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How to Sell a House By Owner in Wisconsin: A Badger State FSBO Guide

At HomeLight, our vision is a world where every real estate transaction is simple, certain, and satisfying. Therefore, we promote strict editorial integrity in each of our posts.

When the time comes to move, some tenacious homeowners in Wisconsin are eager to take over the reins of their home sale and figure out how to sell a house by owner.

A house is typically a person’s largest financial asset, and the decision to sell solo is often understandably driven by a desire to save on commission fees and pocket more equity from a hard-earned investment.

In recent years, the hot Wisconsin real estate market and a steep rise in equity added extra incentive to maximize profits.

Impulsive home purchases also weren’t unheard of during the pandemic, so maybe you haven’t owned your Wisconsin home very long and are concerned about covering the cost of selling your house. As the market shifts, you may have new concerns about how much you can get for your home and the amount of your net proceeds.

With millions of homes sold each year, a modest portion of sellers — about 7%-8%, historically — choose to list “For Sale By Owner” (or FSBO — pronounced fizz-bow).

While the method can work for Wisconsinites, it does come with some risks. Selling a house is a pretty rare event for most people, so you don’t know what you don’t know.

In this guide to selling FSBO in Wisconsin, we’ll cover what can be the most difficult aspects of selling by owner in the Badger State, including the steps that might be harder than you think. We’ll also provide a comprehensive overview of the full process to prep, market, and close on your home without the assistance of a real estate agent.

Note: Once you’ve seen what’s required, you can roll up your sleeves and get started with your FSBO sale. Or — in the event you’d prefer to work with a real estate agent — HomeLight would be happy to introduce you to highly-rated professionals in your Wisconsin market who can help you command top dollar and provide a low-stress selling experience. 

Feeling Overwhelmed by the Process of Listing Your Home FSBO in Wisconsin?

Selling your home yourself is a complicated and time-consuming process. If you don’t have the time or the expertise to list your home FSBO, working with a top agent in Wisconsin could be your best bet. HomeLight analyzes over 27 million transactions and thousands of reviews to find you the best agent for your unique situation.

How does selling by owner (FSBO) work in Wisconsin?

Disclaimer: While we’ve done our best to research laws, guidelines, or policies for FSBO sales in Wisconsin, HomeLight always recommends that you look into the local regulations for your area and when in doubt, consult with a legal advisor.

FSBO is a method of selling your home without the involvement of a listing agent. In a FSBO scenario, the seller assumes the responsibilities that would normally fall to their agent such as pricing the home, marketing it to potential buyers, arranging showings, and negotiating the deal.

In an agent-assisted sale, the seller typically pays a commission amounting to around 6% of the sale price, which is then most often split 50/50 with the buyer’s agent. That 6% is deducted from the seller’s proceeds at closing. By selling FSBO, a seller can eliminate the cost of the listing agent’s commission (so around 3%), though they may still need to offer a buyer’s agent commission.

Buyers’ agents will expect compensation for the work they do to bring a buyer to a sale, such as arranging showings and helping to tee up and qualify the buyer. Plus, when a seller isn’t working with an agent, the buyer’s agent may end up carrying more of the weight to get the deal to the finish line.

Next: Consult our guide on who pays closing costs when selling a house by owner for more details.

Finally, a FSBO sale does not mean that a seller won’t need any professional assistance. In Wisconsin, sellers are not required to hire a real estate attorney, but FSBO sales typically warrant legal and professional oversight of some kind to avoid an abundance of legal risk.

Most people who sell by owner will need to hire an attorney to review and prepare key documents and make sure paperwork is filled out properly, such as the seller’s disclosures. We’ll address what disclosures are required when selling a house in Wisconsin later in this post.

Why sell a house by owner in Wisconsin?

The top three reasons people cite for selling FSBO include: “did not want to pay a commission or fee” (36%); sold to a relative, friend, or neighbor (30%); or that the buyers contacted the seller directly (8%), according to data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

To get a firsthand perspective about selling homes in Wisconsin, we spoke with Margaret Labus in the Lake Geneva area in the southeast of the state, who sells homes more than 39% quicker than the average agent in her area.

