How to Sell a House as an Owner in Wisconsin?

Written By Sarah Ford

Are you considering selling your Wisconsin home and cashing in your investment? Then, we have good and bad news for you.

First, the good news: the Wisconsin real estate market is hot. The median home price has climbed by almost 11-12% in the past year. Homes are selling like hotcakes, spending only 48 days in the market. This record high has come after inflation, new demand for homes, and limited inventory in the state!

Now, the bad news. Selling a home in Wisconsin doesn’t come cheap or easy. It is challenging, and because of high transfer taxes and other costs, you don’t always get to keep all your profits.

While listing your home as FSBO can help you save on costs, you will be responsible for everything! This includes pricing the house, listing it, staging it, marketing it, showing it to potential buyers, and finally closing on a buyer.

That’s why 90% of sellers in the US hire an agent. However, if you have already decided, we will help you save 4% to 6% of the final selling price.

Here’s a detailed breakdown of everything you need to do if you are selling your house on your own in Wisconsin.

Source 1, 2


Step 1: Preliminary Preparations

Sellers spend an average of seven months just thinking about selling their homes before they start listing. During this time, they evaluate their options and make a few home improvements here and there to prepare for the listing.

You don’t have to wait that long! Here’s something that will help you get started.

1.1. Evaluate the Pros and Cons of putting your house as FSBO

As a first step, be 100% sure of what you are signing up for. Here is a list that can help you get started.


1.2. Figure Out How Much You Can Realistically Save as a Private Seller

You can potentially save thousands of dollars by selling your house as an owner. In that situation, you do not have to pay a commission to a listing agent.

As of 2022, the average real estate commission on a single-family home in Wisconsin is between 4.83% and 6.51%, totaling $12,075-$16,275 on a $250,000 home. 

Even though FSBO can save you listing agent’s fees, you may still pay a buyer’s agent commission (as 88% of buyers still purchase their home through an agent). This commission will depend upon the extent of assistance offered to close the deal. In Wisconsin, this amount is usually 50% of the above-calculated commission. That means you will have to pay the buyer’s agent between $6037-$8137 at the end of the deal.

There are other ways to save big as a private seller. 

For example, suppose you are selling your Wisconsin house to a friend at a competitive market price. In that case, you will save on the marketing expenditure, and hiring an attorney will be your only cash burn.

However, we do not live in an ideal world. In reality, you can expect to spend over $1,000 on staging, marketing, lawyer or appraiser fees, etc. alone, even after cutting down the realtor’s cost. Plus, you will spend much of your time making improvements, marketing, showing, and negotiating.

So, ultimately, you need to decide if the money saved is worth all the effort you will put into it.

Source: 2


1.3. Find Out About Your Rights As a Seller

Before you list your home, it is crucial to know the home selling process – your legal obligations, your rights, and everything between to avoid future disputes.  

Broadly speaking, your rights include advertising your house, conducting a home inspection, and setting a fair price for the property. You also have the right to be represented by an attorney in the selling process.

You also have the right to set terms and conditions before closing the deal. For example, you can ask for a deposit before the actual purchase, and you can even ask for mortgage verification before closing.

As a seller, you also have the right to accept or refuse an offer based on legitimate reasons. Some legitimate reasons include a low price, financial instability on the buyer’s part, or you change your mind about selling the house.

You cannot refuse to sell the house due to discrimination based on race, gender, family status, religion, or national origin. Buyers are protected under the Fair Housing Act from this kind of discrimination in real estate transactions.

Source: 3


1.4. The Big Question: Should you hire an attorney if you are not hiring an agent?

1.4.1 Do you need to get an attorney?

Hiring an attorney to sell a house is not required by Wisconsin law. However, it is in your best interest if you sell FSBO or have a unique property issue.

Attorneys can get all your paperwork in order and help you with fine points for negotiations. If you are selling your home for the first time, hiring a knowledgeable attorney can help you easily navigate the legalities and

Source: 3

1.4.2 What can real estate attorneys do for you?

Attorneys can help oversee your home-selling process, from contracts to negotiations and closing. They can help you review buyers’ offers, communicate the terms of agreements, and advise you on the best approach to dealing with complicated legal issues.

Moreover, an attorney can also help you draft the contract, go through the property’s mortgage, title, and transfer documents, and pen down the deed for you. They can also sign off on the breakdown of the settlement funds while closing the deal.

While attorneys won’t negotiate the price or terms of a sale, they can help you identify loopholes and legal red flags.

Hiring an agent can mitigate the risks of you doing everything alone and making any mistakes. An experienced attorney will always have your best interest at heart and will ensure that you do not end up in a bad deal.

An attorney’s assistance on your real estate transaction can help you make smart decisions and save money. They can review your purchase offers, find problem areas (if any), and help you negotiate the best possible deal. You may also want to involve an attorney for advice on tax benefits and other considerations. 

While good legal representation may not be cheap, it can help get you out of a number of sticky situations.

