How to Sell a House as an Owner in Wisconsin?

Selling your home can be surprisingly time-consuming and emotionally challenging, especially when you are doing it for the first time, or without the assistance of a real estate agent.

That is because you have to put in a lot of extra effort to make up for going completely Realtor-free. This includes exploring everything by yourself – the legalities, the processes, and even the listing platforms.  

With the right insights, you can make the selling process a lot more fun and much less expensive. Want to know how? Here is a comprehensive guide on selling your house in Wisconsin.

For Sale By Owner Guide for Wisconsin

Step 1: The Basics of Selling a House in Wisconsin

Selling your house is so much more than putting a “for sale” sign on your lawn. It comes with a learning curve that requires you to address many legalities and information that can eventually help you avoid costly mistakes. 

However, before exploring them, let’s start with the basics and give you an overview of what selling a home looks like in Wisconsin.

So, let us start by assessing your situation and determining what works for you – selling FSBO or working with an agent.

a) Pros and Cons of going FSBO (For Sale By Owner):

Now that you have taken it upon yourself to sell your house, you should know what you are getting yourself into.

By listing your property as For Sale By Owner, you save yourself the commission you will otherwise have to pay an agent in Wisconsin, which is an average of 5.93%.By going 100 percent relator-free, you will potentially receive fewer offers. Plus, if your property is in a remote location, you may end up selling your home for a lot less in much longer of a timeframe.
As a seller, you will have complete control over the listing and marketing strategies. It means you get to decide where you will list, and how you will market.Marketing efforts require time, hard work, and money, which can be a little overwhelming for a lot of first-time buyers.
When you list as FSBO, you also have control over the showing schedule and open houses.Managing a listing can be painstaking. We mean, imagine answering calls, scheduling, showing, and coordinating open houses all at the same time!
You will be on your schedule and take out time to find the perfect buyerYou may still have to pay commission to the buyer’s agent as 88 percent of buyers in the United States purchase their home through a real estate agent or broker. Source

b) Pros and Cons of Working with an Agent:

An agent will handle all the legal matters for you, listing your property in the local Multiple Listing Service (MLS), signage & possibly some additional marketing.You will have to pay the Realtor a commission for their services. The commission can go as much as 5.81% of the total sale price in Wisconsin.
Hiring an agent will save you a lot of time and energy. They will handle the clients and schedule the showings as well.Listing with a Realtor means that you will have to work around your Realtor’s timeline, which could mean lag time from when an offer is presented to when you hear about it. Or, if your Realtor is eager to sell, he might pressure you to reduce the list price to something less than what you were hoping for so that he can make a sale.
You will save yourself a lot of time and energy by hiring a Realtor – be it in terms of handling clients or scheduling showings.

Are you wondering how you can avoid this long list of cons? Or at least alleviate some of them? Well, RealtyHive can surely help you with that. 

If you wish to sell FSBO and do not know where to begin with your marketing efforts, we can help and guide you to more offers and a successful sale.

Moreover, if you are working with an agent and feel that they are not doing enough or that you’d like to see more activity on your property for sale, we’ve got your back there as well. We can work with your agent towards getting more offers, and your property off the market as soon as possible. 

And, if this isn’t enough, we can even feature your property in one of our very successful Time-Limited Events. This range-style pricing creates a sense of urgency, triggering the buying impulse, hence, leading to more buyer interest, more offers, and a higher final sales price!

Plus, we even offer cashback through our Cashifyd feature to the buyer at closing, enticing them even more to place an offer! But, don’t worry; this is all paid for by the Buyer’s Agent. Sounds like a win-win situation to us; what about you? 

Click here to learn more about RealtyHive and our offerings.

c) Do you have to have an attorney or a real estate agent to sell your house in Wisconsin?

Technically speaking, the answer is no. Unlike in few other states, there aren’t any legal provisions in Wisconsin that emphasize or even mention the mandatory role of a real estate agent in selling a property. Likewise, there are no provisions provided by law for an attorney as well.

You don’t “need” a real estate agent to sell your home. You can do it yourself with exemplary dedication and the right action plan.

