided with a copy of any reprint. Advertising of third party products and services herein does not imply endorsement by the WRA unless specifically stated. Furthermore, the WRA does not endorse, approve, or otherwise warrant the accuracy or legality of any information or content contained in advertisements. Any questions regarding advertising policies should be directed toward the editor.

For more information on the WRA’s broker pre-license education courses, visit

Appraisers Looking to Update Credential May Want to Act Quickly

Contact Us: 4801 Forest Run Rd., Suite 201 Madison, WI, 53704-7337 (608) 241-2047 • (800) 279-1972

The criteria to qualify for appraiser credentials will change effective January 1, 2015. At the present time, an individual begins the application process once the education requirements have been completed. The applicant then has up to 24 months to sit for the exam. After passing the exam, the applicant has up to 24 months to complete the other requirements including the experience requirements.

legal hotline: (608) 242-2296 • (800) 799-4468 general fax: (608) 241-2901 products/education fax: (608) 241-5168 legal hotline fax: (608) 242-2279 president fax: (608) 242-2267 e-mail: website:

An applicant seeking certification as a general appraiser needs at least 3,000 hours of appraisal experience obtained over a period of not less than 30 months; an applicant seeking certification as a residential appraiser needs at least 2,500 hours of appraisal experience obtained over a period of not less than 24 months; and an applicant seeking licensure as an appraiser needs at least 2,000 hours of appraisal experience obtained over a period of not less than 12 months. Because of these timeframes, a person who wants to obtain a credential as a certified general appraiser before the qualification requirements become more difficult on January 1, 2015 would need to apply by June 30, 2012 to have enough time for the 3,000 hours of experience and a certified residential hopeful will need to apply by the end of this year.

facebook: twitter: linkedin: youtube: wisconsin real estate magazine

See Wis. Admin. Code §§ SPS 82.01 & 83.01 at or contact the DSPS for further information. See a summary of the changes for 2015 at sd2f26fafefe402ab.


june 2012


news monthly wisconsin housing report

Both Home Sales and Prices Rise in April

View all housing statistics at

By David E. Clark, Economist, C3 Statistical Solutions


% Change



% Change

-3.6% 19.5% 2.4%

41,354 16,244 $122,000

41,128 13,545 $123,400

0.5% 19.9% -1.1%



New Listings Closed Sales Median Sales Price

11,793 5,218 $128,000

12,232 4,365 $125,000


Median Price APR-2012 APR-2011 % Change

Existing Home Sales APR-2012 APR-2011

% Change

Southeast South Central West Northeast Central North

$135,000 $155,525 $120,000 $117,500 $102,500 $100,000

2,017 1,029 527 903 306 433

30.3% 9.6% 17.6% 14.4% 16.8% 16.7%


he strong pace of existing home sales continued, with 10 straight months of double-digit sales growth. Home sales rose 19.5 percent in April 2012 compared to April 2011, according to the most recent monthly report by the Wisconsin REALTORS® Association (WRA). Home prices were also up for the second straight month, rising 2.4 percent to $128,000 in April compared to April 2011.

wisconsin real estate magazine

$137,500 $152,000 $125,500 $105,350 $103,450 $95,000

-1.6% 2.3% -4.4% 11.5% -0.9% 5.3%

half of all homes in the state sell between April and August. “We’ve been hearing from REALTORS® throughout the state that homes have been moving at a brisk pace, which bodes well for a strong summer of home sales,” said Keefe. “With 10 straight months of double-digit growth in Wisconsin home sales, I think it’s safe to say we’ve turned the corner on sales, and we’ve seen some preliminary signals that prices have begun to move upward,” said WRA President and CEO Michael Theo. The statewide median price increased 2.4 percent in April 2012 compared to April 2011. Regionally, about half of the regions in the state — the Northeast, North and South Central — saw median prices rise, whereas the others — the Central, Southeast and West — were still down compared to last year. “While we hope that prices have bottomed out, we can’t draw that conclusion from just two months of data,” said Theo. However, he noted that REALTORS® are becoming more bullish on prices, pointing to a recent REALTOR® Confidence survey conducted by the National Association of REALTORS®. The April survey of 4,490 REALTORS® nationwide indicated that 78

“After several years of a stagnate housing market, it’s encouraging to see sustained growth in home sales, especially as we enter the summer, which is the prime season for home sales in the state,” said Rob Keefe, Chairman of the WRA board of directors. He pointed out that all regions of the state saw their home sales rise by sizeable margins in April. Specifically, existing home sales rose 30.3 percent in the Southeast region of the state, followed by the Central, North and West regions, which saw home sales grow in the range of 16.7 percent to 17.6 percent compared to April 2011. The Northeast region was up 14.4 percent over that period, and the South Central region grew at 9.6 percent in April. In a typical year, just over




june 2012

1,548 939 448 789 262 371

percent of those surveyed believed that residential home prices will either remain constant or will increase over the next 12 months, up from 73 percent in the March survey. “If recent sales trends continue, it would not be surprising to see Wisconsin home prices appreciate in the next year,” said Theo. Still, housing remains very affordable in the state, with high inventories and very modest prices. The Wisconsin Housing Affordability Index, which measures the percentage of a median-priced home that a buyer with the median family income can afford, stood at 245 in April. This is down from a revised 261 in March. “With mortgage rates under 4 percent on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, those with good credit and a solid down payment can get a lot of home for their money,” said Theo. If prices do continue to rise, now is an ideal time to engage a local REALTOR® to find the best values in this market. For more information, contact David E. Clark, Economist, C3 Statistical Solutions Office phone: (414) 803-6537

WRA Launches Mobile Website By Joe LEschisin


ith the rapid increase of technological advancements and a shift to mobile-friendly devices, we are pleased to announce the WRA’s launch of its mobile website.

We are seeing a substantial progression to mobile usage on a national level and within the analytics of the WRA website. In 2011, we recorded 2.9 percent (8,044 visits) to the WRA website from a mobile device. In 2012, that percentage has already grown to almost 6 percent and is anticipated to steadily climb in the future. Our goal is to have 12 percent (25,000 visits) of all traffic to the WRA website in 2012 to be from a mobile device. It is imperative for the WRA to be a leader in this field and to take the necessary steps to better serve our membership. We believe that this added feature will be an essential part of the everyday activities of REALTORS®. On average, Americans spend 2.7 hours per day socializing on their mobile device. That’s over twice the amount of time they spend eating, and over a third of the time they spend sleeping each day. As you can see, people are using their mobile phones at an increased rate.

By 2014, mobile internet should take over desktop internet usage.

Features Our main goal for optimizing a mobile website is to provide a quick and easy way for members to search content and resources. Featured areas include: •

What’s Happening (Events)

Featured Topics (Courses and sales reports)


Press Releases


Housing Statistics

Legal Hottips

Continuing Education

Wisconsin Real Estate Magazine

Mortgage Calculator

Contact Information

To see the new mobile website in action, simply visit from a mobile device. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact me at or (608) 241-2047 Ext. 281. Joe Leschisin is the Senior Designer and Marketing Communications Manager for the WRA.