Source: 4

1.4.3 When will you need an attorney in Wisconsin

Certain complex situations require an attorney’s expertise. It is helpful to have an attorney advise you in the following scenarios.

1.4.3.1 Financial Issues:

If you are in financial distress, the first thing you should do is hire an attorney long before you even list your house. An attorney can help you in all the following financial crises:

1.4.3.1.1 Foreclosure:

You get a foreclosure notice if you miss multiple mortgage payments. A foreclosure means that your house will be sold at an auction, and the lender will receive the sale proceeds to pay off your home loan.

If you get a foreclosure notice, don’t worry; it isn’t the end of the deal. There are ways to save the house, but in that case, you need an attorney to buy you time and help you secure an injunction.

If you’ve received a notice of default for missed mortgage payments or a foreclosure notice, an attorney can also help you make a short sale or negotiate mortgage terms.

1.4.3.1.2 Short Sale:

Selling a house at a price lower than the mortgage value you owe is called a short sale.

In such a case, the lender needs to approve the short sale after you prove that you cannot pay the mortgage. An attorney can help you with this.

Many attorneys specialize in short sales and can help you avoid foreclosure. Contact them as soon as you know you won’t be able to pay the mortgage.

1.4.3.1.3 Liens on Your Title:

Liens are attached to the house’s title. As a result, you cannot sell the house until you clear the debts. An attorney can help you negotiate with creditors and clear the liens from the title.

A lien is a notice that you owe money to a creditor. A mortgage is also a lien attached to your title, but it does not cause problems while settling the escrow because you already have a contract in place. A mortgage is a voluntary lien.

On the other hand, involuntary liens are much harder to deal with. Creditors can place involuntary liens on your property if you owe them a debt. Other involuntary liens include those for child support and those set by the county for unpaid property taxes and lawsuits.

1.4.3.2 The Owner Is Deceased, and You Are Selling on Their Behalf:

If you are responsible for selling a property after the owner’s death, you must undergo probate to sell the house without a living trust.

A probate attorney is essential in this process. Once you successfully inherit the rights to the property, the attorney can help you handle any complications involving the property, like debts or taxes.

They will also help you make a clear and legal property sale. If you are one of several trustees, the attorney will protect your rights and ensure you receive the amount you are entitled to.

If you aren’t familiar with the property, the attorney can also negotiate with the agent if any major structural issue or water damage is discovered.

1.4.3.3 The Property Is Jointly Owned, But You’re Going Through a Divorce:

You will need an attorney if you share property ownership with your spouse and want out of the arrangement. This is even more important if the other owner does not want to sell.

Multiple factors affect the sale of jointly owned property in case of divorce. The following points will affect your legal rights to the property:

  • State laws on the division of property
  • Prenuptial agreements
  • Marital status at the time of purchase
  • Terms and conditions of the divorce settlement
  • The name on the official deed and mortgage

If it turns out that both owners have equal rights to the home, it comes down to how the two of you want to divide the house. Here are a few options available for you:

  • One of you can buy out the other to secure full ownership.
  • Mutually agree on who stays in the house till you decide when to sell
  • Rent the house to tenants and be co-landlords
  • Sell the property and divide the proceeds equally.
1.4.3.4 You Have Tenants:

If there are tenants currently living in the house you are trying to sell, it can complicate sale proceedings. Tenants have rights, and you must respect them before selling your home.

They have fair housing rights, a right to habitable housing, and a right to privacy. However, you cannot schedule showings or repairs whenever you want; you need to give them prior notice even if you wish to enter the house.

The period of notice varies from state to state. Also, you cannot evict them just because you are selling the house—unless they breach the contract.

If you hit a snag at any stage while dealing with your tenants, the attorney can help you decide what to do depending on the following factors:

1.4.3.4.1 Lease Agreement:

Your attorney will review the lease agreement and the duration and termination clause. This will help you determine if and when you can ask the tenant to move out.

1.4.3.4.2 State Laws:

State laws dictate the notice period for vacating the house. It can differ by state, and an attorney can help confirm the exact period based on the laws in your state.

If tenants are living in the house you want to sell, you have two options: wait for the tenant’s lease to expire or close the deal with the tenant and transfer the rental agreement to the buyer.

It is much simpler to sell after the tenant moves out because you don’t have to depend on their cooperation to close the deal.

Your attorney can help you settle any outstanding balance with them and ensure you receive the amount you owe. In case of a disagreement or conflict, having an attorney can help you navigate the situation and avoid possible legal action from the tenants. If you mutually decide that the tenants will stay on the property, the attorney will help you transfer the agreement.

1.4.3.5 Unexpected Issues:

If you feel that unexpected issues, such as structural damage or unnoticed defects, could arise or that there might be complications with the title, you should hire an attorney.


1.5. What documents must you have before you put your house on the market?

You need to have the following documents in place before you put your house on the Wisconsin market:

  •  A plan or survey of your property
  • Either your mortgage agreement or a deed
  • The latest property tax bill
  • If your property is a condominium, the condominium documents
  • Rules and regulations and fee schedule of the homeowner’s association
  • Real Estate Condition Report 

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1.6. What disclosures do you need to make before selling your house?