We also spoke with Aaron Brunette, a top real estate agent in the Eau Claire area of western Wisconsin, who is a single-family-home expert — working with over 72% more single-family homes than the average Eau Claire agent.

Labus says most Wisconsin FSBO sellers she encounters “have had either a bad experience before (with an agent) or just want to try it out on their own. But they’re very few and far between, honestly. Even in this really strong seller’s market, we have a very low percentage of for-sale-by-owners.”

However, 2022 data from NAR shows that FSBO homes sold at a median of $225,000, significantly lower than the median of agent-assisted homes at $345,000.” This NAR data contrasts the median prices among all FSBO homes (for which we have limited data) against all agent-assisted homes, regardless of distinctions like square footage. However, an independent study conducted from 2016 to 2017 which does adjust for square footage also shows a significant price difference: FSBO homes sold for an average of 5.5% less than agent-marketed sales.

As you can see, FSBO is a mixed bag. So, before we share our selling tips, let’s lay out some pros and cons to help you decide if this is the route for you.

Pros of selling a house by owner

  • Ability to save on listing agent commission fees, usually around 3% of the sale price.
  • You’re completely in charge and can manage the sale as you please.
  • No “go-between” in your communications with buyers.

Cons of selling a house by owner

  • FSBO listings tend to sell for less, statistically speaking.
  • Unless the seller already has a buyer lined up, FSBO listings can take longer to sell. It’s common, for example, for a FSBO seller to turn to Brunette after seeing very little activity: “A lot of people try on their own and then after a couple of weeks, they give up.”
  • Managing all communications and negotiations yourself is time-consuming. Not having a communication buffer can be a downside if the buyer pushes back or says negative things about your property.
  • You’ll be negotiating without help from an expert, which could mean leaving money on the table.
  • Setting the listing price is challenging in the changing, post-pandemic Wisconsin market without an agent to monitor its vitals. You may be tempted to go too high, but you could also risk under-selling with a low price. As Labus notes, “This market is complex, this market is confusing, this market is competitive. There is a lot of money that can be left on the table if you don’t sell your house properly.”
  • Marketing your home is time-consuming.
  • You’ll still have selling costs, which may include transfer and settlement fees. Not having agent representation could also lead to paying more in seller concessions.
  • Without the help of an agent to guide you through the disclosure process, you may put yourself at legal risk to be held liable for potential future problems with your home. According to Brunette, many FSBO sellers don’t realize that “they’re going to be liable for any non-disclosed items in the future.”
  • Some buyers may be wary of FSBO listings, notes Brunette: “A lot of buyers are a little skeptical right now of FSBOs. What are they hiding? Do they have a biased opinion of its value because it’s their own property?”

In spite of the cons, we’ll help you navigate the challenges of FSBO if you’re committed to selling your Wisconsin house without agent assistance. For some, selling a home FSBO is a challenge worth accepting, and success can be measured in more ways than one.

At least get the home inspection so that you can therefore transfer the liability to the home inspector and not yourself when you’re filling out a condition report.
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    Aaron Brunette Real Estate Agent
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    Aaron Brunette
    Aaron Brunette Real Estate Agent at AABRU REAL ESTATE
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Steps to sell a house by owner

Next, let’s review the FSBO process step by step.

1. Prepare your house for sale

Whether you’re selling with an agent or FSBO, at a minimum you’ll want to get your Wisconsin home into respectable shape before any showings to increase your chances of receiving a fair price. Here are a few standard tasks to add to the list.

Indoors

These efforts will go a long way toward impressing buyers looking for a home in Wisconsin:

  • Declutter floors, shelves, and surfaces throughout the home.
  • Make small fixes and repairs, like a leaky faucet or broken door handle.
  • Lightly update with new light fixtures, faucets, or cabinet hardware.
  • Refinish hardwood floors.
  • Repaint bold walls (or those that look dingy) in a neutral color.
  • Reduce furniture in crowded rooms — consider a temporary storage unit.
  • Stage the home with final touches like fresh-cut flowers or a basket of fresh produce.
  • Use rugs to define spaces and place them strategically.
  • Deep clean until the house is sparkling.
  • Eliminate odors, but be careful with strong fragrances too. Brunette advises, “Make sure you don’t have animal smell, but don’t overpower it either. People will think you’re trying to hide something.”