Scrolling Menu Eliminates the need to scroll to the top of the page to navigate somewhere else.

Responsive Design The WRA mobile website will function on any mobile device, no matter the platform.

Site Search Search every piece of content on the website in a matter of seconds. Feature will make it easier to find items with a few clicks.

Full Site Option In case there is a need to view the full WRA website, members can convert the mobile to full view.

wisconsin real estate magazine


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Shopping Cart Intuitive design allows visitors an easy method of registering for a class or purchasing an item.


NetWORTHing™ Is the New Way to Network! By Sarah Michel. CSP ©2012


wisconsin real estate magazine


june 2012

“It’s difficult to connect with people while pursuing your selfish agenda. By nature, connecting is a giving experience.” – John C. Maxwell


ave you ever been a victim of a network “drive-by?” Or personally violated by people claiming to be networking but are just out for themselves and what you can do for them? If you’ve been left with a bad taste in your mouth from networking and think it’s just for blood-sucking, shameless, self-promoters … read on! As I have traveled around the country speaking to people about the power of netWORTHing™, one fact has become clear: people are looking for a change. People have a lot of pain around traditional selfserving networking. Everyone has been burned by someone who, in the name of networking, is only pursuing their own selfish agenda. Networking, unfortunately has been very misunderstood and abused. I believe the true intention of networking, and the real spirit behind it, was good and was originally born from an abundance mentality. However, life is challenging; with a bad economy or scarce opportunities, many people fall into believing that change will never come — and believe that if they fail to fight for every morsel, they lose a slice of the business pie. This “scarcity mentality” lurks all around us, and we have to make a conscious choice to steer clear and not participate in it. Unfortunately, sometimes people inflicted with scarcity mentality will say that they’re networking, but all they care about is themselves and what they could take and get from you. They approach their network with their hands down, clawing away at any leads they can find, treating everyone as a transaction. NetWORTHers approach their network with a connecting mentality, with their hands up, saying, “How can I be a resource for you?” “How could my network of information, opportunities and

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connections be of value to you?” “How could my NetWORTH or social capital help you?” It’s impossible to push your own selfish goals. Great NetWORTHers are not born — they are created. NetWORTHers believe in the law of abundance. They believe plenty of business, ideas, clients, customers and jobs exist for everyone. To start netWORTHing™, you first start by intentionally standing at the intersection of life, looking for ways to connect people, opportunities and ideas. NetWORTHing™ is not about you — it’s always about them! My mother launched her real estate career during the height of the oil crisis in the mid 1970s during very similar economic conditions as we face today. People thought she was crazy with home sales at an all-time low. She persevered and kept looking for opportunities to communicate her value by standing in the center of her network and seeking out ways to connect people, opportunities and ideas. Since people tend to fix up their homes and wait out the housing slump, my mom decided she would serve as a clearinghouse for connecting independent carpenters, landscapers and painters with people who wanted to reinvest in their homes with updates. She never charged a commission or fee — instead she connected a lot of talented but hungry contractors with people who needed their services. Soon my mother’s name was well-known in our community as the “go-to person” when trying to find someone to work on a house. When the housing market bounced back — as it always does — my mother was the first person people called to list their homes. My mother’s reputation as a great REALTOR® quickly spread, and in 1979 she was inducted into the Million Dollar Club for the record amount of closings she did in her third year of being a REALTOR®.


People thought that her success was a case of “beginner’s luck” and that she just fell into the right place at the right time. They were wrong. My mother was really good at NetWORTHing™, standing at the intersection of life and looking for ways to connect people, opportunities and ideas. My mom saw everyone in her database and rolodex — all the people in her network — as dots just waiting to be connected to another dot. She believed her job was to be the connector, and she played human dominoes every day by connecting the dots for her clients. When my mom died 14 years ago, many of those painters and carpenters came to her funeral and told me that my mom had helped them start their business. One of them was a man from Russia who barely spoke English 28 years ago, but my mom loved his work and made sure everyone she met knew about him. He pulled me aside at my mom’s funeral reception to look out the window at a nice shiny van parked in front with his name on it. “Do you see that?” he asked. “I have five more vans and 15 painters who work for me now. You know why? … Because your mom started it, and now it’s your turn.”

Become a smart NetWORTHer and treat networking as a life skill — not just something you do to complete a transaction. As a result, you will not only become a leader who people want to get behind, but you will reap huge rewards both personally and professionally.

Every time you connect the dots for a colleague, a business partner or a client, you’re starting a domino effect. When you pull a resource out of your back pocket — because all REALTORS® have numerous resources in their back pockets — you start a domino effect. When you offer to connect two people you think need to know each other or send an e-mail out to your list to help someone in your network, you will start a chain of events that I guarantee will take you to places you never expected.

As you prepare for your annual 2012 convention in September, here are some tips to get you ready for the many netWORTHing™ opportunities that await you:

Any of these actions will cause a similar reaction nearby, which then will cause another similar reaction. No matter how big or small your action is, you will tip the first domino over and cause all the others to fall down in succession.

As technology drives our communication world further and further ahead, we have become a time-poor society due to an overload of e-mails, smartphones, instant messaging and Internet. People who communicate their value can quickly grab the attention of potential prospects as helpful and as ones people are desperate to connect with.


wisconsin real estate magazine


Ask yourself these questions to discover adding value to others: ◦◦

How could I be a resource to you?


Who do I know whom you should know? And what do I know that you need to know?


How could I be of value to you both personally or professionally?

Prepare some open-ended questions that start with who, what, when, how, why, and tell me. These will draw the

june 2012

other person out and give you clues for how you could be a resource to them. •

Do your homework and be prepared to talk about solutions and ideas you have learned about. Everyone goes to a conference to better themselves in some way or another, so make sure you’re prepared to help someone else get better.

This poem, written by Robert Muller, former Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations, captures the true essence and philosophy of NetWORTHing™. I hope it inspires you to look at how you network in a whole new light.

“Every time you connect the dots for a colleague, a business partner or a client, you’re starting a domino effect”

Decide To Network Use every letter you write, Every conversation you have, Every meeting you attend, To express your fundamental beliefs and dreams. Affirm to others the vision Of the world you want. Network through thought. Network through love. Network through the spirit. You are the center of the network. You are the center of the world. You are a free, immensely powerful source Of life and goodness. Affirm it, spread it, radiate it. Think day and night about it And you will see a miracle happen: The greatness of your own life. Not in a world of big powers, Media and monopolies, But of five and a half billion individuals. Networking is the new freedom, The new democracy, A new form of happiness. Robert Muller There has never been a better time to build your NetWORTH with your network than right now. If you want to be someone people will want to network with, then start today with a new game plan to approach your network with a giving attitude, looking for ways to be a resource to others. Always be on the lookout for clues as to resources — both personal and professional, information, connections and ideas that you have that someone in your network needs. Stand in the intersection of your network and live like a hub, and you will discover the secret to your success.