What disclosures do you need to make before selling your house in Wisconsin ?

You are legally required to disclose specific issues in the house before putting it on sale. While your first instinct might be to cover up all the shortcomings of the house you are trying to sell, you can end up in a lawsuit if you do not disclose the issues.

Some people are exempt from disclosure laws. This includes people who have never inhabited the property because they don’t technically own it, like trustees or people serving as fiduciaries.

You must disclose various aspects of your property if you are not exempt from disclosure. All disclosures must be presented in Wisconsin on a  Real Estate Condition report.

On this form, you must answer questions about structural defects, environmental factors like asbestos, legal issues like boundaries, and any disputes regarding the property, encumbrances, etc.

For every question, you will need to answer whether you are aware of any such condition in the house, and if the answer is yes, you need to explain the defects.

Ultimately, you must mention how long you’ve lived in the house.

The real estate condition report is not a guarantee of the house’s condition, and it doesn’t ensure that the buyer gets a defect-free home. Here are the most common disclosure laws you need to be aware of:

1.6.1. Death on the Property

If there has been a death on the property, you must legally disclose it. Some states do not require you to require natural deaths. Still, you must disclose the death to avoid legal liability in suicides, murders, violent crimes, or fatalities due to the property’s condition.

1.6.2. Structural Defects:

The seller must disclose the existing defects on the property’s significant elements. You can define essential elements as:

  • Something that can alter your property value
  •  Something that poses health or safety risks to future inhabitants
  • Something that may shorten the lifespan of the listed property

Source: 6

1.6.3 Neighborhood Nuisances

Nuisance laws differ widely, so make sure you refer to the state laws to determine what you need to disclose. Any persistent noises, odors, or smoke in the neighborhood are considered nuisances.

1.6.4 Potential Hazards

If your home is at risk for natural disasters like floods or earthquakes or is susceptible to hazardous or toxic waste pollution, you must disclose it to the buyer. What constitutes a potential hazard differs in every state, so you must consult state laws.

Note: Disclosure requirements are determined by the state, but a federal mandate dictates that properties constructed before 1978 need to disclose the possible presence of lead-based paint.

1.6.5. HOA Information

Homeowner associations have monthly fees and rules on membership. The buyer needs to know about them beforehand to make an informed purchase.

1.6.6. Repairs

You need to disclose previous repairs and the reasons for repairs so that the buyer knows possible future issues. They will also want the home inspector to review the repairs to ensure everything is in order.

1.6.7. Water Damage

Water damage is a serious issue and must be disclosed before the house purchase. You might be showing during a dry season when water damage is not apparent, which hides problems like a leaky roof or seepage.

1.6.8. Legal Issues

If your property has persisting legal issues, you must disclose them in the report. This can include but is not limited to property line disputes, shared well agreements, encumbrances, etc.

For more info, you can read this link.

1.6.9. Miscellaneous Information

Some information affects the homeowners. For example, if the home is in a historic district, it affects the buyer’s ability to make changes or repairs to the house. Miscellaneous disclosures include termite damage, boundary disputes, pending litigation, and zoning.


1.7. What are the costs involved when selling a home?

Costs involved when selling a home

If you are selling your house yourself, you should know that there are certain costs involved with putting a property up for sale. Here’s what you need to prepare for

1.7.1  Title Insurance

As a seller in Wisconsin, you must handle the title insurance before closing the deal with a buyer. Title insurance protects buyers from claims against their ownership of the property. Think of it as a document that will protect the buyer from ownership problems in the future, like fraud, court judgment, unpaid taxes, and forgery.

 1.7.2 Costs Associated with Survey Issues or Remedying Title

If there are issues surrounding the title or the survey of your property, then in that case, you may have to bear this cost. This will include an attorney’s total cost (for advice plus resolution). 

1.7.3 Municipal/Local Government costs:

When you successfully sell your home, you may have to pay the local authorities some money. These may include but aren’t limited to stamp taxes, recording fees, or other fees imposed by the county, city, or town.

1.7.4. Attorney fees

While the main motive of selling your house as a private seller is to avoid additional costs, this is one cost that you won’t be able to dodge. As we mentioned above, even if you wish to go unrepresented in your selling process, you will require an attorney to make deeds that close all your real estate interactions. 

1.7.5. Repairs

It is best to clean up the appearance of your house before selling it. This attracts potential buyers and makes the home more appealing. It will also help increase the value of the home.

If there are minor repairs or upgrades you’ve been avoiding till now, this is the time to do them. More significant repairs like plumbing issues or a damaged roof will cost more. Make sure you can bear the cost of repairs if you plan on selling the house.

1.7.6. Home Inspection

This is optional, but it comes in handy because it will reveal any significant problems with the property before the sale. If you conduct a home inspection before the sale and repair all significant issues, you reduce the possibility of the buyer demanding repairs or lowering the price later. Home inspections cost around $400.