In Wisconsin’s shifting market, “Condition is really going to drive days on market,” Labus says. “Things are still very much selling. Even with the increase in interest rates, we’re seeing very steady activity.” But if the interior condition of your house is extremely dated, she adds — “things like (unattractive) interior paint, funky looking countertops, blue toilets” — the house will likely take longer to sell.

Outdoors

Data from HomeLight’s 2022 Top Agents Insight Report shows that on average, “Buyers will pay 7% more for a house with great curb appeal versus a home with a neglected exterior.”

Some important curb appeal upgrades can include:

  • Mow the lawn and pull weeds.
  • Apply fresh mulch liberally.
  • Upgrade your landscaping. Consider a new walkway, flowerbed, or shrubs.
  • Add a fresh coat of exterior paint.
  • Install a new garage door if yours is looking old or not working properly.
  • Take pictures of your Wisconsin home while the grass is green and the flowers are blooming, or during autumn when the leaves have vibrant color — even if you’re not going to sell until winter. Labus says such strategic photos will set your home apart, “rather than having snow-covered patios and decks that people can’t really see and envision how they might enjoy it.”
  • Shovel snow before showings or before taking photos (if you weren’t able to take them as advised above).
  • Beware of trendy patinated metal doors and other weathered accents. While these are popular in Wisconsin right now, Brunette says they can make some buyers think your property isn’t well maintained.

In general, curb appeal is crucial. “If they do not like what they see from the outside, they’re never coming in the door — no matter what it looks like on the inside,” advises Brunette.

2. Do the homework necessary to set a competitive price

You’ve arrived at a critical moment in your FSBO process: setting a listing price. You don’t want to leave money on the table, yet you want to encourage activity on your listing.

In the Wisconsin market, “Pricing is going to make the difference between selling and sitting on the market for six months,” says Labus. “Pricing is still king.”

Not only that, but Labus notes that the listing price “will set the tone as far as whether buyers think that you are reasonable or not reasonable as far as selling your house. Pricing is so, so imperative.”

To decide on a competitive price before listing a home, an agent usually conducts a comparative market analysis (CMA). This is a highly-detailed study of “comps” — similar homes nearby that have sold recently, are pending, on the market, or were previously listed but taken off the market. Some may have even been pulled off the market without a sale.

Without an agent, you’ll miss out on the complexity of a full CMA and the know-how to interpret it. However, with a little time and money, you can set a competitive price yourself.

Conduct your own “CMA Lite”

It’s time to roll up your sleeves and research.

Start with an online home value estimate

As a starting point, look at several online estimators for your home’s value. HomeLight’s Home Value Estimator aggregates publicly available data such as tax records and assessments, your home’s last sale price, and recent sales records for other properties in the same neighborhood.

We also add a new layer of information to our estimates using a short questionnaire. Tell us a few details about your Wisconsin home, such as:

  • How much work does it need?
  • What type of home is it (single-family, condo, townhouse, or other)?
  • Roughly when was your house built?
  • Are you planning to sell soon?

Using these insights, we’ll provide you with a preliminary estimate of home value in under two minutes.

Whether you use Zillow, Chase, Realtor, or Redfin to get a home value estimate, think of any online home price tool as a first step (not your only source of truth) — and recognize that the data used may be limited.

Narrowly filter your search for comps

When you’re ready to find comps, you can choose from sites like Zillow, Trulia, Redfin, or Realtor.

You’ll want to filter your searches to the area very near your house (within blocks if possible) and with similar characteristics. If you’re not finding any comps, expand your search map.

You’ll also want to filter results by details like:

  • Listing status (look at recently sold, pending, and active)
  • Number of bedrooms
  • Number of bathrooms
  • Square footage
  • Home type (single-family, condo, etc.)

Beyond the above criteria, the more houses you find with floor plans and an age similar to yours, the better.

Use a site like Zillow to collect your data

As an example, let’s take a look at how to filter your search for comps on Zillow.

  • Navigate to Zillow.
  • Type in your address. If a pop-up with your home’s specs appears, close it.
  • Filter by “sold.” Yellow dots should appear on the map surrounding your house.

