CLEW Publications

Wisconsin Real Estate Law

by Scott C. Minter and Debra Peterson Conrad

[Formerly by Walter Raushenbush and James McDonald]


2017 edition, 618 pages, $55.00

Completely Revised, Updated, and Expanded

The law school is proud to offer the 2017 edition of Wisconsin Real Estate Law, a book with a long history of service to the Wisconsin real estate community. Because earlier editions written by Walter Raushenbush and James MacDonald were widely used and referred to, Wisconsin Real Estate Law is regarded as a standard reference on real estate transactions for brokers, salespersons, lawyers, and other professionals.

The new edition of Wisconsin Real Estate Law (2017) completely updates the prior 2014 edition. It emphasizes the many changes resulting from new forms, new legislation, and recent court decisions. Each chapter of the respected treatise is updated to reflect changes and trends in Wisconsin Real estate practice.

As with past editions, the Wisconsin REALTORS® Association has participated with the University of Wisconsin Law School in the authorship. This collaboration provides Wisconsin REALTORS® with practice-oriented discussions on contemporary legal and regulatory issues facing real estate professionals and parties in real estate transactions.

The new edition contains the current versions of many common real estate forms and provides thorough explanations of legal issues and practice problems that commonly arise in Wisconsin transactions.

Special Features of the 2017 Edition

  • Completely updated text
  • Helpful discussions and updated explanations tied to the new listing contract
  • Expanded and updated discussions on important topics, such as the listing contract, agency duties, offer to purchase, disclosure obligations, and real estate licensure, closings, trust accounts, and landlord-tenant
  • Updated chapters on closing issues, housing discrimination, land use controls, trust accounting and landlord/tenant
  • Updated collection of real estate statutes and administrative regulations

Contents of the 2017 Edition

Chapter 1: State Regulation of Real Estate Brokerage

  • The General Structure of State Regulation of Real Estate Brokerage
  • The Real Estate Examining Board's Rule-Making Power
  • The Board's Licensing Power
  • Licensing: Real Estate Broker or Salesperson
  • The Board's Disciplinary Power
  • Regulation of Time-Share Salespersons
  • Preemption of Local Regulations Relating to Brokers and the Practice of Real Estate

Chapter 2: The Firm, the Broker, and the Salesperson

  • The Real Estate Licensee's Role
  • Definition of "Firm"
  • Definition of "Broker"
  • Definition of "Salesperson"
  • Firm, Broker, and Salesperson Compared and Contrasted
  • Personal Assistants and Teams
  • The Real Estate Licensee, Filling Out Forms and the Practice of Law

Chapter 3: Agency Roles of the Firm, the Broker, and the Salesperson

  • The Concept of Agency
  • The Firm, Broker, and Salesperson as Agents
  • Mandatory Agency Disclosure
  • Multiple Representation
  • Multiple Simultaneous Transactions
  • Respondeat Superior
  • Self-Dealing Rules
  • Agency Law Terminology
  • When a Licensee Fails to Fulfill the Duties Owed to Parties

Chapter 4: Disclosure and Misrepresentation Issues

  • The Importance of Disclosures
  • Consequences of Improper Misrepresentation
  • A Firm's Basic Disclosure Duties: Material Adverse Facts
  • Exceptions to the Firm's Disclosure Duties
  • The Seller's Disclosure Reports
  • A Firm's Inspection Duties
  • Difference Between Puffery and Misrepresentation
  • Intentional Misrepresentation
  • Negligent Misrepresentation; Strict Responsibility
  • Did the Buyer "Justifiably" Rely on the Misrepresentation?
  • Economic Loss Doctrine
  • False Advertising Remedies under § 100.18
  • Theft by Fraud under §§ 943.20 and 895.466
  • "As-Is" Clauses
  • Difference Between Representations and Warranties
  • Interstate Land Sales Full Disclosure Act
  • Use Value Assessments
  • Disclosure of Sex Offender Information in Real Estate Practice

Chapter 5: The Listing Contract

  • Listing Contract Overview
  • What the Law Requires in a Listing Contract
  • The Listing Process
  • Marketing Considerations
  • Commission Issues
  • Other Listing Features
  • Listing Contract Endings
  • Listing Protection after Expiration of the Listing

Chapter 6: Buyer Agency

  • Buyer Agency Overview
  • What the Law Requires in Buyer Agency Agreements
  • Authority to Act as Buyer's Agent
  • Buyer Clients Working with Other Agents
  • Buyer Agency Practice Issues and Rules
  • Collecting the Buyer's Broker's Fees
  • Buyer Agency Endings
  • Working with Out of State Brokers

Chapter 7: The Offer to Purchase

  • Preliminary Considerations
  • Offer, Acceptance and Binding Acceptance
  • What the Law Requires for an Enforceable Offer; the Statute of Frauds
  • Parties to the Offer
  • Description of Property
  • Terms of the Transaction
  • Title and Method of Transfer
  • Property Condition Provisions
  • Contingencies
  • Other Provisions in the Offer to Purchase
  • Delivery and Presentation of Completed Offers
  • Board-Approved Forms