1.7.7. Staging

To make a successful sale, buyers should be able to imagine themselves living in the house. This won’t be possible if the place seems run down or shabby.

Minor upgrades like a fresh coat of paint, decluttering, and rearranging furniture help you make the home more appealing to potential buyers.

You can even stage your house yourself or hire a professional stager. Stagers help you show off the best attributes of the house and hide defects.

They will declutter and set a neutral tone for your home, helping potential buyers see what living in the house can be like.

1.7.8. Mortgage

The mortgage is paid from the proceeds of the house, but chances are that you owe a little more than the amount on your mortgage statement. You may have accrued a prorated interest, or there could be a prepayment penalty on your mortgage. All this can add to the cost of selling your home.

1.7.9. Utilities

Even if you move out of your home before selling it, you must keep paying for utilities like water and electricity. Why? Imagine you are a buyer and see a house with no light or electricity, and it is sweltering hot or cold. Would you be tempted to buy it? No, right? You have your answer right there!

1.7.10. Closing Costs

These are usually associated with buyers, but sellers also have to pay their share of closing costs. This usually includes the balance of the mortgage, property transfer taxes, attorney fees, and title insurance.

Other costs like title policy—which ensures that the title is clear and free—also need to be budgeted for.

While you can negotiate who pays these costs, it is best to be prepared for any eventuality. You might even be asked to pay part of the buyer’s closing costs if you sell in a buyer’s market.

1.7.11. Taxes

If you are selling your house for profit, you must pay capital gains taxes.

However, all is not lost!

If you are selling your primary residence and have stayed there for more than 2 years, you can get an exclusion of $250,000 of the profit from tax. In addition, sellers who escrow into their mortgage need to pay property tax.

These are the direct taxes you will be expected to pay:

1.7.11.1 Capital Gains Taxes

Selling your house at a profit means you are liable for capital gains taxes. You might or might not be exempted from them, but it is best to be prepared.

1.7.11.2 Property Tax

You must pay property taxes up until the day of closing. If you’ve prepaid for the whole year, you can get a rebate at closing. If not, you must pay a prorated amount at closing.

1.7.11.3 Transfer Tax

This varies from state to state and can be a part of the final selling price. Paying the transfer tax at closing makes the sale official.

1.7.12 Moving Cost

You probably need to move out of your selling home. There are always costs associated with moving, which depend on whether short or long distance, how much stuff you have, and whether you hire a professional mover.

Source: 7,8


Step 2: Preparing for the listing

.Selling a home typically takes 83 days in Wisconsin ( 48 days to be on the market plus 35 days to close). 

This means you should be prepared at least two months in advance before listing the property.  During this time, you can decide whether or not to hire an agent, hire an appraiser, clean your home, and complete minor repairs. You need to take care of a few things before listing your property.

2.1. Choosing the best time to sell your house

The best time to sell your house depends on many factors like market conditions, location, expectations from buyers, etc. That being said, there are specific periods in the year when selling houses becomes easier and faster.

Here is the data on the best time to sell in Wisconsin.

RegionThe month with the most significant 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
AugustAugust
Central Region
Adams, Clark, Juneau, Marathon, Marquette, Portage, Waushara, and Wood
JuneAugust
North-East Region 
Brown, Calumet, Door, Fond du Lac, Green Lake, Kewaunee, Manitowoc, Marinette, Menominee, Oconto, Outagamie, Shawano, Waupaca, and Winnebago
July August
South-Central Region
Columbia, Crawford, Dane, Dodge, Grant, Green, Iowa, Jefferson, Lafayette, Richland, Rock, and Sauk
JuneJune
South-East Region
Kenosha, Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Racine, Sheboygan, Walworth, Washington, Waukesha 
JuneJune
West Region
Buffalo, Chippewa, Dunn, Eau Claire, Jackson, La Crosse, Monroe, Pepin, Pierce, St. Croix, Trempealeau, Vernon 
JuneJune

Setting aside the irregularities in the past couple of years, the best month to sell a house in Wisconsin is from May to August.

Most families want to settle down by the time the school year begins, so try to list before September. October is the most challenging month to sell a house. This month, you are least likely to sell a house above the asking price.

The best day to list your house is Thursday. All things being equal, homes listed on a Thursday sell faster than any other day of the week.

Source: 9,10, 11, 12


2.2. Putting A Fair Price on Your Home        

Pricing your home right is a crucial aspect of selling your home. However, for over 14% of FSBO sellers, it is one of the most challenging tasks. 

That’s because if you price your house too high, you won’t be able to tap into the right market, and you will lose time going back and forth negotiating with the client.

As a result, you will sell your property for a lot less. That’s because properties that have spent more than 90 days in the market are considered ‘stale’ and are assumed to have defects.

However, it can also go wrong if you move in the other direction. You will practically leave money on the table by pricing a home too low and saying no to potential profit. Many of the costs associated with selling are a percentage of the selling price, like buyer agent commissions. Since a lot is riding on it, you must put some effort into putting a fair price on your home.