However, the same cannot be said for an attorney. During your home selling journey, there will be times when you will have to involve an attorney. That’s because an attorney is the only person if you aren’t working with a Real Estate agent that can:

  • review the buyer’s offer to purchase
  • draft your counter-offer or make amendments to existing offers
  • determine the closing cost
  • prepare a deed and other documents required at the time of closing
  • ensure that the buyer meets all their legal obligations
  • collect the agreed-upon money at the time of closing
  • assist you on all legal fronts – with conflicts and even questions

Reference: Link

d) What legal documents should you have before putting your house on the market?

Here are a few documents you should have before you sell your house. Having these documents readily available will not only help you list your home quickly in Wisconsin but will also help you dodge hiccups in the later stages.

  •  A plan or survey of your property
  • Either a deed or your mortgage agreement
  • The most recent real estate tax bill
  • Condominium documents, if your home is a condominium
  • Homeowner association rules and fee schedule (if applicable)
  • Real estate condition report

e) What are some disclosures that you need to make before putting your house on sale?

Disclosures are pretty crucial when selling a house. While you may be tempted to sell your home ‘as-is’ – without any disclosures, failing to report specific issues can have legal repercussions on you later. Plus, it may even derail your sale.

Reference: Link

In Wisconsin, all the disclosures must be presented before the buyer on what is known as a “real estate condition report.”

As the name suggests, this document reports your property’s condition, informs buyers about the existing problems, and may eventually decide your house’s market value.

So, in a nutshell, having an excellent real estate condition report is not only a mandatory provision but is crucial if you want to sell high in the state of Wisconsin.

Here are some disclosures that have to be on your report:

  1. Structural Defects: The seller must disclose the existing defects on the property’s significant elements; you can define significant elements as:
  • Something that can alter your property value
  •  Something that poses a health or safety risk to future inhabitants
  • Something that may shorten the lifespan of the listed property

Reference: Link

2. Legal Issues: You need to disclose the persisting legal issues of your property (if any) in the report. It can include but is not limited to property line disputes, shared well agreements, encumbrances, etc.

For more info, you can read this link.

Besides the disclosures mentioned above, here are some other disclosures necessary according to the state of Wisconsin’s: 

  • A disclosure that your house was constructed before 1978.
  • Disclosing whether or not there have been any incidents of lead-based paint hazards in your house in the past. If so, you will even have to provide the inspection report on the same as a disclosure in the report.

f) What are your rights as a seller in Wisconsin?

Now that we have talked about your legal obligations, let us also address your rights as a seller in Wisconsin.

  • As a seller, you are free to list, advertise, get your property inspected, and put a reasonable price on it.
  •  As a seller, you can set some parameters for potential buyers before they make a purchase.  For example, a seller can demand a certain deposit amount before closing a deal or before the buyer’s mortgage loan verification.
  • As a home seller, you have the right to either accept or reject an offer on legitimate grounds. These can be:
    • The offered price was low.
    •  The prospect has an unstable financial situation.
    • You changed your mind about selling your house.

Reference: Link

g) What are the costs involved in selling a home in Wisconsin?

It is a no-brainer that selling a home comes with considerable expenses. So you must be aware of these costs before listing your property on the market.

They are:

  1. Title Insurance:  This insurance is a document that protects buyers from claims against their ownership of the property. As per Wisconsin’s law, this insurance has to be handled by the home seller before the closing of a sale. This document protects buyers from ownership problems like fraud, court judgment, unpaid taxes, and forgery.
  2. Transfer Tax: The cost that the “grantor” or seller must bear for transferring the property title. The state of Wisconsin charges the transfer tax based on the sale price. They charge at a rate of $ 0.3 for every $100 (or fraction thereof) of the purchase price. Additionally, you may be responsible for local transfer taxes that are decided by the local authorities.
  3. Costs Associated with Survey Issues or Remedying Title: This cost is circumstantial. It incurs only when issues are surrounding the title or the survey of your property. It bears an attorney’s total cost (for advice plus resolution) if any such problem occurs. 
  4. Municipal/Local Government costs: These are the localized costs you need to pay when you successfully make a sale in Wisconsin. These may include but aren’t limited to stamp taxes, recording fees, or other fees imposed by the county, city, or town.
  5. Attorney fees: While you may want to dodge any extra costs associated with selling your house, attorney fees will be something you won’t be able to avoid. Even though you may not need an attorney during the whole selling process, they are essential for making deeds that close all your real estate interactions. 
  6. Fees associated with a Realtor/marketing platform/or auction website: If you want your Wisconsin home to be off the market quickly, these costs are somewhat inevitable.