Chapter 8: Closing the Real Estate Transaction

  • Closing in General
  • Typical Closing Documents
  • Furnishing Title Evidence Before Closing
  • Title Insurance
  • The Closing Title Search
  • The Danger of Construction Liens
  • Escrow of Closing Funds
  • Closing Statement
  • Closing Prorations
  • Costs of Future Recording
  • Bill of Sale
  • Wisconsin Real Estate Transfer Fee
  • Internal Revenue Service Reporting Requirement (1099-S)
  • Transfer of Residential Rental Property
  • Recording Instruments that Contain a Social Security Number
  • Falsifying Title Insurance Documents
  • Uniform Real Property Electronic Recording Act
  • Ban on Local Time of Sale Requirements

Chapter 9: Real Estate Trust Accounts

  • Introduction
  • Definition of "Trust Funds"
  • Sources of Trust Funds
  • Types of Trust Fund Payments
  • Difference Between "Client Funds" and "Trust Funds"
  • Trust Account Requirements
  • Handling Trust Deposits and Disbursements
  • Disbursements
  • Property Management Trust Funds
  • The Bookkeeping System
  • The Cash Journal
  • The Ledger
  • Account Reconciliation
  • Trial Balance
  • Sample Reconciliation and Trial Balance
  • Validation
  • Computerized Trust Accounting
  • Trust Account Problem Areas for the Firm
  • Who is Responsible for Handling Trust Account Funds?
  • Retaining Trust Account Records
  • A Review of the Legal Requirements for Trust Funds
  • Department Explanation of the Trust Account Bookkeeping System

Chapter 10: Contract Interpretation and Remedies

  • Introduction
  • Contract Interpretation
  • Interpreting the Contract Language: Rules of Construction
  • Ambiguous Provisions
  • Omitted Provisions
  • Contract Drafting Tips for Licensees
  • Contract Remedies
  • Specific Performance
  • Damages
  • Reformation
  • Rescission
  • Mutual Mistake
  • Election of Remedies
  • Interest, Attorneys Fees, and Costs

Chapter 11: Description of Real Estate

  • Importance of a Sufficient Description
  • Government Survey
  • Metes and Bounds Descriptions
  • Plats, Subdivisions, Condominiums, and Certified Survey Maps
  • Street Address
  • Reference to Appearances or Outside Facts
  • A Sufficient Description
  • The Source of Descriptions
  • Adverse Possession

Chapter 12: Deeds

  • Deeds: Elements
  • Deeds: Types
  • Standard Forms of Deeds
  • Executing a Deed in a Sales Transaction
  • Problems of Designating the Grantor in Deeds
  • Designating the Grantee
  • Other Problems in Preparing Deeds
  • Delivery of Deeds
  • Satisfying Formal Conveyance Requirements Without a Deed

Chapter 13: The Land Contract

  • The Land Contract in Real Estate Transactions
  • Land Contract Provisions
  • Difference Between Land Contract and Offer to Purchase
  • Comparing the Option and Land Contract
  • Comparing the Deed and Land Contract
  • Comparing the Lease and Land Contract
  • Comparing the Mortgage and Land Contract
  • Choosing Between the Land Contract and Mortgage
  • Complying with the Wisconsin Consumer Act
  • Transfer of the Buyer's Interest Under a Land Contract
  • Transfer of the Seller's Interest Under a Land Contract
  • The Standard Form of Land Contract
  • Completing and Executing the Land Contract

Chapter 14: Mortgages

  • Mortgages in Real Estate Transactions
  • The Mortgage Papers: The Note and the Mortgage
  • The Debtor-Mortgagor's Equity of Redemption
  • Consequences of the Mortgagor's Equity of Redemption
  • Special Types of Mortgages
  • Common Mortgage Provisions
  • Selling Mortgaged Real Estate
  • Transfer of the Lender's Interest—Assignments of Mortgage
  • Filling in the Mortgage Form and Formalities of Execution
  • Mortgage Satisfaction Affidavit for Residential Mortgages
  • Mortgage Fraud
  • Predatory Lending
  • Subprime Mortgage Lending
  • Regulation of Mortgage Markets by Federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
  • Fraud Enforcement and Recovery Act
  • Wisconsin Foreclosure Reconveyances Law
  • Recent Changes to the Foreclosure Process

Chapter 15: Title Designations: Ownership, Management, and Control

  • Interests in Real Estate
  • Ownership Interests
  • Rights to Possession of Real Estate
  • Nonpossessory Property Interests
  • Homestead
  • How Ownership is Held
  • Single Ownership
  • Unmarried Co-Owners: Rights and Duties of Tenants in Common and Joint Tenants
  • Tenancy in Common
  • Joint Tenancy
  • Marital Property Law
  • Marital Property Agreements
  • Domestic Partners
  • Trusts
  • Condominium and Cooperative Ownership
  • Time-Share Ownership
  • Ownership, Management, and Control
  • Designating Titles to Real Estate
  • Who Must Sign Instruments of Conveyance as Sellers or Grantors?
  • Unmarried Persons as Sellers or Grantors
  • Married Persons as Sellers or Grantors
  • How Should the Buyers or Grantees Take Title?
  • Unmarried Persons as Buyers or Grantees
  • Married Persons as Buyers or Grantees
  • Real Estate Transfers at Death