Sarah Michel, CSP is the general keynote speaker for the 2012 WRA Annual Convention. Visit Sarah’s website at for more information about her resources and services.

wisconsin real estate magazine


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Preparing Your Seller to Prepare the Home to be Prepared for Showings Part 1: Pets

By cori lamont


his article was born because of a Facebook posting. A Louisiana friend just reunited with her yellow Labrador Retriever, Emma. Apparently, Emma was let out of the house by an agent conducting a showing, and after a few days, she was returned unharmed and happy. However, Emma’s tale — pun intended — made me begin to wonder: what conversations are agents having with sellers when it comes to preparing their homes for showings? This conversation has many layers and requires a couple of magazine installments. The first: owners of properties for sale with pets, and the second installment in the July magazine will highlight other concerns, such as protecting the seller’s personal property and the safety of the agent. The family pet conversation can be a tricky one. For some sellers, the most important quality they look for in any person, including their listing agent, is how they treat the owner’s pet or pets. The appropriate way to address the family pet’s presence in the home during showings and open houses can be a bit like trying to navigate a boat through rockinfested waters at night — a slow, painful process that can leave holes and irreparable damage.

showings and open houses. Such options during showings and open houses may include: removing the pet from the property, kenneling the pet, placing the pet in a closedoff space, or placing the pet in the enclosed backyard. It is at this time that the agent will fully comprehend what that pet means to that seller and the agent’s appropriate approach.

Often agents are equipped to go into a seller’s home and provide direction as to room décor and color, suggesting removal of personal pictures and memorabilia, and packing away extra clutter. There is no quicker barometer to determine the love for the family pet until the agent begins to discuss options regarding the presence of the pet in the home during


wisconsin real estate magazine

Per lines 174-182 of the 2008 WB-1 Residential Listing Contract: OPEN HOUSE AND SHOWING RESPONSIBILITIES: Seller is aware that there is a potential risk of injury, damage and/or theft involving persons attending an “individual showing” or an “open house.” Seller accepts responsibility for preparing


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the Property to minimize the likelihood of injury, damage and/or loss of personal property. Seller agrees to hold Broker harmless for any losses or liability resulting from personal injury, property damage, or theft occurring during “individual showings” or “open houses” other than those caused by Broker’s negligence or intentional wrongdoing. Seller acknowledges that individual showings and open houses may be conducted by licensees other than Broker … Listing brokers should review this language with all sellers. According to the terms and conditions of the listing contract, the seller agrees to prepare the property for showings. This obligation would appear to include securing any pets. The listing also states

that the seller agrees to hold the broker harmless for any loss or liability resulting from personal injury occurring during individual showings or open houses unless the broker was negligent or there was intentional wrongdoing. Good communication between the listing and showing brokers would indicate if pets are present at the property and if any precautions need to be taken.

Tell the seller that this is as much about protecting your dog, cat, ferret, rabbit, snake, hamster, bird or pot-bellied pig as it is the buyer and cooperating agent. The ability of an open house host to monitor the activities of all guests is limited, especially if the agent is attempting to contain a pet throughout the home. I can personally recall watching a listing agent hosting an open house struggle with holding back the dog while watching the cat to ensure that neither of them made a break for the open door. The listing agent may even be able to persuade the seller to remove the pet all together from the home, and if possible, make sure all the pet’s toys, beds and the like are also put away. If a buyer is not a pet person, they may not be open to seeing a litter box right next to the kitchen island.

“The ability of an open house host to monitor the activities of all guests is limited, especially if the agent is attempting to contain a pet throughout the home.”

Illustrating a positive exchange, the listing agent called the cooperating agent to tell them, “the hamster got loose this morning and the family could not find where Lightning was before they left for work. So I wanted to let you know that the property is not infested with rodents; it’s just a family member on the lam.” In the event the buyers encountered Lightning, they were prepared. In contrast, while in the kitchen admiring the space, one of the buyers opened the pantry door and out flew Leopold, the seller’s ferret. Luckily, Leopold scampered off without injury; although the buyers did not fare so well. I am told that any time that a buyer opens an unfamiliar cabinet or door, they do so with great caution. The listing agent did not inform the cooperating agent of Leopold’s presence in the home, let alone a penchant for hanging out in the pantry.

The listing agent should clearly express to the seller that the suggestion of removing the pet from the property or placing the pet in a limited space is as much for the pet’s safety as it is for the prospective buyer’s and agent’s. While a seller assures you that their pet is nice and wouldn’t hurt a fly, you should politely remind the seller that not everyone is comfortable around animals and you want to make sure that their pet is safely secured, allowing buyers to focus on the home and not the pet or the buyers’ personal level of discomfort. Also, remind the seller that the buyers may have children, which could add another layer to the safety concerns for the pet.

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There is, however, a movement to promote the pet with the home. One staging blogger recently suggested staging the dog with the home. In her personal experience, she wanted to keep the dogs in the home and not locked up for hours in a small kennel. She dressed the dogs in matching sweaters and contained them in the laundry room with a gate. On the gate, she posted s sign with photographs where the dogs communicated their excitement for the prospective buyers to see the home and apologize if they were a little noisy due to the excitement. For more on this go to http://styledstagedsold.blogs. However the listing agent and seller decide to work the pet into or out of the home during showings, it is important to be candid and genuine about the concern for the safety of the pet, prospective buyer and cooperating agent. Cori Lamont is Director of Brokerage Regulation and Licensing for the WRA.


The picture shown here is an example of drywall that had to be replaced due to a leaking foundation and mold growth within the wall.


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Should the Seller Disclose? Why the broker should be glad that the seller’s attorney makes that call By debbi conrad


he listing agent hands the seller the Real Estate Condition Report (RECR) and asks him to please complete the form, explaining that she wants to have it on hand for prospects who visit the planned open house or come to showings of the seller’s home. The next day, the seller calls the agent to ask if he really has to fill out the RECR because he is unsure about how to respond to some of the RECR statements. Maybe he is uneasy because the neighbor told him that their end of the street used to be an apple orchard so there is a question about lead arsenate in the soils. Maybe it is a concern with potential groundwater contamination from the dry cleaning business that used to operate down the block, or perhaps he is nervous about the leaky basement that the basement contractors supposedly “fixed” a couple of years ago before or an underground storage tank that has never been removed. Naturally the seller believes his REALTOR® is an expert in all things involving real estate and can alleviate his concerns and answer his RECR questions. And of course the agent wants to provide excellent service to her client and demonstrate her value to the greatest extent possible, and she should — within reason and within the limits of the law. But when it comes to providing specific guidance regarding the completion of the RECR, the agent must tell the seller to consult with his attorney; the guidance the seller ultimately wants and needs amounts to legal advice and strategy. The listing agent may, however, be able to help provide a little assistance before the seller heads off to his attorney’s office.