Comparative market research is the best way to help you set a fair price on your home.

A comparative market analysis or CMA is a tool used by real estate agents to estimate the market value of a house by comparing it to similar properties both currently for sale and ones that have recently sold in the area.

Here is how you can do comparative market research as a private seller

2.2.1 Conducting a Comparative Market Analysis

2.2.1.1 Step One: Gather Data

You must gather many data points to complete your Competitive Market Research. Here’s a breakdown of everything you need and how to use it:

Subject Property DataPrevious Sale DataRecently Sold CompsActive Listing Comps
What Does It Mean?Subject Property Data refers to all the details of the property you are trying to sell. You need to know every tiny detail about the house that can affect its value. The more you know about your home, the better you will be able to determine the right deal for it.Previous Sale Data refers to the listing and sale details of the home from the last time it was sold. It tells you about the previous market value of your home.Recently sold comps are properties with similar features as your home. They are also known as comparable sales. A good comp was sold within the last year (6 months for fast-moving markets), geographically close to your property, and closed within an appropriate amount of time on the market.

As the name suggests, they are similar to recently sold comps, except they are currently for sale on the market.
How to Get ItStart by putting together all the information you have about your property. Make sure you have:

Complete location, including the address, municipality, and county.

Square footage & acreage(if privately owned)

Renovations and all significant changes since the house was the last sold

All special features

Taxes paid & millage rate.

Year built
Gather the following information from all the previous sales and listings of your property:

* Listing price
* Selling price
* Price adjustment
*Disclosed details of the property

How long was it on the market?
Go to an MLS and find at least five properties based on the above criteria.Again, consult an MLS to find up to 5 properties using the same criteria as recently sold comps. It is even better if the properties are currently under contract but haven’t been sold yet.
How to Use ItThis data will be used to compare your home’s value to other similar properties in your area.Last sale data is the first point of interest used to calculate the value of your home. We adjust it according to market movement and inflation for a realistic picture of its actual value.Comparable sales will be the second parameter for estimating your home’s value based on the market value of similar properties.This is the third parameter used to determine your home’s value. It helps you understand the market reaction to similar properties and the competition you will face later.
Pro-TipThe best sources for subject property data are previous MLS listings for your home, tax records, county or township websites, and directly from the property owner.Remember to take unsold property data into account. You need to know all the details of the circumstances when the property was listed for sale but didn’t sell.Finding good comps can be challenging if your property is unique. In this case, you need to find comps and make some value adjustments to make them relevant.Talk to the agents of the listings you find. They can give you more insight into your property’s value; they have interested buyers looking for a property just like yours. You could find a buyer before you even list your house.
2.2.1.2. Step Two: Analyze Micro Market Trends

Keep track of everything that’s going on in your neighborhood – from prolonged construction activities to any recent surge in prices.

For example, road construction activities in your neighborhood can limit the accessibility of the properties on sale; lesser buyers will or will be willing to see them and ultimately drive down the home prices in your neighborhood.

You can use such information to adjust the price of your home accordingly. Consider all factors that can drive the cost of your home up or down and use them in your CMA as appropriate.

2.2.1.3. Step Three: Compile All Your Data

Now that you have everything you need, you can compile it to create an amazing CMA. Here’s how to go about it:

a) Begin with the sales history of your home. Based on whether median prices have risen or fallen since your property was last sold and after adjusting for any additions or renovations to the property, what is its current value?

This gives you the first figure of your value prediction range.

b) The second step is to analyze your recently sold comps. Compare their prices and arrive at a suitable price for your property. You have the second figure in your value prediction range.

c) Repeat the same process as the last step using active listing comps; you’ve got the third figure in your value prediction range.

d) Arrange all these figures in ascending order. This will give you a conservative, moderate and aggressive market value for your home. All the figures would be reasonably close if you did your research well. Don’t forget to adjust according to micro-market trends for these figures.

2.2.1.4. Step Four: Share It With Clients

Finally, you’ve got the results you need. However, you can’t just hand your clients a bunch of numbers and call it a day! You must present them with context and explain how you arrived at each figure.

To approach this in the best way possible, try exploring CMA templates to present your CMA results.

Source: 13, 14


2.2.2. Hire an Appraiser

As a private seller, you may feel the urge to skip CMA and hire an appraiser to determine your home’s value. But does hiring an appraiser makes sense?

Industry experts believe that pre-listing appraisals are a waste of money for sellers.

Source: 15

Here’s why:

2.2.2.1. Appraisal Value Might Not Always Give You a Clear Picture of Your Home’s Market Value:

The appraisal value is often considered an ‘opinion value.’ You can hire three appraisers who will evaluate a different value for your home.

That’s because appraisers consider a house’s structural integrity and any changes to determine its price. And while it can help you discover potential defects, it won’t help you determine what the house will sell for.

That’s because appraisal value differs from market value and is influenced by many factors, like competition and locality. So, you cannot use the appraisal value to substitute the market value.

