Have you not been able to find a Milwaukee real estate agent you feel comfortable working with? Or maybe you’re looking for ways to save some money on agent commissions. Either way, selling a house by yourself may be the answer!
Plenty of homeowners have successfully sold FSBO (pronounced fizz-bo), short for For Sale By Owner. But are there truly advantages to selling a home without a realtor? Below we’ll cover everything you need to know about selling your Milwaukee house on your own so that way you know what you’re getting yourself into.
Is It a Good Idea to Sell a House By Owner?
Before you dive headfirst into selling a house by owner, it would be helpful to know if it’s even a good idea in the first place. Most people find that selling by owner is a good idea for two main reasons:
- To save money on agent’s commission
- To have control over their home sale
That doesn’t go without saying that selling by yourself isn’t easy. Unless you have a real estate background, marketing knowledge, or sales experience, selling your house without a realtor will require some research and learning beforehand. But if you’re up to the task, then it’s worth exploring more about the advantages of selling a house by owner.
Advantages of Selling a House By Owner
There are several advantages of selling a house without a realtor, which is why plenty of homeowners in Wisconsin give it a try. Of course, the biggest advantage of selling FSBO is to save on realtor commissions, but how much of a savings is that really? Below we’ll break down what those potential savings would look like and some other advantages of selling by yourself.
No Realtor Fees
Anytime you use an agent to sell your house, there may be realtor fees involved. But what exactly is a realtor fee? Fees, in general, mean a fixed rate for a particular job, i.e., selling a house. While most agents charge a commission rather than a flat realtor fee, nevertheless this is something you may come across if you were to work with a real estate agent. If you were to sell by owner, you would be able to avoid paying a realtor fee, which is why many homeowners entertain listing FSBO instead.
Anytime you work with an agent to buy or sell a house, they usually charge realtor commissions upon the sale. Charging a commission instead of a flat fee gives the agent a higher earning potential because the commission is based on a percentage of the total sale, which is great for them, but not so much for you.
To give you an idea of what that potential commission could be, currently, in Milwaukee, the average agent commission is 5.93%. So that means to sell an average Wisconsin home worth $225,000, you’ll pay about $13,343 in realtor commissions.
The advantage of selling by owner is that you potentially won’t pay any commissions, saving you thousands of dollars. This alone is reason enough for a homeowner to consider selling by owner instead of hiring an agent.
Sell Your House on Your Schedule
When you sell by yourself, you control the process and sell your house on your schedule. Typically there are two types of agents, top sellers and those that may sell only a handful of properties throughout the year. Both may not give you’re listing the attention it deserves either because they are busy handling a lot of other listings at the same time or don’t understand the urgency. But when you’re in charge of selling your house, you can give it as much time and energy as you want. You can decide when to host open houses or show your property to potential buyers, you won’t be at the mercy of your realtor. Some people like all that control of their home sale, and you may too.
→ To set yourself up for success, make sure you know when the Best Time to Sell a House would be in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Things to Consider When Selling a House By Owner
You may think selling by yourself is an easy decision, you’ll be able to save money and sell on your schedule, but before you get too excited, there are a few things to consider when selling by owner. As mentioned earlier, selling FSBO in Wisconsin is not any task, besides getting your house ready to sell, you’ll have other responsibilities too. It’s important to understand what you’d be getting yourself into before deciding if selling by owner is for you. Below are some of the challenging responsibilities of the job.
Did you know that the most difficult task for an FSBO seller is to prepare and fix up their home to sell? Doing repairs, decluttering, cleaning, staging, and adding curb appeal are all necessary elements to attract buyers. Unless your house is in mint condition, you’ll more than likely have a few projects to do around the house before you can sell.
Most homeowners run into this when putting their home on the market, they start noticing delayed maintenance or issues that need to be addressed, so you’re not alone if you do too.
However, depending on what work needs to be done to your house, this could take several weeks or months until you’ll be able to list your Milwaukee home. And you’ll soon find out that repairs can add up quickly.
Replacing a leaky roof, fixing a foundation issue, or finally treating termite damage, you could be looking at several thousand dollars in repair costs. That doesn’t include updates you may want to consider doing if the house is outdated. And then you’ll need to declutter, clean, stage, and add some curb appeal. All that to say, there could be quite a bit of preparation involved before you can list your home.
Something to remember, necessary repairs will help you keep the value of your home from dropping. Improvements and updates could potentially increase what your property is worth. So you’ll just want to keep that in mind if you were hoping to make your money back by doing major repairs to your home before selling.
→ Check Out These Creative Ways To Sell A House in Wisconsin.
Covering all the Paperwork
Since you’re taking on the role of agent, you’ll be in charge of covering all the paperwork. And we’re not talking about just a few documents you’ll need to have ready. To give you a better idea of what you’ll need to have handy, below are some of the examples of documents you may need to sell your Milwaukee house:
- Property Survey: A property survey is a legal document that shows the buyer the boundaries of the property. It also includes other details, such as where any driveways, fences, or other structures are located. The buyer typically requests this.
- Warranties and Receipts: This information will help you document any new finishes, appliances, and upgrades to your house.
- Plans and Permits: If you did any upgrades or additions, be sure to have the plans and permits handy.
- Certificates of Occupancy: These certificates show that your property is compliant with Milwaukee building codes and is safe to inhabit. You’ll need to get this from your county, have the permit pulled, have the inspection done, do the repairs (if applicable) and then have your home re-inspected.
- Loan Documents: This document typically includes the first mortgage, second mortgage, and any home equity lines of credit.