But why do you have to pay?

Realtor: As a private seller, you will have to pay realtors on a few fronts, be it for their assistance in listing your property on an MLS or for their help at the closing. 

These fees are fair as they ensure a smooth selling process and a quick closing for your home.

Marketing platforms much like RealtyHive can help your property gain visibility and traction with their various campaigns and events. 

Investing in such marketing platforms can help you reach out to potential clients and get qualified leads. Thus, helping you land more offers. Auction Websites: With online auctions, and their time-bound approach, you can attract many buyers and shorten your sales timeline. And if things go well, you can even get an excellent price on your home!

Step 2: Making preliminary preparations

Now that you have a clearer picture of the legal considerations and the basics of selling a house in Wisconsin, it is time to strategize and get things done to get the best offers.

a. Deciding when to sell

There is no specific season that’s best for selling a house in Wisconsin – wrong!

If you look at the stats provided by WRA, you will understand that there are certain months during which Wisconsin’s real estate market booms both in terms of the number of sales and the median selling prices.

Understanding these Wisconsin local market trends and timing your home sale accordingly can make or break how quickly your house will sell. And sometimes, it can even pay dividends.

RegionThe month with the greatest number of salesThe month with the highest price
North Region

Ashland, Barron, Bayfield, Burnett, Douglas, Florence, Forest, Iron, Langlade, Lincoln, Oneida, Polk, Price, Rusk, Sawyer, Taylor, Vilas, and Washburn
Central Region

Adams, Clark, Juneau, Marathon, Marquette, Portage, Waushara, and Wood
North-East RegionJulyAugust
Brown, Calumet, Door, Fond du Lac, Green Lake, Kewaunee, Manitowoc, Marinette, Menominee, Oconto, Outagamie, Shawano, Waupaca, and Winnebago
South-Central Region

Columbia, Crawford, Dane, Dodge, Grant, Green, Iowa, Jefferson, Lafayette, Richland, Rock and Sauk
South-East Region

Kenosha, Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Racine, Sheboygan, Walworth, Washington, Waukesha
West Region

Buffalo, Chippewa, Dunn, Eau Claire, Jackson, La Crosse, Monroe, Pepin, Pierce, St. Croix, Trempealeau, Vernon

After evaluating the data of Wisconsin housing statistics, it is very evident that the best months for putting your house up for sale are May, June, and August.

You can even find information specifically on your county here if you want to study your real estate thoroughly. This link will fetch you all the relevant data and help you set a timeline for your sale.

b. Pricing your house

If you do not know what your house is worth in the real estate market, the chances of your success as a private seller are pretty slim. 

As important as it is to price your home correctly, it is not always the easiest.

Homes that are listed at far too high of a price often sit longer in the market. Due to this, sellers tend to lower the listed price multiple times to find a suitor. 

However, this doesn’t work well the other way round either. If you list your house below the market value, you won’t always make a profitable sale, even if you receive tons of offers.

So, what to do? Price your home correctly!

How? Well, usually, when real estate agents are in the picture, they are the ones that recommend your house’s value and its potential selling price. However, as a private seller, you do not have that luxury. So, in that case, you have two options:

Either you hire a surveyor to get an unbiased opinion on your property’s price, or you determine the price of your home with a “comparative market analysis.”

Comparative market research gauges your property’s value by comparing it with other properties that were on sale in the same neighbourhood in the last six months. Although essential, location isn’t the sole parameter of this analysis.

Here are five easy steps to do comparative market research for your Wisconsin property

  1. Location and time: Find the prices of properties that have been listed/sold in the last 6-months within a quarter to half a mile radius from yours. If you have no idea where you would find such information, you can always visit RealtyHive’s listings search tool to find properties in Wisconsin.
  2. Pay attention to details: Once done, shortlist properties in terms of location and screen homes that bear similarities to yours; this can be in terms of land size, age, interiors, etc.
  3. Do some digging:  For a more accurate comparison, screen houses that have been off the market for the past six months. Then, compare the original listing prices and selling prices of all these houses. Next, find any withdrawn or expired listings in your area (listing agreements that ran without a deal). Finally, if there have been any, find out the reason behind the withdrawal/expired listings. It will help you evaluate what not to do to sell your home.
  4. Analyze: Now that you have gathered all the relevant data, it is time to analyze it as per market conditions. Once you do that, you will know which listed property/properties are closest to yours.
  5. Price your home: Take a 10 percent variance and decide your optimum price. While doing so, always remember to leave room for negotiations.