Chapter 16: Antitrust Law

  • Introduction
  • What is Antitrust Law?
  • Sherman Act
  • Federal Trade Commission Act
  • Sherman Act "Per Se" Violations
  • Price-Fixing
  • Group Boycotts
  • Tying Arrangements
  • Other Real Estate Industry Antitrust Issues
  • Antitrust Law Enforcement
  • Potential Risk Exposure

Chapter 17: Lead-Based Paint Issues

  • Lead-Based Paint Issues
  • Common Law Developments
  • State of Wisconsin Certification Requirements
  • 1999 Act 113—Wisconsin's Lead-Based Paint Immunity Bill
  • Federal Lead-Based Paint Disclosure Rules
  • Nonresidential Transactions
  • Lead-Safe Renovation Rules

Chapter 18: Consumer Protection

  • Introduction
  • Federal Consumer Protection Laws: Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
  • Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA)
  • Federal Truth in Lending Act and Regulation Z
  • Federal "TRID" Rules: Integrating Provisions of Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) and Truth in Lending Act (TILA)
  • Wisconsin Addendum TR to the Offer to Purchase – Timelines and Closing (TRID)
  • Mortgage-Related Rules
  • Credit Reporting Act
  • Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
  • Debt Collection in Wisconsin Consumer Transactions
  • Wisconsin Consumer Act
  • Regulation of First Lien Residential Real Estate Loans – Wisconsin Statutes Chapter 428
  • Interest Rate Regulation
  • Buyer's Protections as to Quality and Suitability
  • Homeowner's Insurance Issues
  • Right to Cure Law; Disputes Related to Construction and Remodeling

Chapter 19: The Law Against Discrimination In Housing

  • Introduction
  • What Housing is Covered?
  • Who is Protected by Fair Housing Laws?
  • What is Prohibited?
  • Wisconsin Equal Opportunity Law
  • Municipal and County Fair Housing Ordinances
  • Housing for Older Persons
  • Occupancy Standards
  • Advertising
  • Additional Protections for Persons with Disabilities
  • Americans with Disabilities Act—Public Accommodations, Commercial Facilities, and Private Entities That Offer Educational Courses
  • New Construction Accessibility Standards
  • Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing
  • Disparate Impact
  • Fair Housing Enforcement
  • Testing
  • Regulation of Real Estate Licensees
  • REALTOR® Code of Ethics

Chapter 20: Land-Use Controls

  • The Planning Process in General
  • Private Planning by Restrictive Covenants and Easements
  • Comprehensive Public Planning and "Smart Growth" Law
  • Zoning
  • Zoning Authority
  • Zoning Concepts
  • Subdivision Regulations
  • Official Map
  • Shoreland Development
  • Floodplain Zoning
  • Wetlands and Navigable Waters
  • Property Rights Legislation
  • Regulation of Piers
  • Burial Sites and Historic Properties
  • Wisconsin Working Lands Initiative and Program

Chapter 21: Landlord-Tenant Law

  • Introduction
  • License Requirements
  • Rental Listings
  • Tenant Screening
  • Types of Rental Agreements
  • Leases Over One Year Must be in Writing
  • Recording Leases for More Than One Year
  • Required and Customary Rental Agreement Provisions
  • Signatures on Leases
  • Informal Rental Arrangements
  • Residential Rental Practices
  • Rights and Duties Between Landlord and Tenant
  • Transfer of the Landlord's or Tenant's Interest
  • Termination of Tenancies
  • Content of Termination Notices
  • Manner of Giving Termination Notices
  • Curing the Default
  • Eviction Proceedings
  • Voluntary Termination by Agreement Prior to End of Term
  • Termination of Periodic Tenancies and Tenancies at Will
  • Tenancy Termination Based on Imminent Threat of Serious Physical Harm
  • Landlord's Duty to Mitigate Damages
  • Rental Unit Energy Efficiency Requirements
  • Commercial and Farm Leases


About the Authors

SCOTT C. MINTER is a senior lecturer and program attorney at the University of Wisconsin Law School. He has co-authored each edition of Wisconsin Real Estate Law since 1994.  He has also authored Wisconsin Real Estate Trust Accounts and co-authored Wisconsin Real Estate Clauses published by the law school. Mr. Minter was a contributing author of the 1998 edition of Titles to Real Estate, authored by James Vance. He has served as a member of the Real Estate Contractual Forms Advisory Council of the Wisconsin Department of Regulation and Licensing from 1984 to 2016.

DEBRA PETERSON CONRAD is director of legal services for the Wisconsin REALTORS® Association (WRA). Before joining the WRA, she was in private practice, emphasizing real estate, condominium, small business, trusts and probate law. Her responsibilities for the WRA include writing the monthly Legal Update, drafting WRA forms and other publications, supervising the WRA Legal Hotline (8,000 REALTOR® calls per year).  She co-authored the 2008, 2010, and 2014 editions of Wisconsin Real Estate Law.

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