Commonly Asked Questions - Residential Real Estate
Does an Offer have to be in writing?
Yes.  Verbal agreements to buy or sell real estate are not enforceable under Wisconsin law.  A written Offer should be prepared and must be signed by the Buyer and the Seller in order to be binding.
Who drafts the Offer?
The protocol is that the Seller puts the Property on the market and the Buyer prepares and presents the Offer to Purchase, often with the help of an attorney or a real estate broker, if the property is listed with a broker or the Buyer has hired the broker as an agent.  On occasion, the Offer is accepted by the Seller as drafted, but it is more likely that the Seller will prepare a Counter-offer.
Are there standard forms that should be used to make an Offer?
Yes, there are standard forms promulgated by the State of Wisconsin Department of Regulation and Licensing that all real estate brokers are required to use.  Most lawyers use the standard forms with modifications or riders.  The Residential Offer to Purchase is Form WB-11.  We strongly recommend that the Wisconsin-specific forms be used rather than generic forms that are sold at stationery and office supply retailers.  Please note that there are separate forms for Condominium and Vacant Land transactions.

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