    Reference: Link

c. Maximizing Your Home’s Value

To secure the best offer for your home, you will have to make it look presentable. Even though this part requires manual labour, it is the most rewarding part of the whole selling process. 

To make your home presentable, start by cleaning, decluttering, and then moving your belongings to storage. 

We also recommend considering cosmetic repairs so that your home looks more presentable to your potential buyers. 

Quick fixes also help to ace the aesthetic game. For this, we advise you to switch dim bulbs for brighter ones and replace old window treatments to make your house bright, airy, and open.

If you have the funds, you can even get the rooms in your house staged with rental furniture to attract more customers.

Apart from maximizing your property’s value, even get your pre-sale home inspection done during this time to shorten your selling timeline.

Note: Try avoiding heavy repairs and renovations as they are time-consuming. However, if such repairs add significant value to your home, you can get them done once you calibrate their feasibility from a financial standpoint.

d. Clicking Amazing Pictures of Your Property

As buyers are doing online research more than ever before, it’s imperative that your listing makes a lasting impact on anyone who comes across it.

And, needless to say, nothing makes a listing more attractive than multiple high-quality pictures. No, seriously, it has been observed that homes ($200,000 to $ 1 million range) that include high-quality photography sell for $3000-$11,000 more.

Plus, think about it, when you go online to buy something, you click on products that please the eye. So, it only makes sense to entice buyers with amazing pictures.

  •  Use only the latest smartphones with fantastic camera quality to click pictures. If you do not have the newest model or your phone camera is below par, stick to a professional camera. If you do not have one, borrow or rent one. If you have the budget, we highly recommend hiring an experienced real estate photographer as professional images can help you sell 39% closer to your original requested price.
  • Don’t forget to use wide-angle lenses to make your space look big and airy.
  • Post more photos on the listing websites. Homes with more photos sell faster. A home with one photo spends 70 days on the market; however, a home with 20 plus photos spends only 32 days on the market on an average. 
  • Click aerial pictures or get drone footage of your house. Houses that are listed with them sell 68 percent faster, and there is no doubt why.
  • Use well-lit recent photos without including yourself or your family in any of the pictures.
  • Edit your photos before you list them. Be cautious and do not go overboard while editing the images. Your potential clients won’t be happy if they learn that the online property was far from reality. So, do the usual lighting and contrast.

Reference: Link

Step 3: Listing your house

Now that you have equipped yourself with ample information on the subject. It is time to test the waters and select how you’d like to list your home for sale.

You can either follow the traditional way of listing (by putting up a “for sale” sign, distributing flyers, posting on newspapers, etc.) or list where the whole world is at – the internet.

Why should you list your property online?

Listing your house online can help you sell your property from the comfort of your home. 

It will screen out people that are actually interested in your property for you. Thus, saving you from unnecessary showings. 

Another good reason to list your home online is the limitless exposure of the internet that will help you attract a lot more buyers and grab even better offers.

Where can you list your home online?

Multiple Listing Website:

MLS or Multiple listing website is a property listing database used by licensed real estate agents and brokers to list homes or properties. If you are working with a Realtor, your home will be added to the MLS as part of the agreement.

Although the platform is for agents only, as an FSBO seller, you too can list your property to the local MLS by purchasing a “Flat-Fee MLS listing.”

A state-licensed real estate agent or broker will work as your access point to the MLS platform and provide you with an MLS entry-only service in a Flat-Fee MLS listing. You will still be the primary seller/point of contact and retain all the rights to sell it, except it won’t be 100 percent FSBO. This option will still get your property into the MLS without being as expensive as hiring a full-service real estate agent.

Social Media

With the world coming online, putting your home up on social media platforms is another excellent strategy to attract multiple potential buyers.