Find the facts Is the apple orchard information the seller heard from the neighbor true? A licensee’s job is not to investigate, but a licensee can point the seller to sources of factual information that may help resolve the seller’s concerns if the issue is new. If the seller has specific documentation regarding the issue, for instance the reports from the basement contractor who fixed that leaky basement, the agent can encourage the seller to assemble this information for the attorney’s review. Once the seller has gathered all available reports and documentation, as well as any general information regarding the issue, it is time for the seller to visit his attorney.

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Is it a defect? “Defects” are defined in the RECR as those conditions that would have a significant adverse effect on the value of the property; significantly impair the health or safety of future occupants of the property; or if not repaired, removed or replaced, would significantly shorten or adversely affect the expected normal life of the premises. “Am aware” means to have notice or knowledge. The seller, in conjunction with his attorney, needs to decide whether the seller has notice or knowledge of conditions that fit the definition of a defect. For example, assume that chemical solvents used in a dry cleaning business down the street caused groundwater contamination. Is that a defect the seller should disclose under item C.17 that says, “I am aware of a defect caused by unsafe concentrations of, unsafe conditions relating to, or the storage of, hazardous or toxic substances on neighboring properties?” Factors entering into that decision may include results of any testing, if available, whether there has been remediation, and what scientists and other experts from the DNR may have reported with respect to the risk of future migration and if there is a distance from the original contamination site that is considered safe. It is the job of an attorney, not a real estate licensee, to review the scientific data and relevant information and determine whether there is a defect in this situation. Any time a legal definition or standard is applied to specific facts, the conclusion reached is considered a legal opinion. The attorney advises the seller whether and what the seller should disclose about the dry cleaning store contamination. Does the seller not disclose because the contamination is not on the property and the risk of it reaching the seller’s property is infinitesimal? If the decision is made to not disclose and the buyer’s family later experiences health problems traced back to the contamination, the seller may be sued for intentional misrepresentation or fraud under Wis. Stat. § 985.10 because of the failure to disclose. On the other hand, unnecessarily disclosing information about adverse conditions will detract from the seller’s ability to sell the house.


The bare minimum or the full scoop? If the attorney decides that the seller should disclose the issue, the next question may be how much the seller should say. The policy behind the RECR, and some of the provisions in the offer to purchase, is to provide the most information possible about the condition of the property so the buyer can make an informed choice regarding whether to proceed with the transaction, seek amendments to the contract or abort the transaction. The seller is the best source of information because the seller has lived in the property or had access to information about the property if the property is rented. The WB-11 Residential Offer to Purchase Inspection Contingency encourages sellers to make full and complete disclosures. Lines 425-426 state: “For the purposes of this contingency, Defects … do not include structural, mechanical or other conditions the nature and extent of which Buyer had actual knowledge or written notice before signing this Offer.” If the seller supplies a reasonably detailed description of the issue in the RECR, the seller diminishes the ability of the buyer to revisit the issue in the inspection contingency. If the buyer receives the RECR before signing the offer and the RECR includes a detailed description, it is less likely that the inspection report will disclose any new information about the condition. If, on the other hand, the seller does not disclose or provides a minimal response, then the buyer may be able to list the issue as a defect in the Notice of Defects and thereby put the success of the transaction in doubt. Despite this Inspection Contingency consideration, attorneys may advise the seller to provide only general information on the RECR. Their concern is that if a seller disclosure on the RECR later becomes an issue in litigation, an artful opposing attorney can more easily find a way to allege that the seller misrepresented the issue or deliberately omitted certain relevant details when a detailed explanation is given. The more the seller says, the more there is for opposing counsel to work with to find a way to allege that the seller misrepresented or concealed information. An attorney with this strategy in mind may advise the seller exactly what should be said, carefully choosing words that convey enough information so that the disclosure is accurate and truthful without giving more details than necessary.

Before or after? Under Wis. Stat. § 100.18(1), the false advertising statute, a homebuyer can sue a seller who makes a false, deceptive or misleading statement to induce the real estate sale if the buyer suffers a monetary loss as a result. § 100.18 lawsuits can be brought only with respect to representations made before an offer to purchase is accepted. Under § 100.18(11)(a), a successful buyer may recover any monetary loss together with costs and attorney fees from a seller. Some attorneys have advised sellers to not provide the RECR until after an offer has been accepted in order to avoid potential § 100.18 costs and attorney fees.


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yourChoice Is “as-is” the answer? If the attorney believes the seller should not disclose the issue, the attorney may advise the seller to not complete the RECR and to require that all offers be “as-is.” When a property is sold “as-is,” it generally means that the seller will not make property condition disclosures and will not cure defects. An “as-is” clause alerts the buyer that he or she is responsible to determine the condition of the property being purchased, that is, have the property thoroughly inspected and tested. “As-is” means that if the buyer goes through to closing and defects are later found, the buyer cannot go back to the seller for relief. The use of an “as-is” clause, however, does not necessarily mean that the seller may still not need to make disclosures about the property. The seller may be liable for misrepresentation if he or she actively conceals a defect or prevents a buyer from investigating the property and discovering the defect. The seller also may be liable if he or she makes false affirmative statements about the property, as was shown in Grube v. Daun, 173 Wis. 2d 30, 496 N.W.2d 106 (Ct. App. 1992) where a leaking underground storage tank contaminated the groundwater and the property’s well. The broker had represented to the buyers that the property was suitable for business, residential, recreational and family purposes. The broker asserted that since the property was sold “as-is,” he had no duty to investigate and disclose. The court held, however, that when a seller or an agent of the seller makes an affirmative representation about the condition of the property, the seller or agent is not protected by the “as-is” clause. The buyer is entitled to rely on the affirmative statement and expect full and fair disclosure of all material facts related to that aspect of the property. In Green Spring Farms v. Spring Green Farms, 172 Wis. 2d 28, 492 N.W.2d 392 (Ct. App. 1992), the seller failed to disclose that the property was contaminated with salmonella bacteria that had killed some calves. The court found that even if the transaction is “as-is,” the sellers have the duty to fully disclose the existence of conditions — like salmonella or underground storage tanks — which may be material to the decision to purchase and which the buyer is in a poor position to discover. Thus, the use of an “as-is” clause is not always going to provide an escape for the seller from making disclosures. With all of these factors to evaluate, perhaps the agent may not want the seller to share his concerns because the agent cannot provide legal advice to the seller regarding whether the issue constitutes a “defect” under the RECR, whether the seller should disclose and how much should be said or whether the seller should sell “as-is”. These are all strategic legal decisions impacting the seller’s potential liability — liability that the agent should not be anxious to share. See Legal Update 02.07, “Duty to Disclose,” at and the October 2009 Legal Update, “Diligent Disclosure,” at www.wra. org/LU0910 for further discussion of seller disclosure obligations.