Side note: Conducting a CMA is the best way to get a fair estimate of your home’s value.

2.2.2.2 Lenders Won’t Accept Your Appraisal:

Home appraisals are a requirement for the buyer’s loan. Lenders need an appraisal from an independent and qualified third party to move ahead with the loan process.

They can’t be sure that your appraisal is unbiased, so they will probably reject it and ask for a new one from the buyer.



2.2.3 Maximize your Home’s Value

To maximize the value of your home, put aside some cash to make certain cosmetic repairs. Put yourself in the buyer’s shoes and change what makes the house unappealing.

It might not be easy, but you must be objective to get the best deal possible. Get an outsider’s opinion on the house if you can’t do it. To get started, get the following done before listing your home:

  • Repair all the minor flaws you’ve been ignoring. Fix dripping faucets, faulty door handles and locks, and any electrical components that don’t work.
  • Paint the walls in the rooms that look a little rundown. Choose soft, neutral tones, as buyers prefer those.
  • Too much clutter can make the house seem cramped or small. Clean up and declutter throughout the house.
  • Lastly, ensure that the entire house is clean and smells fresh.

You can even hire a staging agency if you need; they will take care of all this stuff for you.

 2.2.3.1. Should you stage your house for sale?

Studies suggest that staging your home can help you sell your house quickly and for more money!

Don’t worry, you do not have to give dollars to a professional staging service. You can do plenty of things on your own that will make your house more appealing.

Here are some excellent staging tips:

  • Clean the house and declutter as needed. Put away or donate things you don’t need.
    Remove all personal belongings like photos and keepsakes.
  • The house needs to look and feel fresh. Get some plants for the common areas. Light candles or get essential oils to get rid of any odor. Take out the trash and wipe down the kitchen sink.
  • If you have wallpaper, it is best to tear it down and paint the walls with a neutral color.
  • Always keep all curtains and blinds open while showing the house, and switch on all the lights to make the place seem brighter and more welcoming.
  • Rearrange the furniture to give every room a good flow and remove cheap or damaged furniture.

Source: 16

2.2.3.2 Clicking amazing pictures of your property

Making a good first impression is very important for a successful sale. Buyers see your home for the first time in your listing pictures online, and this is when they decide whether they are interested in your home or not.

So if you want to get your foot in the door with interested buyers, you need high-quality professional images. A study by Redfin found that homes listed with professional photographs were sold for a much higher price and far quicker than homes with amateur pictures.

If you have a DSLR at home and do not wish to spend a fortune on pictures, you can learn some photography tricks online to click some amazing photos. Or else, you can hire someone to photograph your home professionally.


Step 3: Listing Your House

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3.1. Start with a ‘For Sale’ sign

Until 2001, yard signs were how most buyers found the home they purchased. Things have changed now, but putting a for-sale sign in your yard is still an effective way of letting people know the house is available. Older buyers are especially more likely to find your house through a for-sale sign rather than through listing websites.


3.2. Put flyers in the neighborhood

Create flyers for your home specifying that it is for sale, add photos and all necessary information about your home, and do not forget to mention your contact information. Distribute these flyers around the neighborhood. It is also a good idea to post and distribute flyers before every showing to attract more potential buyers.


3.3. List Your Property Online

There are several real estate websites where you can list your home for sale. They help you widen your reach and find potential buyers looking for a home like yours.

3.3.1. Where to list your property?

3.3.1.1. Listing on an MLS

MLS is a Multiple Listing System used by agents to create an inventory of all available listings in the area. Only licensed agents can list on the MLS, but you can hire a broker to make the listing for you.

Properties listed on the MLS sell much faster. It is one of the best ways to reach buyer agents. It gives your property a lot of exposure, which could create a lot of competition and fetch a higher price if the market is hot.

Here’s what you need to do to list your home on MLS:

Find an MLS Listing Broker

Several brokers can list your property on an MLS for you. They offer different plans and packages of varying costs.

Look for brokers that don’t charge listing agent fees or closing fees. All brokers will charge a one-time, flat fee for listing your property, but some might ask for additional fees in exchange for other services. Find a broker that suits you as the owner.

Select a Plan

Once you’ve settled on a broker, it is time to buy a plan. There are different plans for different needs, so go ahead and choose the one you prefer. Make sure to research MLS platforms before picking a platform for listing your home.

Provide Necessary Details

You must furnish all necessary details and photographs of your property for the MLS listing. All the information must be accurate, and you must provide all the required documents.

Most MLS gives you up to 24 hours to upload photographs of your property. You will need both interior and exterior shots of your home.

Sign the Agreement

Lastly, you need to sign agreements and disclosures for your listing. The broker will then enter the listing on the MLS, and they will be mentioned as the listing agent.

Handle the Listing

Your listing will go live within 24-48 hours of submitting all the information. Review it once it goes live and double-check all the information.

This is where the broker’s job ends. Your contact information will be under the ‘Private Remarks’ section of the listing, and you will have to plan open houses and showings for interested buyers.

