Looking to sell your house yourself in Milwaukee?
The #1 reason homeowners in Milwaukee sell a house by owner is to avoid realtors and commissions. Traditional listing agreements will make you pay 6% to an agent when selling your property (even if you bring a buyer).
If you have opted to skip the “traditional” route, we have laid out a simple, 5 step process for selling your property yourself.
Step 1: Understand the pros and cons of selling a property by owner
Your first step in selling your house is understanding the differences between a FSBO and an MLS Listing with an agent.
The biggest pros are saving on realtor commissions, control of the process, and scheduling your time frame based on your needs.
The cons are marketing the house yourself, fewer offers on your property, and more legwork on your part.
Weighing the pros and cons will give you a good idea of what might best fit your situation.
Step 2: Fix up or sell “as-is”
It’s tempting to get a contractor to repair your property so it looks nice and pretty once you advertise it to the market. But you need to put pen to paper to figure out if that makes financial sense to you.
Fixed up properties do sell for a higher price, however, repairs can take months and the costs of holding the property (mortgage payments, taxes, bills, etc.) may not be worth it.
On the other hand, selling as-is allows you to move quickly and sell your house fast. You’ll also save yourself the headache of trying to find good contractors and spending money on repairs
Step 3: Set a competitive asking price
Pricing your property is not as simple as asking what you “want” out of it or asking the same as you paid for when you bought it.
Look at what similar houses (same beds, baths, sqft, etc.) have been sold for in the neighborhood. That will give you an idea of what your house will be worth.
Also, keep in mind that timing makes a difference. If you’re okay with waiting a few months to sell, you might be able to get a higher sales price. Need to sell ASAP? You are better off selling at a little bit of a discount with a quick, cash sale.
Updates play a major role in sales prices as well. Have you put a lot of money into the property? You can price it higher than houses in worse condition. Does it need a lot of repairs? Pricing below market value will make it easier to sell.
If you’re still not sure about pricing, hire an appraiser for $300-$500. A professional will come out to your home to evaluate it and provide a report as to his pricing opinion.
Step 4: Pictures & Marketing
This step may be time-consuming, but well worth it. After all, the first thing buyers will take a look at is pictures. Look for ways to declutter and clean. Paint some walls here and there if possible. Now whip out your smartphone and take pictures of every room.
You can also hire a professional photographer or a home staging agency. While both can cost you a few hundred bucks, you’ll certainly get more buyers interested.
After you have properly taken pictures, it’s now time to advertise your home. Start with Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, and Zillow’s For Sale By Owner page. You can market on other websites, but the majority of people will find your house in these three. Make sure to describe your home thoroughly, include your price and contact information.
You can also sell to a cash buyer. Dairyland Home Buyers LLC buys houses cash in Milwaukee and throughout the state of Wisconsin. Check out how we work here.
Finally, list your property on the MLS for a flat-fee listing. In this case, the realtor is out of the picture and you will arrange showings, and make negotiations with a buyer or with a buyer’s agent. Commissions are a set price – usually a few hundred bucks. This option will generate a lot of exposure and is ideal for someone with real estate experience.
Step 5: Handle closing
Closing is a completely legal matter. Usually will be handled by a title company or closing attorney. It is customary for closings to occur with a Title Company in the state of Wisconsin.
Have them provide you with a simple contract for an off-market listing or hire a lawyer to prepare one. Get the contract signed with the buyer and open escrow with the title company where earnest money will be held.
Wait for title work to be cleared, then schedule closing and get your check (or wire) on the closing day 😉
The Bottom Line
Selling a house by owner in Milwaukee is more complicated than with a real estate agent. Expect to do more work yourself. However, if you have the time, it’s well worth it for the money you can save.