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Debbi Conrad is Senior Attorney and Director of Legal Affairs for the WRA. wisconsin real estate magazine


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best of the legal hotline

with tracy rucka

Zoning: Why it Matters to Your Buyers and Sellers

The broker was asked about the difference between “general zoning” and “shoreland zoning” regulations. How can the broker explain the difference to potential buyers? There may be three forms of zoning involved in this situation: (1) general zoning, (2) shoreland zoning (county), and (3) shorelandwetland zoning (cities and villages with wetlands shown on the wetland inventory maps). General zoning is a regulatory land use planning tool used by local governments. Zoning regulates how a parcel of land may be used and the density of development. The area subject to zoning jurisdiction is divided into zoning districts and mapped. Then the zoning ordinance is adopted detailing applicable standards and rules that apply in each district. Within each district, certain land uses are permitted, known as permitted uses, and while other uses may be allowed if certain conditions are met, known as conditional uses, and a conditional use permit is issued. A buyer will need to determine what zoning category applies to


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the property and review the zoning ordinances to determine what is permitted. Although many local zoning ordinances refer to R-1 Single Family Residential or C-1 Commercial zoning, the permitted uses are not necessarily the same from community to community. Brokers should recommend the buyer investigate the ordinance before drafting an offer or draft an offer with a contingency to determine if the buyer’s intended use or building will be permitted or requires a conditional use permit. Wisconsin’s Public Trust Doctrine requires the state to protect public rights in the commercial and recreational use of navigable waters. One tool the DNR uses to accomplish this is the administrative code rules establishing the parameters of local shoreland zoning ordinances that limit development along navigable waterways. The first shoreland zoning rules were adopted in 1968 to protect Wisconsin natural resources, lakes and streams; they were designed to protect water quality and natural habitats from unrestrained waterfront development. Wis. Stat. § 59.692(1)(b) defines

“shorelands” as the area within one thousand feet from a lake, pond or flowage, or within three hundred feet from a river or stream or to the landward side of the floodplain, whichever distance is greater. Navigable waters are defined in Wis. Stat. § 281.31 as Lake Superior, Lake Michigan, all natural inland lakes within this state and all streams, ponds, sloughs, flowages and other waters within the territorial limits of this state — including the Wisconsin portion of boundary waters, which are navigable under the laws of this state.

buyer’s decision to purchase the property, a seller who has agreed to mitigation should disclose this information to prospective buyers. See the DNR impervious surface fact sheet at http://dnr. fact_sheet7-11.pdf

Wis. Admin. Code ch. NR 115 establishes the standards for county shoreland zoning ordinances while Wis. Admin. Code ch. NR 117 sets up the parameters for city and village shoreland−wetland zoning ordinances. Cities and villages are to establish a shoreland− wetland zoning district for all wetlands of five acres or more, and all portions of wetlands of five acres or more, which are shown on the final wetland inventory maps and which are located in shorelands within the incorporated area of the city or village. Counties, cities and villages adopt zoning ordinances to regulate activities within shorelands and shoreland-wetlands. Communities may decide to also regulate those wetlands that are smaller than five acres or outside the shoreland zone.

The buyer will be able to restore the property if it was damaged or destroyed by natural disaster. Nonconforming structures that were damaged or destroyed on or after March 2, 2006 may be rebuilt if the damage or destruction was caused by a natural disaster. Natural disasters include violent wind, vandalism, fire, flood, ice, snow, or mold infestation. In addition, given the recent changes to the statute, the buyer will be allowed to repair, maintain, renovate or remodel the nonconforming structure without limits based on cost. Previously, owners were limited to 50 percent of the assessed value for such repairs or maintenance. For more information regarding nonconforming structures, see Tom Larson’s article on page 27.

The Real Estate Condition Report has a new question - C26.m about shoreland zoning. Why is this in all the RECRs, and what are mitigation plans? Although all residential properties are not in a shoreland zoning district, item C.26.m was added to the RECR to assure sellers disclose if the property is subject to a shoreland mitigation plan with the DNR. It is important for brokers to keep in mind that property will be subject to shoreland zoning when it is 300 feet from a stream or river or 1,000 feet from a lake, pond or flowage. The fact that the property does not abut the water does not exempt it. For example, in Madison, many properties that would otherwise appear to be in the city are in fact subject to shoreland zoning because of the perimeter around lakes Mendota and Monona and the Yaraha river. Per Wis. Admin. Code § NR 115.02(4r), mitigation is defined as balancing measures that are designed, implemented and function to restore natural functions and values that are otherwise lost through development and human activities. The need to engage in mitigation may be triggered, for instance, if the owner wants to exceed the 15 percent impervious surface standard or expand nonconforming structures closer than 75 feet from the water. In such cases, property owners who agree to perform mitigation must record the mitigation plan with the local register of deeds. This means that the mitigation requirements will run with the land and will be applicable to future property owners as well. Mitigation activities may include restoring a natural vegetative buffer along the shoreline, or removing an accessory structure near the water. Because mitigation requirements could impact a prospective wisconsin real estate magazine


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The buyer is thinking about purchasing a home. The seller disclosed that his home is a nonconforming structure. The buyer is concerned about having the ability to repair the home in the event of a fire or storm that damages or destroys the home. What will he be able to do?

The seller sold his property to buyers in 2006. There were two garages on the property at the time of the sale. In 2009, the buyers discovered that the seller had pulled a permit for only one garage about 24 years ago and built the second garage without a permit. Is there a grandfathering clause similar to adverse possession that would allow the second garage to stay up? According to Wis. Stat. § 62.23(7)(hb), a non-conforming structure is a “dwelling or other building that existed lawfully before the current zoning ordinance was enacted or amended, but that does not conform with one or more of the development regulations in the current zoning ordinance.” The “development regulations” in a zoning ordinance are defined as “the part of a zoning ordinance that applies to elements including setback, height, lot coverage and side yard.” When a zoning ordinance is adopted or amended, there may be existing structures that may remain even though the structure does not comply with the new zoning ordinance. Whether this specific garage will be permitted to remain as a legal nonconforming structure — for example, grandfathered — will depend in part on whether the structure was in existence prior to the enactment of the zoning/ordinance that would not allow the construction of the second garage. If the building was built in compliance with a previous ordinance, the owner may be allowed to maintain the building as a non-conforming structure. The broker should encourage his client to contact an attorney to review the facts in question as well as the local ordinances to consider all his options. In addition, the attorney may assist in obtaining a variance if such action would be deemed prudent. Tracy Rucka is Director of Professional Standards and Practices for the WRA.