A screenshot of Zillow's website, showing how to use the filters options.

  • Now, filter by the number of bedrooms and bathrooms and check the box “Use exact match.”

A screenshot from Zillow's website, showing how to filter by bedrooms and bathrooms.

  • Next, filter by home type.

A screenshot from Zillow's website, showing how to filter by home type.

  • Next, select the “More” box. Here you can specify square footage, lot size, year built, and — crucially — the “sold in last” (time period) category.

A screenshot from Zillow's website, showing the various other filters available to use.

  • Scroll down and select to view houses that sold in the last 30 days.
  • If you find there are not many results in your area, try expanding to 90 days. However, the further back you go, the less relevant the comps.
  • If necessary, click the plus or minus buttons to widen the search area.
  • Once you’ve collected data for sold houses, revise or restart the search to view active and pending listings, as well.

Invest in an appraisal or pre-inspection

If you want to further reduce guesswork, some agents recommend paying an appraiser to provide a professional opinion of value for your home. An appraiser will combine recent property data, research of the surrounding market, and information collected from a walkthrough of your home to determine an appraised value. For a single-family home, an appraisal will likely cost $500 to $600 — well worth it to avoid possibly over- or underpricing your house by thousands.

In Wisconsin, however, Brunette says that FSBO sellers ordering their own appraisals is not currently a common practice. Instead, he recommends getting a pre-inspection: “At least get the home inspection so that you can therefore transfer the liability to the home inspector and not yourself when you’re filling out a condition report.”

Identifying major issues on an inspection before listing will also help you set a fair price in light of buyers’ anticipated concerns and repair requests.

Make sense of the research

Compare your home’s features against the nearby comps you collected. Hopefully, the houses you studied give an indication of an appropriate price range for your home. From there, you can make dollar adjustments based on characteristics that add value (patios, curb appeal, an extra bedroom) versus detracting from it (a busy street, deferred maintenance, less square footage, any major issues revealed on the pre-inspection).

Consider the differences and similarities of comps with the appraised value of your home to choose a price that will encourage activity (too high and it may seem out of reach to many buyers), but will also maximize your profit.

Even without an agent, time spent studying the market and conducting your own “CMA Lite” can help you identify a competitive price. “The market tells us what the price should be for the house — not the owner, not the agent,” says Labus.

3. Photograph your home

Listing photos are powerful, either pulling in buyers for showings or keeping them away.

To give your listing an edge, consider hiring an experienced real estate photographer. While they may charge as much as $140 to $180 an hour, “professional photography of at least the exterior of the house makes a big difference,” Labus says.

But if you do go the DIY route, make sure to:

  • Use a good camera with a wide-angle lens.
  • Pay attention to lighting.
  • Include a photo of every room.
  • Take multiple pictures of living areas, kitchens, and bathrooms.
  • Try shooting different angles.

Review our guide on how to take quality real estate photos for further guidance.

4. Create a detailed, compelling listing

Along with stellar photos, you’ll want to craft an informative and compelling listing. Leverage both the listing description (a paragraph or two highlighting key features) and the property details to show potential buyers all about your home and what makes it desirable.

Tell a story with your description

Draw in potential buyers with a powerful listing description that tells a story about your Wisconsin house, including details like:

  • Your home’s most unique and desirable features, like a breakfast nook or sunroom.
  • Recent upgrades like a kitchen or bathroom remodel or new roof or HVAC system.
  • High-end appliances, materials, or finishes.
  • Outdoor features like a pool or patio.
  • Neighborhood features and amenities.
  • Nearby parks, walking trails, restaurants, and attractions.
  • Key search terms Wisconsinites in your area are likely to use in Google when searching for homes (i.e. phrases like “boat slip” or “lake rights” if your home is near the lake).

According to Labus, “Thinking how a buyer searches is one of the more important ways of figuring out what to include in the description.”

Lastly, and this is crucial: specify in your description whether a buyer’s agent will receive a commission from the proceeds. Most agents don’t want to show their clients properties from which they’d receive no commission. You can decide not to offer a buyer’s agent commission, but recognize that doing so could limit your buyer pool as buyers’ agents typically expect to be compensated for their efforts.