- Homeowners Insurance Records: You want to be transparent with your buyer about any damages and repairs made to your home. You’ll need to provide the buyer with proof of your homeowner’s insurance information as well as a claims report or a list of all the claims on your home since the time of purchase. This will also give the buyer an idea of how much their homeowner’s insurance will cost when they move in.
- Latest Utility Bills: These bills show buyers the amount your household has paid for electricity, water, and gas each month.
- Latest Property Tax Bill: This bill gives buyers an idea of what they will pay in property taxes should they purchase your house.
- Title: The title shows that you own legal or equitable interest in the home.
- Homeowners Association Covenants and Agreements: This will show buyers the rules established by the HOA that governs your neighborhood or condominium. It can include information about pets, fencing height or materials, parking, noise levels, and more.
- Floor Plan or Blueprints, if available: This gives buyers more insight into the layout and size of each room in your house.
Once you have all your documents gathered, have at least two copies of anything that pertains to the property or your ownership. This way, they’re available for interested buyers to inspect when they visit your home.
Negotiating the Sale of Your House
When it comes to selling a house, a lot of things are negotiable, so you’ll need to be prepared if the buyer or the buyer’s agent tries to bargain with you. Here are some things you’ll need to be ready to negotiate about when selling by yourself.
- Title resolutions
- Multiple offers
- Seller concessions
- Earnest money
- Inclusions and exclusions
- Conditional sale contingencies
- Survey resolutions
- Due diligence resolutions
- Obtaining and reviewing the buyer’s qualification letter
- Closing and possession date
Related Article: Negotiation Tips for Selling Your Home in Milwaukee
Selling a house is a legal process, and one typo or misprinted amount could affect your home sale. Although a real estate attorney is not required in a Wisconsin home sale transaction, it would be helpful to hire one to walk you through the home sale process. You will also want to ensure that the closing is held at a reputable title company, so everything is done legally.
Something that will be your responsibility to handle is accepting an offer. You’ll need to make sure you have a legally binding contract between you and the buyer. Furthermore, you’ll want to make sure that the contract outlines the terms of the agreement and includes:
- The Property and its Characteristics: The type of property (condo, single-family home, multi-unit), address, lot size, parking, property identification number, etc.
- The Identity of the Parties Involved: Typically, the full names of the buyer and seller
- List of Fixtures/Personal Property: What’s included in the purchase price or not included
- Purchase Price: The agreed-upon price of the house
- Financing Terms and Earnest Money Amount: The money paid to confirm the contract and details on the buyer’s financing
- Target Closing Date: The date intended for the property sale to occur
- Contingencies: Examples of this include attorney review, inspection provisions, and a home sale/close contingency
- Prorations: What the seller and buyer owe on items such as taxes, assessments, and utilities
- Title: What type of title clearance the seller is obligated to provide
- Closing Costs: Which party must pay for which closing costs
- Notice or Default Legalese: What happens if a party breaches the contract
- Miscellaneous Items: Any other provisions the buyer and seller agree on
Before that first offer comes in, be prepared. If you can’t give the buyer the proper documents or be able to fill out a contract on the spot, your offer could fall through. Once you do get an offer, you can always seek advice from your real estate attorney to determine if it’s in your best interest to accept the offer or if you need to make any changes before agreeing to the sale.
Needless to say, selling your house by yourself involves preparation, lots of paperwork, and negotiating skills. If you’re up for the challenge, there is one last thing you need to know before sticking that “For Sale By Owner” sign in your yard—the true cost of selling your home on your own.
True Cost of Selling By Owner
In the back of your mind, you may be thinking all this hard work will pay off since you’ll be able to save on an agent’s commission. And yes, it can, but that is if your buyer doesn’t use an agent too. Agent commissions are split between a buyer’s agent and a seller’s agent. So there is a chance that you may have to pay a buyer’s agent’s commission which is usually 2.5-3% of the sale price. Yes, it is significantly less than paying a full commission, however, you’re doing all the work to sell your house.
One last thought to leave you with, according to the NAR (National Association of Realtors), houses listed by owner sell for significantly less than ones listed with an agent. That could be caused by the lack of knowledge in setting a competitive asking price or less-than-stellar negotiating skills. All that to say, if you were hoping that selling by owner would save you a lot of money, there is a significant possibility that it may not be as profitable as you initially thought.
Nine times out of 10, the reason why people consider selling by owner is to save money. But as you’ve learned, selling by yourself is not for the faint of heart, and it may not provide the savings that you’d hoped for either. So if you’re wondering how you should sell your house now that you’ve ruled out selling with a realtor and selling by owner isn’t what it’s cracked up to be, well, you could sell to one of the companies that buy houses in Milwaukee instead.
Here is what selling to one of the cash home buyers in Wisconsin could do for you:
- They’ll buy your house as-is, no repairs needed or renovations
- They can make you a cash offer within 24-hours
- They can close on your timeline, whether that’s within 7-days or a few months
- You can avoid showings and open houses. You’ll only have to show your place once
- They won’t charge you realtor commissions or fees
- They will help pay closing costs
- You won’t have to clean, declutter, stage, or add curb appeal
- They’ll provide an easier, hassle-free way to sell your house
If you’re interested in working with a cash home buyer in your area, contact Cream City Home Buyers today. Whether you need to “sell my house fast Glendale,” Fox Point, or another Milwaukee suburb, Cream City Home Buyers is here to help.
They are a local real estate investment firm and solutions company that started in 2016 and has been helping homeowners just like you sell their houses quickly without all the stress that traditional home sales include.
Cream City Home Buyers invites you to check out their website for more information or to give them a call at (414) 488-0082. They would be happy to answer any of your questions and provide you with a better solution than selling your house by yourself.