September 9-11, 2012 | Radisson Paper valley hotel - appleton Convention is the perfect place to network with colleagues, get recharged about your business, complete Continuing Education courses or choose from more than 40 workshops across three days. Whether you are looking for new ideas, marketing tips, sales strategies or a primer on new technology, there’s something for everyone.

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8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Exhibits Open

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8:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Real Estate CE – Course 3 New Developments

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September 10

8:30 a.m. – 11:45 a.m. Real Estate CE – Course 1 – Listing Contracts 8:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. Golf at Butte des Morts Country Club

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8:30 p.m. – 1:00 a.m. Icebreaker Party “Connections Carnival”

2:45 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. Workshops - Session 2

1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. Workshops - Session 1 5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. Women’s Council of REALTORS® Meet & Greet 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. Chairman’s Installation Dinner 9:00 p.m. – 12:00 a.m. The After Party

September 11

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8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Appraisal CE - UAD: Coping with the Aftereffects 8:45 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. General Session: NetWORTHingTM ... The New Social Economy 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Expanded Broker Track 10:30 a.m. – 11:45 a.m. Workshops - Session 1 11:45 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. CRS Lunch 1:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. Real Estate CE - Elective D – Financing 1:15 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. Workshops - Session 2 1:15 p.m. – 4:15 p.m. Expanded Broker Track 2:45 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. Workshops - Session 3 18

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WRA Annual Convention I September 9–11, 2012 I Appleton


Convention Photo Contest in Full Swing Not a photographer? Make sure to vote! The WRA’s Convention Photo Contest is already hopping, with more than 200 photos already submitted. Make sure your Wisconsin photos are one of them! You can view scenic and stunning photos from across the state taken by your friends and coworkers — and make sure to vote for your favorites. All Wisconsin REALTORS® are allowed to vote in the contest. The three photos with the most “likes” win prizes. The grand prize winner will receive a $200 Best Buy gift certificate and a free registration to the 2013 annual convention. And all entries have a chance to be published in Wisconsin Real Estate Magazine! The contest is open now through August 10, 2012 — but time flies! To submit photos and/or to vote, visit visit ConventionPhotoContest.

RE BarCamp Is Back and Ready for Wisconsin REALTORS® You’ll learn something new and have fun — at no cost!



This one-of-a-kind event, dubbed an “informal gathering of likeminded people,” is open to convention attendees at no additional cost. At BarCamp, REALTORS® gather together to freely discuss how technology, social media and other emerging trends can impact real estate. You’ll have the chance to network, share thoughts, and gain new ideas during three breakout sessions — all included in your registration fee! And new this year: The Tech Tailgate and Packer Party! With Sunday afternoon’s game, you won’t miss any highlights. Enjoy pregame snacks and beer during BarCamp, and once BarCamp concludes at 3:00 p.m., make sure to stick around until 6:00 p.m. to cheer on the Packers with your fellow REALTORS®! Visit for more.

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The WRA’s comprehensive, easy-to-follow self-study booklets allow you to complete your CE at your own pace and on your own schedule. You can then take the corresponding exam online when you are ready. Courses 1, 2, 3 and 4 as well as Electives A, B, C and D are available in this handy format. $27/course/member

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All pricing listed above is for Wisconsin REALTORS® Association members only. Non-member pricing is based on a different scale. 4- and 6-Pack pricing only available for On Demand. Commercial CE courses not offered in On Demand 4- and 6-Pack Options. Sold only as individual courses.

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Date October 1-5, 8-10, 2012


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UAD: Coping with the Aftereffects


Sales Pre-license Course


Radisson Paper Valley Hotel in Appleton




September 9–11, 2012

Appraisal Continuing Education



The 2009-2010 real estate continuing education is still available through On Demand, DVD and Self-Study Booklets: 1 – Listing Contracts Course 2 – Offer to Purchase Course 3 – New Developments Course Course 4 – Buyer Agency Agreements Elective A – Risk Reduction Elective B – 1031 Exchanges and Exchange Opportunities Elective C – Condominiums D – Landlord/Tenant and Property Management Elective E – Financing Elective F – Broker Supervision Elective 2011-12 Electives: A – Short Sales & Foreclosures Elective B – Environmental Matters Elective C – Other Approved Forms Elective D – Financing Elective

WRA Annual Convention


Location Madison

Member price Non-Member price $325*


* Plus books

sales training program

wisconsin real estate magazine


june 2012


product showcase

It’s Spring! Rejuvenate Your Motivation! By Nichole Mickelson


e all become disheartened at times. Given the conditions of the real estate market for the past few years, discouragement can easily take hold. With springtime comes a sense of revival, and revitalization is in the air with the market slowly on the incline again. Consider the products below for energizing — or re-energizing — your passion for making your real estate business the success you dream of.

Seven Figure Selling Dedicated to the restless and discontent salesperson, Seven Figure Selling is perfect for those looking to make a commitment to making the necessary adjustments to become a top-selling agent. Through the

21 Things I Wish my Broker Had Told Me

A perfect book for those who are just entering the industry, 21 Things I Wish My Broker Had Told Me is a compilation of information from some of the most successful industry professionals offering insight into the “real world” of real estate. The books boasts 23 chapters full of practical advice in an easy-toread format, covering topics like marketing, finance, organization, sales and legalities. Offering a realistic evaluation of what it takes to succeed in real estate, 21 Things I Wish My Broker Had Told Me is really a must-read for any real estate salesperson or broker. For more information and to order, visit PUB278.


wisconsin real estate magazine


tactical strategies and candid stories from the industry’s top sales professionals, learn about creating excitement and building trust, rewards of the payback philosophy, and predicting patterns of buying behavior. A collection of information based on these interviews, each section is designed to preserve the speaking voice of each professional. This is not a book for tips, techniques and strategies guaranteed to being sales prowess; it is an invitation to share in the hard-earned wisdom learned from legendary real estate salespeople. For more information and to order, visit PUB2757.

Free Publicity with HARO Help A Reporter Out (HARO) is a website designed to link news reporters to people for use as article sources. According to HARO, a variety of news sources, from The New York Times and to independent bloggers and local news media, use the website to find sources. The basic

june 2012

package — which is free — e-mails you three times daily for opportunities on queries from journalists looking for sources. For a monthly fee, you can add features like building a profile on the HARO website, receiving text alerts, and accessing HARO’s own database to search for opportunities anytime. HARO has a strict “no spamming” policy. Soliciting the journalists with additional advertisement is strictly prohibited. For more information and to enroll, visit HARO’s website at www.helpareporterout. com. HARO also is on Facebook at HARO and Twitter at @helpareporter. Share your real estate expertise and receive some publicity by becoming a news media resource with HARO! Nichole Mickelson is the Business Services Assistant for the WRA and oversees numerous WRA products.

Join the Dream Team Everyone’s idea of success is different. Some dream of independence. Others dream of being part of a team. No matter what your goals, Coldwell Banker is there to support you. It’s up to you.