Don’t skimp on the property details

Aside from writing the description, you may be prompted to enter information like:

  • Age of the home
  • Square footage
  • Architectural style (i.e., split-level, rancher, craftsman)
  • Appliances included
  • Exterior building materials
  • Flooring types
  • HOA fees
  • School zone information
  • Lot size

Many real estate agents and potential buyers really do read this “fine print” on your listing — so include accurate details, and plenty of them.

5. List your home online

It’s finally time to post your Wisconsin home online. While you can create FSBO listings for free on popular search sites, you’d have to painstakingly post site by site, and your listing wouldn’t reach the majority of buyers and agents.

To give your home the most exposure, pay to have your home put on your local MLS (multiple listing service) — a platform agents use to share properties with one another as well as major real estate sites. Posting there will feed your listing to buyers’ agent databases and to common sites buyers use.

Only licensed real estate agents and brokers who are MLS members can post to the MLS. However, you have two options to gain access: paying an agent to post for you or using a FSBO platform online.

Pay an agent to list your home on the MLS

A local agent may be willing to list your house on the MLS for a flat fee, without any other involvement in your real estate transaction. If you decide to go this route, make sure you ask whether the fee includes updating your listing if necessary.

Use a FSBO platform with an MLS option

There are a variety of paid websites that you can use to list your Wisconsin house online as “for sale by owner.” These sites offer packages ranging from about $100 to $400 for just a listing, or a larger flat fee of $3,000 to $5,000 that includes any number of additional professional marketing services.

Some of these companies display their rates on their websites, but others won’t quote a fee until you input your address or select an area of the country. A few examples include:

It’s important to note that most of these companies serve FSBO sellers nationwide, which can cause challenges if the assisting representatives don’t understand the local market trends in your Wisconsin neighborhood.

Whatever you choose, read the fine print carefully: some sites may have hidden fees or even take a percentage off your sale — a detour you’d rather avoid on the FSBO route.

Not willing to pay for the MLS?

If you’re determined to save money by foregoing the MLS, creating a free FSBO listing on Zillow might be your top option. You can post videos and unlimited photos, and get fairly wide exposure via Zillow and the Zillow-owned Trulia.

6. Market your home

Now it’s time to spread the word about your Wisconsin home.

Experienced agents like Labus and Brunette know that posting a home on the MLS is just the beginning of the marketing phase. A successful home sale requires a deliberate and targeted marketing plan to reach the right buyers and attract the best offers. And yet, “Advertising and getting it out to the public is kind of the biggest problem (for FSBO sellers),” says Brunette. For many of the FSBO sellers who eventually become his clients, he says, “They’re trying it on their own, and they realize after a few weeks that they’re not getting the exposure that they thought or that they hoped they would.”

To face this challenge, here are some of the steps you can take to market your home:

Place a nice FSBO sign by the road

Consider getting a custom yard sign rather than purchasing a generic one you write on with a Sharpie. You can order a custom sign on a site like Vistaprint with your contact information, plus a stand, for as little as $25 plus shipping. Note that some local MLS providers may have rules about whether you can post a FSBO yard sign while your home is on the MLS.

Some of the FSBO websites mentioned above, such as FSBOMadison.com, offer yard signs as part of their packages. In this case, your sign will likely include their name (since it’s required by Wisconsin law that brokers identify themselves in any marketing). This may not be a bad thing, however, as it may appear more legitimate to potential buyers than a typical FSBO sign.

Share on social media

Share your home across social media — and ask your friends to share, too. “Facebook Marketplace seems like FSBO’s biggest avenue right now,” Brunette comments. And the more social platforms on which you share the listing, the more exposure you’re likely to get.

Hold an open house

Try these strategies for a successful open house event:

  • Share details on Facebook and Nextdoor.
  • Update your MLS listing with the open house details (if you’re able to as part of paying the flat fee), or update your DIY FSBO listing.
  • Place open house signs at nearby intersections.
  • Tidy up the house before potential buyers come through.
  • Pass out info sheets with the address, bullet points about the house, your contact info, and perhaps one photo.
  • If you can, collect visitors’ info — then follow up later to ask if they have any questions.