3.3.1.2 Websites:
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Zillow is one of the most extensive listing portals for home sellers. You can use their web portal and app to list your  Wisconsin property for millions to see.
For FSBO properties, Zillow provides a feature called ‘zestimates’, which can help estimate a home price based on its neighborhood.

It gives you a rough idea of how much you can price your home, but it is not always accurate. Zillow is easy to use and can help you gain a lot of visibility on the house you are trying to sell.

If you have a home with tenants in Wisconsin and wish to sell it to interested investors, then Roofstock can help. You must pass a property inspection certification process before your home can be listed on the website.
This is a great way to prove the quality of your home to potential buyers. You can get a lot of exposure with Roofstock as it allows buyers to make offers at no cost. Bay Area sellers often use Roofstock to find buyers for their homes.

3.3.1.2.3 Homefinder:

Homefinder is an up-and-coming listing website. It is great for sellers as it is not saturated with listings like more significant sites like Zillow, and it will help you connect with people searching for homes in your neighborhood.
It has a separate section for open houses, foreclosures, and auctions.

3.3.1.2.4 Realtor.com:

Realtor.com has a great selection of listings, and statistics on neighborhood and local mortgage rates. You can use this information to attract buyers. It has a very professional user interface and will help you reach casual browsers and serious buyers. 

3.3.1.2.5 Dwellr:

Dwellr differs from all other real estate websites and apps. It is the American Community Survey’s app and offers buyers statistics on the locality of their house. It has a lot of valuable features. People looking for houses with characteristics like yours will easily find them on Dwellr by listing their preferences.

3.3.1.2.6 Xome:

Xome is different from other real estate websites because users can browse, select and buy homes online. You could get a buyer who buys your house online sight unseen. They also offer real estate agents and mortgage lenders, smoothing out your selling process.

3.3.1.2.7 Redfin:

Redfin offers all traditional listing services like Zillow and Trulia, but it is mainly used for finding real estate agents. Redfin is chiefly a broker, so it promotes its real estate agents to buyers and sellers.

They also offer a 3D tour of the home, a pretty nifty feature for sellers trying to showcase their house in the best way possible.

3.3.1.3. Social Media

All kinds of business are being conducted on social media, and real estate transactions are no different. Here’s how buyers use social media to find listings:

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Facebook: You can post your property on region-specific marketplaces on Facebook, where users searching for houses in specific regions will be able to see your post. You can also post about your home in many real estate investment groups.

Instagram: You can place targeted ads on Instagram that potential buyers can see. Mentioning your location in the hashtags will help buyers reach you faster.

The only problem with placing ads on Instagram is that you will need to pay to ensure that they reach the right people, and even then, there is not a very high probability that you will find a buyer.

Bonus Content: Here is a quick checklist of what you can do to increase the chances of your home getting off the market: 

Staging: Make all necessary repairs and touch up the general appearance of the hous

Professional Photographs: Take quality photographs using a professional camera for online listings

Details: Give accurate details of aspects like location, square footage, floor plans, etc. This helps weed out buyers who need a different kind of property.

Location, Location, Location: Location is one of the most important aspects of the house. Give extensive details on security, hospitals, schools, nightlife, and restaurants in the neighborhood.

Investing: Creating a good listing will cost you some money. Don’t be afraid of investing in the listing process, spending a little money now will help speed up the process significantly and could also help you get a better deal.

Timing: Make sure you choose the right time for listing your property. Spring and autumn are generally good for listings, but make sure to look up region-specific real estate sale data for your home.

Step 4: Marketing and showing the property

Once you’re done with listing the property, it is time to market and show the property. This is the most crucial part of selling your home, so give it your best effort. You need to bring your A-game to this part of the process because this is when you find and lock down a buyer.

4.1. Marketing

Go all-in on your marketing efforts. Maintain your listings and use all the means to market the home aggressively—use flyers, ads, and newspaper listings.


4.2. Showing

The showing part of the process should be impeccable on your part. Make sure the house is presentable and ready for showing, and start scheduling showings with prospective buyers.

Respond promptly to every call and text you receive. You will most likely be contacted by agents, as over 87% of buyers find homes through agents. Agents are very busy, so make sure you are quick to respond. You might miss out on a great offer if you do not get back to them on time.

Be flexible with the showings. Try to be available when the buyer wants to see the house. An excellent way to ensure maximum showings is to be available daily from 9 am to 8 pm.

Remember to get your family or pets out of the house before the showing. Also, don’t let people in unless you have scheduled a showing with them because not everyone has the best intentions.


Step 5: Handling Offers and Negotiations

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There are many different parts involved in a negotiation. You need to understand the basics of real estate negotiations before you deal with a potential buyer.

5.1.Offer

The offer will describe the property in detail, including the land, building, and all the fixtures. ‘Fixtures’ refers to all improvements made on the property attached-the building or the land, like fences, kitchen cabinets, etc.

The offer determines what is included in the property, not the website listing or MLS listing. 