Every Dream Deserves a Chance • wisconsin real estate magazine


june 2012


Realtor® sales tip

The ABCs of Entrepreneurship!


ver the past 20 years, I have developed my personal version of the ABCs of Selling, Leadership, Negotiating, Networking and Team-building. And now, the ABCs of Entrepreneurship!

and ideas as well as picking the brains of experts.


is for knowledge. Successful entrepreneurs constantly study their product and industry. Knowledge is power!


is for looking forward. Always look around corners and into the future.

Start at the beginning and follow your plan through to the end … and never give up! Come on, it’s easy as 1, 2, 3.


is for mentor. Find someone who has been around the block. Retired professionals are a marvelous resource. Then become a mentor to someone else and share your time and talents to pass on!

A is for ability. Entrepreneurs identify problems and solve them fast. Anticipation is key.

B is for business plan. This is priority number one. C is for cash as you must have money for success, N

is for never giving up. Amend your plans if needed but keep your eye on the prize. You will end up winning by not giving up!

but use it wisely.


is for delegate. You know what you do well and what you do poorly. Outsource and delegate to others!


is for opportunities. Whether you see a need that is unfulfilled or a problem screaming for a solution, you are seeing an opportunity. Go grab it! Open the door!

E is for ethics. If you have integrity, nothing else

matters. If you don’t, nothing else matters.



is for passion. With passion, you speak with conviction, act with authority and present with zeal.

is for failure. Few entrepreneurs make it the first time they try. If you can survive to try again, you haven’t failed.

Q is for quantify. Your goals must be measurable


so it’s necessary to have a standard to hold them to.

is for giving because givers are the biggest gainers. If you truly believe in what you are doing, give all you can give.

R is for risk. Entrepreneurs must be willing to take

risks. No risk, no reward.

H is for humor. We all experience tough times and S is for self-survey. Do you really want to do this humor helps pull you through.

for you or are you just trying to escape your own problems?


is for interpersonal relationships. Those with good people skills are able to adjust and survive as their business grows.

T is for target audience. If your concept is going to succeed, you have to identify an audience big enough to be profitable yet small enough for you to

J is for journal as in writing down your thoughts 24

wisconsin real estate magazine


june 2012

By marcus A. wally

service it thoroughly. We know this as our “sphere of influence”.


is for unflappable. Beyond the “don’t sweat the small stuff” mentality, you need to keep a level head and an open mind.


is for veracity. The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth is what your employees and customers deserve from you.

W is for work hard. And then work harder. X is for exercise regularly. I use the “X” for

exercise as if you don’t take care of yourself(number one)you can’t take care of others...and you don’t want to be “X”-ed out of business. Exercise releases endorphins, which allows you to increase your endurance that essentially increases the amount of work you can handle.


is for years, which is how long you may have to work to get your ideas and business off the ground.


is for zookeeper. When you are running the place, it’s up to you to keep all the dangerous things in their cages while bringing the visitors through the gates. And that concludes my list of rules for success as an entrepreneur. We’re all entrepreneurs — our own business operators! Marcus A. Wally, MBA, is an active Florida REALTOR® in St. Augustine, Florida. Marcus is the founder and broker of New World Realty, which also manages coaching and facilitation of education classes around the world. Marcus earned his MBA from the University of North Florida in Jacksonville. He can be reached at (904) 6691081 or by e-mail at


By joe murray

Wisconsin Recall Experience

Unprecedented The 2012 recall elections are historic. These elections, along with the state Senate recall elections of 2011, place Wisconsin squarely at the top of the charts as America’s recall leader.


n terms of size and scope, the recall election activity of the last two years is unprecedented. A governor, Lt. governor, and 13 state Senators, mostly Republicans, were forced to run and defend their actions on several significant issues, especially the vote that nearly eliminated collective bargaining rights for 175,000 public employees. To get a better perspective on just how unique the Wisconsin “recall fever” experience has been, consider these facts:

wisconsin real estate magazine


june 2012

Gov. Lynn Frazier (R)

Gov. Gray Davis (D)



Gubernatorial recall elections are extremely rare. Only two American governors have ever been successfully recalled from office, pending the outcome for Gov. Walker: Non-partisan League/Republican Gov. Lynn Frazier of North Dakota in 1921, and Democrat Gov. Gray Davis of California in 2003.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), only 18 states give their voters the power to remove state officials through recall, and only seven have used this power: Arizona, California, Idaho, Michigan, North Dakota, Oregon and Wisconsin. Since 1913, there have been 17 state legislators successfully recalled from office, including four from Wisconsin. In 2011 and 2012, 13 Wisconsin legislators were forced to defend their seats in recalls. The chart on the following page lists state legislators who have lost recall elections, not including the results of the four Wisconsin seats that stood for election June 5.


State Legislators in the U.S. Who Have Lost Recall Elections Year






Russell Pearce




Paul Scott




Dan Kapanke




Randy Hopper




Gary George




George Petak




Doris Allen




Paul Horcher




Bill Olson




Pat Gillis




David Serotkin




Phil Mastin




Aden Hyde




Fisher Ellsworth




Harry Merriam




Edwin Grant




Marshall Black


2011 State Senate Recall Election Campaign Spending “Recall fever” started in 2011 with nine Wisconsin state Senators forced to defend their seats in August elections. Six Republicans and three Democrats easily broke all the previous spending records for legislative races: •

Total spent: $44 million (candidates, political committees, interest groups).

Interest groups: $34.5 million of total.

Interest groups: Spent more on 2011 recalls than 1998, 2002, 2006 and 2010 races for governor combined.

Previous spending record: $20.2 million on all legislative races in 2008.

The question for political insiders is this: will the June 5 recall elections be the end of recall activity in Wisconsin? The 2011-12 recall elections were not just Wisconsin elections, they were nationalized. Outside interest groups, the national parties and other ideological organizations spent millions to influence the outcome. Will they be satisfied with the results or will they persist with more recalls in the future? Polling tell us voters have had enough. Time will tell if the political establishment is listening.

2011 Wisconsin State Senators Who Raced in Recall Elections

Rob Cowles (R)

Alberta Darling (R)

Sheila Harsdorf (R)

Jim Holperin (D)

Luther Olsen (R)

Senate District 2

Senate District 8

Senate District 10

Senate Distirct 12

Senate District 14

T S LO 26


Randy Hopper (R)

Robert Wirch (D)

Dave Hansen (D)

Dan Kapanke (R)

Senate District 18

Senate District 22

Senate District 30

Senate District 32

wisconsin real estate magazine


june 2012

REALTORS’® Guide to Wisconsin’s New Nonconforming Structures Laws


ith the enactment of 2011 Wisconsin Act 170, the regulatory environment related to nonconforming structures in Wisconsin has significantly changed. Because a “nonconforming” label on a home or building could raise concerns from buyers, lenders and/or title companies, REALTORS® should understand the new laws related to nonconforming structures and be prepared to answer questions that will likely arise. This article is intended to provide an overview of Wisconsin’s nonconforming structure laws, and a number of answers to commonly asked questions regarding the regulation of nonconforming structures.