Find more expert tips for how to hold an open house at this link.

7. Manage showings

If your marketing is successful, your next step will be to show the home to prospective buyers. Welcome to the busiest phase of the home sale process. In fact, a major reason some FSBO sellers switch to an agent is that they underestimated the time, energy, and expertise needed to manage this crucial step.

To manage the logistics of showings:

  • Respond to inquiries ASAP.
  • Set end times if you need to fit many showings in one day. This will also create a sense of demand and urgency for buyers to place offers.
  • Remove or secure valuables.
  • Make sure the home is clean and tidy for showings.
  • Follow up with buyers’ agents after showings to get their feedback.
  • Shovel snow — not just for curb appeal, but for safety.
  • If you’re using a lockbox, Brunette says to place it where buyers will get the best first impression of your home as they enter, even if that’s not the front door.

Find serious buyers

You’ll also need to decide how you’d like to vet potential buyers before letting them into your home. Whereas most serious buyers who work with a real estate agent will have a preapproval letter ready, this can present a particular challenge for the FSBO seller.

“How does a FSBO prequalify a buyer?” asks Brunette. You can try looking at a potential buyer’s online footprint and social media accounts before a showing, but it’s best to simply ask for proof of their seriousness: “If I was a FSBO, I guess I would ask for that prequalification up front,” says Brunette. Otherwise, you may end up with tire-kickers and neighbors who just want to see what you have.

Should you be present for showings?

If you’d rather not be present for every showing, consider using a lockbox with a code to let buyers’ agents enter the house. This is standard industry practice among agents. To ensure you’re working with someone legitimate, use Google or sites like arello.com to check their real estate license number.

With unrepresented buyers, plan to be on the property for the showing. During a showing, we recommend you:

  • Point out a few highlights of the house.
  • Let buyers look without hovering.
  • Be prepared to answer questions.
  • Avoid the temptation to tell all — let the house and listing do the talking.

8. Evaluate offers, negotiate a deal, and make disclosures

You’ve got your first offer — congratulations! Before signing anything, here are key considerations when considering an offer on your Wisconsin home:

  • If you haven’t already, vet potential buyers by requiring a mortgage pre-approval letter or proof of funds.
  • Require everything in writing.
  • Remember you can counter-offer and negotiate.
  • Look for a good real estate attorney. (See the next step!)
  • Be wary of Wisconsin “land contract” offers. Brunette says FSBO listings in the state can attract these requests for seller-financing, but this may be an indicator that a buyer cannot afford a down payment or doesn’t qualify for traditional financing.

Property condition disclosure

In Wisconsin, a seller is generally required to disclose the condition of the home to the buyer no later than 10 days after signing a purchase agreement via a Real Estate Condition Report Form. Some sellers may prefer to provide the disclosures before an offer has even been presented so that a prospective buyer is more informed beforehand and less likely to withdraw from a deal later on.

In an agent-assisted sale, your listing agent would likely provide you with this form. However, as a FSBO seller, you can find several versions online, such as this one. Whichever one you use, make sure it includes all the required components mandated by Wisconsin law.

What will you be asked? You can expect to disclose any significant defects or issues you’re aware of concerning:

  • The structural, mechanical, and environmental systems of the home
  • Any issues with wells, septic systems, or storage tanks
  • Taxes, special assessments, and permits
  • Land use

As any honorable listing agent would tell you, if in doubt about an issue of the home’s condition, you should disclose it. If you know of and do not disclose a major problem, and that defect is later discovered, you could be held liable for damage or subsequent costs.

Lead-based paint disclosure

According to federal law, if your home was built before 1978, you must also disclose any knowledge you have of lead-based paint or other lead hazards on the property. This usually happens at closing, when the seller, buyer, and any real estate agents involved in the transaction fill out a version of this form.

9. Close the sale — with professional help

Time to button up that deal.

While some states require that FSBO sellers hire a real estate lawyer to help close their sale, Wisconsin does not.

However, it’s still a good idea to invest in the services of an experienced attorney as you close one of the biggest and most complex deals of your life. By doing so, you’ll minimize your legal and financial risk, plus simplify the process for yourself.

