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Wisconsin Department of Revenue’s Real Estate Transfer Return Data Site

 
 

When recording a property conveyance deed and other instruments, a seller of real estate is required to file a Real Estate Transfer Return (RETR) with the county Register of Deeds. Since July 1, 2009, a seller must electronically file (e-file) a return under state law.

This site provides “read only” access to RETR data.  Grantor and grantee social security numbers and telephone numbers on a RETR are confidential; however, the return and the information obtained from a return may be released per state law (secs. 77.265 and 77.265(9), Wis. Stats.).  Under Wisconsin Law, the non-confidential information in a RETR is public information.  The data is updated weekly.

RETR information is often used to determine a property's market value.  The best indicator of market value is transfers representing arm’s length transactions. The following list identifies the characteristics of an arm’s length sale:

  1. The property must be available on the open market for a period of time typical of the turnover time for that property type
  2. Both buyer and seller must be knowledgeable about the real estate market
  3. Both buyer and seller must be knowledgeable about the uses (present and potential) of the property
  4. There must be both a willing buyer and a willing seller, with neither compelled to act
  5. Payment for the property must be in cash, or typical of normal financing and payment arrangements for the property type

Note: Not every RETR represents an arm’s-length transaction.  Transactions such as family sales, correction deeds, and delinquent tax sales generally are not considered arm’s-length transactions, but still require filing a Transfer Return.  RETRs do not convey title, but are tax documents.

The Wisconsin Department of Revenue assumes no responsibility for the accuracy of the data contained on the RETR and will not aid in its application or analysis.

Contact information: otas@revenue.wi.gov