Take Facebook, for example; its robust ads can help you reach a larger audience depending on your willingness to spend. On Facebook, you can also find real estate groups to post about your property and attract interested clients.

Instagram can be equally valuable with its region-specific hashtags and ad campaigns that may attract buyers looking for houses in your locality.

Moreover, the advanced searches of Twitter and Linkedin can also help you get all the eyeballs on your listed house.

If you are still on edge with social media, look at this pros and cons list to decide.

Social media can help your property reach a larger audience.If you are selling solely through social media listing, there is no timeline on when you will make a successful sale.
It can give you a unique buyer pool.Paid for advertising on social media requires a lot of time, energy, and resources. In addition, you’ll have to be consistent and keep a close eye on all your accounts.
You will get instant feedback on how a vast audience takes your property. In addition, it will enable you to opt for various strategies.You may never know if your efforts will bear you the kind of results that you wish for.
It’s free to post on your page, marketplace, and in local groups.You may have to engage with many clients online, which can be overwhelming.

Auction or Time-Limited Event Listing

As the name suggests, an auction listing is where you can list your home online for an auction or Time-Limited Event. The bidding will take place online-only, and with RealtyHive, sellers can accept offers before the online auction occurs. As the seller, you have the option to select when you’d like the auction to take place and can consider offers prior to the event or wait to see bids come in during the online bidding event.

Real Estate auctions are an accelerated real estate marketing process that will help you increase the scope of your prospects. They also help you get more exposure and higher offers than your expectations due to the competitive bidding atmosphere.

While an auction listing provides instant market value to your home, it also enables you to put a minimum price on it so that whatever you earn is above your expectations.

References: 1, 2

Accelerate the process of sellingBidders can select what they’d be willing to pay (within the constraints of your set “minimum”)
Multiple Potential BiddersCost added with listing on these auctions
More exposure and creates a unique offering that stands out to buyers
Additional marketing options
Unique buyer pool – some buyers specifically look to purchase homes via auction.

With RealtyHive’s Time-Limited Events, you can list your home in an online real estate auction to get your property more activity and increase the likelihood of your home selling.

RealtyHive has over 30 years of experience in the real estate realm and is known for its track record of selling 1,000s of properties in the auction-style format.

Our time-Limited Events can help you sell your house in Wisconsin faster.

Click here to learn more about the company and its offerings.

In short, you want to get your home in front of buyers in every possible way as you never know who will be “the one” for your house.

Simple ways that can increase the prospects of selling your house:

  1. Write an engaging description of your home and add all the relevant details to it. Your listing should adequately define your property, condition, style, area, location, and everything.
  2. Ensure you only use good (preferably professional) pictures of your house while listing your home. Again, we have documented that above.
  3. Be consistent with your marketing efforts. And if you have the bandwidth, list your property on a Time-Limited Event or an Auction. Such events induce urgency, which is great to get any property off the market quickly. RealtyHive’s Time-Limited Events are best when it comes to such events. Try it yourself, and you will thank us later. 
  4. Reach out to your network and ask your friends and family to reshare your listings on their social networking website.
  5. Host open houses.
  6. Go live and host virtual tours on your social media to give buyers a realistic feel of the property.

Are you wondering how you will be able to manage all this? With RealtyHive’s Time-Limited Events, you can sit back and watch the interest come in on your home for sale.

Step 4: Marketing and Showing the Property

Listing your home is only half the battle. The most thorough and rigorous process is what comes after you list your property.

These two processes decide the fate of your listing. So, put your best foot forward while working on them.


Take this time to sell your house aggressively on all the enlisted platforms to get more offers and eventually higher sales.

Do everything, whether it is online or offline – from ads to flyers to newspaper listings. We know it sounds intimidating, but you have to do what you have to do, right?

And, if we are talking about marketing, don’t forget the Time-Limited Events offered by RealtyHive. RealtyHive has successfully brought in more exposure and more offers for sellers in Wisconsin with this range-style pricing. We are known for creating the best market presence for a house, and that too in a few simple clicks. Where else will you get such a deal? 

Showing the property

Once you start receiving offers, what follows is the showing process. 