Real estate attorney fees can vary depending on location and how much help you want or need. In Wisconsin, the average rate is reported to be $279 per hour, although some lawyers may charge a flat fee for all the legal legwork from offer to closing. (Attorney Timothy S. Riley in Madison, for example, charges a $650 flat fee.) Either way, the cost is well worth it for professional guidance in closing one of life’s largest legal transactions.

People think summertime is the hottest time in the market. Whereas in our particular market in South Wisconsin, it’s January thru May. They really have to do their homework in their particular market.
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    Margaret Labus Real Estate Agent
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    Margaret Labus
    Margaret Labus Real Estate Agent at @properties
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FSBO mistakes to avoid in Wisconsin

On your FSBO journey, watch out for these major pitfalls:

  • Missing out on the MLS.
  • Forgetting or refusing to pay the buyer’s agent commission.
  • Over- or underpricing.
  • Letting your house sit on the market too long.
  • Assuming that because you’re a Wisconsinite, you do not need to research the market.

“People think summertime is the hottest time in the market,” says Labus. “Whereas in our particular market in South Wisconsin, it’s January thru May. They really have to do their homework in their particular market.”

And remember: it’s okay to shift strategy and ask for help.

Request a Cash Offer on Your Wisconsin Home and Skip the Prep Work

Skip the prep work and the agent commissions by requesting a cash offer for your home. With HomeLight’s Simple Sale, you can receive a no-obligation all-cash offer in as little as one week, and close the sale in as few as 10 days.

Alternatives to selling by owner in Wisconsin

If you decide you don’t want the hassle or pressure of FSBO, you’ve got other solid options.

Enlist the help of a top-rated real estate agent

Ultimately, the services and price gains you can get with an experienced real estate agent may put more money in your pocket than FSBO. A proven agent is also better equipped to help you achieve your selling and moving timelines.

Brunette tells the story of a FSBO seller in Eau Claire who realized they needed his expertise: “They had too much personal property on site. And it was a pretty big house, but you couldn’t tell that because of the amount of stuff that was in the house.” He suggested they get a professional organizer or declutter as much as they could, but the seller was overwhelmed.

Ultimately, Brunette paid for a professional stager and organizer to prepare the house, then put it back on the market, and “the next day it sold.”

Since the home sold for half-a-million dollars, Brunette was happy to cover the $1,000 for professional staging in order to deliver success for his client.

Interested in such expertise? HomeLight’s Agent Match platform can connect you to top-performing agents in your Wisconsin market. Our free tool analyzes over 27 million transactions and thousands of reviews to determine which agent is best for you based on your needs. It takes only two minutes to receive your matches.

Request a cash offer to buy your Wisconsin home

If you’d like to skip the sale prep altogether — plus avoid paying agent commissions — you can opt to sell your home “as is” to an all-cash buyer instead.

For a low-stress experience, consider requesting a cash offer from HomeLight’s Simple Sale platform. Tell us a few details about your home, and in as few as five days, we’ll send a no-obligation all-cash offer your way. If you decide to accept the offer, Simple Sale sellers have the ability to close in as little as 10 days.

Without leaving the Simple Sale platform, you’ll also be able to compare your cash offer to an estimation of what your home would sell for on the open market so you can make an informed decision.

Ready to sell your Wisconsin home?

Unless you already have a buyer lined up, selling a house by owner in Wisconsin requires a significant investment of time and effort. You’ll need to pull your own comps, capture excellent pictures, create a listing, market the house online, field inquiries, host showings, negotiate, and close the deal. And that’s after preparing the house itself.

You also have to consider that FSBO listings tend to sell for less than agent-assisted sales. An experienced agent who knows the area can make recommendations for targeted upgrades to help you maximize your sale price and get a premium offer. This can help to offset or, in some cases, more than make up for the cost of commission — while saving you time and headaches.

If you choose to go FSBO, you should have a good idea now of what to expect from the process. Otherwise, our internal transaction data at HomeLight shows that the top 5% of real estate agents sell homes for as much as 10% more than average, and we’d be happy to introduce you to some of the best agents in your Wisconsin market.

Header Image Source: (Josiah H / Unsplash)