Background In the past, local ordinances often placed significant limitations on the ability to repair, maintain, replace and expand nonconforming structures in an effort to cause the structure to be brought back into compliance or fall into a state of disrepair and functional obsolescence. As a result, nonconforming structures were often considered a “higher risk” by lenders and title insurance companies, which were often reluctant to offer financing and title insurance policies on these structures. To address these issues, Wisconsin lawmakers have enacted several laws over the last several years that have transformed the way wisconsin real estate magazine


june 2012

By tom Larson

nonconforming structures are regulated in Wisconsin. In 2006, Wisconsin lawmakers passed a law that allows nonconforming homes and structures to be rebuilt if destroyed by natural disaster. See 2005 Wisconsin Act 112. In 2009, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) updated the state’s shoreland zoning regulations (Wis. Admin. Code Ch. NR 115) to allow for unlimited maintenance and repair of nonconforming principal structures and more flexibility regarding expansions depending on how close the structures are located from the water. Most recently, in 2012, Wisconsin lawmakers made two other changes to nonconforming structure regulations: (1) local ordinances may not prohibit or limit the value of maintenance, repairs, and remodeling of nonconforming homes and buildings (see 2011 Wisconsin Act 170); and (2) nonconforming wet boathouses may be repaired and maintained without limits on the value of such repairs and maintenance (see 2011 Wisconsin Act 167).

Questions and Answers To better understand these regulations, the following is a list of commonly asked questions regarding nonconforming structures: •

What is the difference between a “nonconforming structure” and a “nonconforming use”? While it is a common mistake for “nonconforming structure” and “nonconforming use” to be used synonymously, they have


without limits on the value. Wis. Admin. Code § 116.15 (am). For purposes of floodplains, “ordinary maintenance and repairs” include internal and external painting, decorating, paneling as well as the replacement of doors, windows and other nonstructural components.

different meanings, and they are not regulated in the same manner. ◦◦


A “nonconforming use” is “a use of land, a dwelling, or a building that existed lawfully before the current zoning ordinance was enacted or amended, but that does not conform with the use restrictions in the current ordinance.” See Wis. Stat. § 62.23(7)(ab). Example: a commercial building located on a lot that is zoned exclusively for a residential use.

Can communities limit the value of maintenance, repairs or improvements to nonconforming structures? No. Local ordinances cannot prohibit, or limit based on cost, the repair, maintenance, renovation, or remodeling of a nonconforming structure. See e.g., Wis. Stat. § 62.23(7)(hb).

Can communities limit the value of maintenance, repairs or improvements to nonconforming structures located in shoreland areas? No. Local shoreland zoning ordinances cannot prohibit, or limit based on cost, the repair, maintenance, renovation or remodeling of a nonconforming structure. See Wis. Stat. 59.69(10e)

Can communities regulate the maintenance, repairs or improvements to nonconforming structures through a means other than value? Yes. State law prohibits local communities from banning or limiting the value of all maintenance, repairs or improvements to nonconforming structures. However, communities may regulate such activities based on health or safety concerns, size, materials or some other rational basis.


A “nonconforming structure” is defined as “a dwelling or other building that existed lawfully before the current zoning ordinance was enacted or amended, but that does not conform with one or more of the development regulations in the current zoning ordinance.” “Development regulations” are defined as “the part of a zoning ordinance that applies to elements including setback, height, lot coverage, and side yard.” See Wis. Stat. § 62.23(7)(hb). Example: a house that is located closer to one or more of the lot lines than the distance established by the setback requirement.

Are repairs and maintenance to wet boathouses limited to 50 percent of the equalized value being repaired? No. Wet boathouses (located below the ordinary high water mark) can be maintained and repaired without limits on the value of such maintenance and repairs if the boathouse meets the following requirements: (1) the boathouse was in existence on December 16, 1979; (2) repairs and maintenance do not affect the size, location or configuration of the boathouse, and (3) the maintenance and repairs do not result in the boathouse being converted into living quarters. See Wis. Stat. § 30.121(3c). Does the 50 percent rule apply to ordinary maintenance repairs of a nonconforming structure located in a floodplain? No. Property owners are allowed to make ordinary maintenance repairs to nonconforming structures located in a floodplain

wisconsin real estate magazine


june 2012

Can a homeowner rebuild a nonconforming structure in the same location if destroyed by fire or a storm? Yes. Wisconsin law allows nonconforming homes and structures to be restored or rebuilt to the same size if they are damaged or destroyed by violent wind, vandalism, fire, flood, ice, snow, mold or infestation. See Wis. Stat. § 62.23(7)(hc).

Can a homeowner tear down a nonconforming structure and rebuild it in the same location if the structure is not damaged or destroyed by natural disaster? Maybe. Unless the home was damaged or destroyed by one of the events listed above, state law doesn’t protect the ability of homeowner to tear down and rebuild nonconforming structures. Accordingly, local zoning ordinances will determine whether this type of rebuilding is allowed. • Can a nonconforming structure located in a shoreland area be expanded? Maybe. The answer depends on the type of structure and the distance that the structure is located away from the water. State law specifically allows principal structures, such as homes and commercial buildings, to be expanded in some cases. Wis. Admin. Code § NR 115.05(1)(g). However, expansions to accessory structures are regulated by local ordinance and, thus, the applicable local ordinance should be reviewed to determine whether such expansion is allowed. While state law allows expansion of nonconforming principal structures, expansions are regulated based on how close the principal structure is located from the water: ◦◦

No expansion if any part of the principal structure is located closer than 35 feet from the water.


Only vertical expansion, to a maximum height of 35 feet, of principal structures is allowed if the structure is located between 35 feet and 75 feet and local mitigation requirements are satisfied.


No limits on expansion, other than general building regulations, of nonconforming principal structures behind the 75-foot setback.

While state law regulates many aspects of nonconforming structures, local ordinances may impose different regulations. For questions related to specific properties, REALTORS® should always consult the local zoning administrator in the community where the property is located. If you have additional questions regarding the regulation of nonconforming structures, please contact Tom Larson ( at (608) 2408254. Tom Larson is Vice President of Legal and Public Affairs for the WRA.

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WHEDA’s low interest rate!


ow is the time to take advantage of WHEDA’s low, 30-year fixed interest rate. The WHEDA Advantage has everything your first-time buyers need to become successful homeowners including down payment assistance, job-loss mortgage protection,

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June 2012 - Wisconsin Real Estate Magazine  
June 2012 - Wisconsin Real Estate Magazine  

Networking Revamped - It's Not About You, It's About Them!