If you are selling as an FSBO, you will have to manage showings independently. Here are some things you can do to it successfully:

  • Be responsive to every text, call, and email you get.  Also note that, around 87 percent of buyers purchase homes via an agent, so there is a high chance that you will be contacted by one. Always remember that agents are busy people, so if you do not respond to them right away, you won’t even realise when you may miss out on a great opportunity.
  • Try being flexible with your showing schedule. Remember, the more showings you do, the better are your chances of making  a successful sale. We suggest you make your house available for showing from 9 am to 8 pm every day. This way more buyers will be interested in seeing your house. 

Note: If you are working with an agent, your showing schedule will be managed by him/her. Usually, agents give a  24-hour notice before bringing any client home. So, make sure your house is ready for a showing before that.

If you are selling with the help of an agent, your showings will be mostly taken care of by your Realtor. They will handle everything for you right from scheduling to show.

Things to do before your first showings: 

  • Make your house presentable.  For this, declutter and clean your house before every showing.
  • Keep your belongings safe and expensive items locked away.
  • Depersonalize your house by removing pictures so that the buyers can picture themselves in your property.

During showings:

  • Don’t let people who aren’t on your calendar inside your home. Not everyone has the best intention, so it is better to have your guard up with uninvited guests, 
  • Keep a record of who comes and goes.
  • Make sure your family, kids, and pets are not around during a showing. Also, if you are selling your home with a Realtor, make sure that you’re not around when the buyer arrives.

Step 5: Handling Offers and Negotiations

Suppose your marketing efforts and showings were a success. Now what?

Say hello to the stage of offers and negotiation.

Don’t know a thing about them? Well, here is what happens next.

  1. An Offer: When a buyer decides that he/she is interested in buying your property, he/she will make an offer on it. 
    This offer will be a written document that best describes the real estate being purchased.
    The document will include the details of the land, the building, and the fixtures. It can also consist of something that a buyer might want to have included in the purchase.
    Always note that the offer determines what is included in the deal and excluded from it. Also, as a part of this purchase offer, buyers will provide what is called “earnest money.” This earnest money is a deposit made against the offer as an escrow, which an escrow agent holds.
    Reference: Link
  2. Counteroffer: When you receive an offer from a potential buyer, you can either accept it, decline it, or make a counter-offer.
    A counteroffer is generally considered a great strategy that may help you earn even more on your home for sale. A counteroffer deals with negotiations, and it arises when the terms of the initial offer are not agreeable.
    Plus, it can be made before or after the deadline of the binding acceptance.
    A counteroffer helps you inform the buyer on what terms you can compromise and the potential “deal-breakers” for you. 
    If you are not working with a real estate agent, you can handle your counteroffer yourself or involve an attorney for the same. We would suggest you involve an attorney for legal assistance. If you are working with RealtyHive on this process, we will help you handle your counteroffers with our team’s expertise.
    Reference: Link
  3. Acceptance: When you and the buyer both agree to the offer/counter-offer, you sign it, and it is then deemed “accepted.” The date on which the last party (you or the buyer) signs the contract is the date of acceptance.
    Many deadlines in the contract which follows are from this acceptance date.
    Also, note that once you sign the offer, it becomes a binding contract.
    What follows this is the closing stage.

Step 6: Closing the deal

Closing is the stage where you formally transfer ownership of your house to the buyer. The closing can take place anywhere both parties agree to.

The closing process involves:

  • Title Search, which is searching public records for any document that impacts the title of the property sold. We have talked about this in the transfer tax part, so we hope that is clear.
  • Document Preparation: During this time, the necessary paperwork is being done for the transfer of title.
  • The Closing Date is set, which is feasible for both you and the buyer so that you have ample time to prepare for the transactions.
  • Calculating the amount that is due and paying all the overheads.
  • Reading and evaluating all the documents, which is very important for you as an owner.
  • And finally, signing documents.

For the closing stage, you need to have either an attorney or Realtor by your side to walk you through the process. 

Final thoughts:

We know that selling a home can be an emotional rollercoaster; it is, after all, one of the most significant transactions to take place during your lifetime. 

If you are considering selling your home in Wisconsin or it is already listed for sale, and you’d like to get even more exposure and interest on your home, make sure to check out RealtyHive’s marketing programs and Time-Limited Events.

Click here to market your property on the Realty Hive marketplace today!

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