Source: 17


5.2.Counter Offer

Negotiations happen through a counteroffer if you disagree with any of the terms in the offer. You reexamine the terms of the deal and consider the terms you are willing to adjust on and terms that are non-negotiable.

You change the terms you disagree with and present the counteroffer to the buyer. The counteroffer can be made before the deadline for binding acceptance.

Source: 18


5.3. Acceptance

When the buyers and sellers sign the offer, it is officially ‘accepted.’ The date on the last of the parties’ signatures becomes the date of acceptance. All deadlines run from the date of offer acceptance. The offer becomes a binding contract when you deliver the offer to the buyer before the deadline for binding acceptance mentioned in the offer has passed.

Source: 19


Step 6: Closing the Deal

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6.1. Steps Involved

Closing is when the ownership of the home is transferred from you to the owner. It is an elaborate process. Here’s what goes down in a typical deal closing:

  1. Title Search: A title search is conducted to find records of all mortgages, deeds, liens, and settlements and any document that will impact the title being sold. The deal can proceed further if there are no conflicts with the title.
  2. Preparation of Documents: The agent will prepare, compile and review all paperwork needed for the transfer of the title and deed. This is also when they check lender requirements and instructions and instructions from any other relevant party.
  3. Closing Date: After consulting both parties, a suitable closing date is set, giving everyone enough time to prepare for the closing.
  4. Calculations: The final amount for the closing is assessed. The buyer needs to bring a cashier’s check for this amount to the closing.
  5. Final Walkthrough: A final walkthrough of the property is conducted either on the day of or the day before closing. The property is reviewed one last time to ensure no changes have been made since the previous inspection.
  6. Signing: The buyer and seller sign all required documents and loan paperwork at closing time. The seller will sign the closing affidavit and the transfer deed. The buyer will sign the new mortgage and note.
  7. Downpayment: The buyer will transfer the remaining funds in their downpayment to the attorney through a cashier’s check.

After closing, the attorney will submit records of the transaction and the deed to the local municipality. Finally, you hand over the home’s keys to the buyer, and they take possession of the home.


7. FAQs

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7.1. Can You Sell a House With a Mortgage?

It is indeed possible to sell your house with a mortgage. You receive a mortgage payoff statement during the escrow process. The lender holding your mortgage lists the remaining balance before closing your loan. Your escrow agent sends your mortgage balance to the lender, completing your mortgage settlement.


7.2. Should You Sell Your Home for Cash?

 Selling your home for cash means skipping a lot of expenses and labor involved in staging, showing, and handing offers for the house. You don’t have to jump through hoops, and the deal goes much quicker.

However, there is a catch. Cash buyers don’t typically pay more than 75% of the home’s value after subtracting any anticipated repair expenses. For example, a $200,000 home that needs $20,000 worth of repairs will fetch you $130,000.

Selling a house for cash is more convenient, but you take a big financial hit.


8. Avoid these mistakes while selling a house as an owner

8.1 Hiding Major Problems

You cannot get away with hiding any major problems in the house. It will come to light during the home inspection. Instead of trying to hide the issue, you can fix it before listing, take the issue into account while pricing or set the price according to market value and offer buyer credit for the repairs.


8.2 Not Carrying Proper Insurance

Your lender might have asked you to get homeowner’s insurance. If not, you should get it before you start the selling process. If a view sustains an injury in your home during a home, they can sue you for damages. Having insurance will protect you from that kind of liability. You also need to take reasonable steps to ensure the safety of viewers, like getting your dog away from home during showings.


8.3. Selling to Unqualified Buyers

You are well within your rights to expect your buyer to bring proof of funds or a pre-approval letter from a lender. It would be unwise to sell to a buyer with no evidence of if they can afford to make the purchase. It will save you a lot of trouble if you stick to qualified buyers.


8.4. Selling During Winter Months

There is such a thing as the right time to sell the house. Winter is a tough time to sell houses. People are busy with the holidays and social engagements. The cold weather also keeps potential buyers away, as most people prefer to stay home.

Unless extraordinary circumstances force you to sell your home during the winter, it is better to wait till spring to sell your house.


8.5.Expecting the Asking Price

In any real estate transaction, you need to be willing to play ball with buyers. People usually leave room for negotiations while listing their homes, and any intelligent buyer will try to negotiate before putting an offer on the table.

The price you can get depends on your pricing strategy and market conditions. You might be able to snag the asking price from a buyer, but don’t go into the negotiation expecting to get the asking price.


Wrapping Up

Selling your house on your own can be a bit of a rollercoaster. It is one of the most important transactions of your life, so you cannot afford to mess up.

We know it is a lot of information to digest, but take it one step at a time, and you will be done with the whole process before you know it! Hopefully, this detailed guide will help you navigate the transaction without trouble. All the best!

Written By:

  • An experienced marketing consultant with a decade of hands-on experience in real estate. You might catch her at a local jazz bar on a Friday night or at home experimenting with vertical kitchen gardens.

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