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Old 11-01-2013, 08:21 PM
 
173 posts, read 360,952 times
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I was born and raised in Southeastern Wisconsin, but at 19 ran away with the Army and have never lived there as an adult. My husband is looking to retire from the military in about 5 years, and we are looking at moving back to the area (primarily looking at areas like Cedarburg, Port Washington, Germantown, Hartford - so North/Northwest of Milwaukee).

What are property taxes like? I grew up hearing my parents complain, but are they really that bad? We have owned homes in Tennessee and North Carolina. How about income tax? I know sales tax is not bad at all. We have lived in places where sales tax was 10%, so Wisconsin's sales tax always seemed like a relief.

Thanks for any help.
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Old 11-01-2013, 08:57 PM
 
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Well... they're definitely not as low as they are in Tennessee and North Carolina but Washington and Ozaukee County are the lowest in the Milwaukee area. They're all going to be pretty comparable property tax wise, but the amount of house you'll be able to get in each of them at the same price is going to be much different. Cedarburg is the most expensive out of the bunch, followed by Germantown. Port and Hartford will be pretty similar. Figure property taxes on a $200k house in any of these towns to be between $3500 and $4000 per year. You can save a bit on taxes if you're out of town a little bit - for example in the Town of Cedarburg or Town of Port Washington, but then you won't have things like city water or sewer.

Not sure what your budget is, but just for point of reference, $200k is going to be tough in town in Cedarburg, it'll get you a ranch in Germantown, and a two story home in Port and Hartford. Cedarburg is definitely the most desirable out of that group. It has a great main street and hosts a number of large festivals throughout the summer. Along with Port and Hartford, it has everything from turn of the century houses to new construction. Germantown is much newer with most of the homes built in the 60s and later and a lot of newer subdivisions. Hartford is pretty far out. You wouldn't want to live there if you were working downtown. Hope this helps.
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Old 11-01-2013, 09:13 PM
 
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Brian - thanks for the response! We are paying around $3500 a year now for property tax on our home in NC, not sure what we are paying on the one in TN. I grew up in the Hartford area, so I know it is a bit of a haul. I just don't think I want to do that kind of commute again. My husband and I have decided that we want to stay on the Interurban bike trail route. We just looked at some websites at homes available in those areas, and it seems like the better deals (for the moment) are in Cedarburg. We do want to be in a neighborhood, and I have quite a few fond memories of Cedarburg. So that is our front runner for the moment.

I will say that from listening to my friends and family back in Wisconsin that you guys are getting more bang for your tax dollar than we are down here. Taxes are comparable, but the schools down here are pretty poor and the crime is out of control. Of course this could just be a bad case of the grass being greener (although in that case I KNOW your grass is greener due to our "soil" being 98% sand!).
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Old 11-01-2013, 11:09 PM
 
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Out of that group, I'd definitely choose Cedarburg. I grew up down the road in Mequon, so I'm pretty familiar with the area. I don't think you can go wrong there. It has some really nice neighborhoods. The interurban is great and is paved all the way to Port Washington now. They even built a bridge over I-43 for it. Cedarburg schools aren't in the very best group in Milwaukee, but they are solid and definitely above average. I wouldn't think twice about sending my kids there.

Good luck and welcome back to Wisconsin! Keep us posted on your move!
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Old 11-04-2013, 08:24 PM
 
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Just stay out of Milwaukee County, the rate is 3% of assessed value.
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Old 11-05-2013, 03:56 PM
 
Location: Sector 001
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I'd choose Saukville or Port Washington. The interurban trail is paved through Oostberg at least that's where it ended the last time I took the road bike up it when I visited.
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Old 11-07-2013, 04:13 PM
 
Location: Whereever we have our RV parked
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Look before you leap. Property taxes are high. Keep in mind, Wisc. has one of the highest tax burdens of all 50 states. It has generous welfare benefits, and govt. employees have good wages and generous retirement plans. There are web sites that have more specifics on Taxes by state. I'd suggest you check those out, especially when it comes to military retirement pay. Some states exempt it and some do not. Also keep in mind the cost of home heating. It ain't cheap either. Good property in nice areas tends to be on the expensive side also. Yes, I live in Texas but grew up in West Bend.

I particularly like this state as it breaks down what they tax and the rate, and what they exempt.
https://www.retirementliving.com/taxes-by-state
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Old 11-07-2013, 07:24 PM
 
173 posts, read 360,952 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by augiedogie View Post
Look before you leap. Property taxes are high. Keep in mind, Wisc. has one of the highest tax burdens of all 50 states. It has generous welfare benefits, and govt. employees have good wages and generous retirement plans. There are web sites that have more specifics on Taxes by state. I'd suggest you check those out, especially when it comes to military retirement pay. Some states exempt it and some do not. Also keep in mind the cost of home heating. It ain't cheap either. Good property in nice areas tends to be on the expensive side also. Yes, I live in Texas but grew up in West Bend.

I particularly like this state as it breaks down what they tax and the rate, and what they exempt.
https://www.retirementliving.com/taxes-by-state

Thanks for the great link! Military retirement isn't taxed in Wisc. "All retirement payments from the U.S. military employee retirement system, the Coast Guard, the commissioned corps of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Public Health Service are exempt" according to the website.
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Old 11-10-2013, 09:40 AM
 
Location: 2016 Clown Car...fka: Wisconsin
738 posts, read 813,696 times
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Property taxes in Wisconsin are not necessarily the worst, but if you're coming from a lower cost-of-living state, then taxes become 'relative' to everything else.

Gasonline. You will pay more per gallon of gas here than you probably are now.

Heating and air conditioning (as augiedogie mentioned). If you have lived in more of a temperate climate for a while now, you may have forgotten how cold the winters are and how hot and humid the summers are. Again, everything's relative. Our cost per kWh is around 13 cents (give or take), but there are very few days when one of them isn't running with regularity.

Sunshine. While Wisconsin does have some beautiful days weather-wise, the number of sunny days here is only about 185 and stretches of non-sunny days can be 5 days or more.

Just thought I would add that extra 'food for thought'.

RVcook
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Old 11-10-2013, 07:24 PM
 
173 posts, read 360,952 times
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I really appreciate everyone's input! I will say that we have lived everywhere from south Georgia, to the Pacific Northwest, a bunch of states in between and even Germany. You want hot and miserable? Head to south GA anywhere from May to September. The first summer I was there I cried when a sales clerk told me that it would not cool down until October. I had never lived in a place (up until that point) that was so hot during the summer than I would not go out because it was oppressive. Grey days? The Pac NW grey autumns and winters, and Germany's short winter days will do it for you. High taxes and cost of living - yup, we've been there, too!

The choice for Wisconsin has to do with people, places, and events/traditions. Now I just need to find the perfect spot. After living in NC for this time I am having sticker shock when looking at home prices. :/ We will be coming to Wisconsin after 4 years in Germany, so hopefully my expectations will be gone by that time!
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