Should I sell without a realtor? | Cost of selling FSBO | How to sell without a realtor | FSBO paperwork | Best alternative: discount realtors | FAQs
Selling your home without a realtor means you won’t have to pay a listing commission, which in Wisconsin averages 3.1% of the sale price. Considering a typical Wisconsin house is worth about $256,000, that’s a savings of $7,987.
However, trying to sell a home For Sale by Owner (FSBO) can be tough. You’ll be responsible for every step of the selling process, which can take up a lot of your time and energy.
In the end, selling a house without a real estate agent isn’t worth it for most homeowners in Wisconsin. Many sellers don’t even realize that there are low commission real estate companies that offer professional assistance at reduced prices.
If you’re considering selling a house without a realtor in Wisconsin, read on to find out everything you need to know to do it successfully.
✍️ Key Takeaways of FSBO Sales
- Selling without a real estate agent means avoiding a listing commission (3.1% on average in Wisconsin). But in exchange for those savings, you’ll have to do everything from advertising your home to completing legal paperwork to negotiating the final deal.
- In most cases, you’ll still need to offer a buyer’s agent commission. 2.6% is typical in Wisconsin.
- Selling without an agent is best for experienced sellers or people selling to family or friends.
- For most sellers, there are better cost-saving options that will net you more money and provide professional support.
Should I sell my house without a realtor?
Selling a house for sale by owner in Wisconsin comes with many pros and cons. While it’s not recommended for everyone, FSBO can help experienced home sellers save on commission—but only if they know what they’re doing.
✅Selling your home without a realtor might be right for you if…
- You want to save on commission
- You have plenty of time to take on the responsibilities of a real estate agent
- You already have a buyer lined up
- You’re in a hot seller’s market and you have a desirable home
🚫 Selling without a realtor might not be right for you if…
- You don’t have a lot of free time
- You’ve never sold a home in Wisconsin
- You want to sell for market value – or higher
If you’re still not sure, check out our thorough guide to selling FSBO to help you decide. If you’re open to other options, some low-commission real estate companies, like Clever Real Estate, allow you to work with a top local real estate agent at half the typical cost.
Cost of selling a house without a realtor in Wisconsin
Below, you’ll find a list of prices for common services you might want to consider if you decide to sell without a realtor. However, know that if your home is in need of repairs or is in a buyer’s market, you might need to spend a lot more to prep and market your property.
💸 Common costs for FSBO sellers
|Appraisal||$285 to $$345||To price your home more accurately|
|Photography||$229||To compete with homes listed by agents|
|Staging||$2,000||To stand out to local buyers|
|Real estate attorney||$204 to $359 per hour||To assist with paperwork, contracts, and legal requirements|
|Flat fee MLS listing||$300 to $600||To get listed on the MLS|
|Buyer’s agent commission||2.6% of sale price||To compensate the agent that represents the buyer (the seller usually pays)|
|Transfer fees||$0.30 for every $100 of the sale price||To pay the local county and the state of Wisconsin for the title transfer|
On average, it costs 7.5% of the home price to sell by owner and about 10% of the home price to sell with a real estate agent. However, the amount you’ll actually save will depend on repairs you need to make, concessions, and other expenses.
Use our calculator to get an idea of how much you can expect to spend if you sell without a realtor.
If you’re considering selling without a realtor in Wisconsin, check out our friends at Clever Real Estate. Clever eliminates all the hassles and headaches of FSBO while helping you pay less than you would for a traditional realtor.
In Wisconsin, sellers pay an average of 3.1% to a listing agent. Considering the median home value in Wisconsin is $256,000, that amounts to $7,987. But with Clever, you can sell with a top local agent for just 1.5%, letting you keep more of your home’s equity in your pocket.
7 steps to sell a home in Wisconsin without a realtor
Selling a home without a realtor involves many of the same steps as selling with one, except you’re on your own. To learn more about the basic steps to sell, read our simple, 12-step guide to selling a house.
For Wisconsin FSBO sellers, here’s what you need to know.
1. Get your home ready to sell
The for sale by owner process in Wisconsin begins with preparing your home for marketing and showings. This usually involves:
- Making minor repairs
- Updating small items like doorknobs or light fixtures
- Getting rid of clutter and personal effects
- Deep cleaning
- Fixing any landscaping issues (e.g., driveway cracks or adding mulch)
Stay away from more expensive fixes or personalized updates. It’s difficult to get your money back on large ticket items, and buyers may not have the same style as you.
Once the house is ready to market, you can stage it and take listing photos yourself, or hire a professional. A staging service will replace the furniture and decor in your home to make it look more modern and appealing, but it typically costs about $1,529.On average, photographers in Wisconsin will charge $140 for an hour-long session.
If your home needs too much work to sell to a typical buyer, you might consider selling to a cash buyer. You can quickly compare cash buyer offers against your home’s value on the open market with Clever Offers. Try it for free with no obligation.
2. Price your home accurately
One of the biggest mistakes people make when listing a home for sale by owner in Wisconsin is mispricing it. Whether you list too high or too low, getting the list price wrong can cost you time and money.
In fact, national data suggests FSBO sellers get between 5 and 26% less for their homes than comparable homes sold by realtors.
With this in mind, use one of the following strategies for coming to a logical and fair list price.
Get a comparative market analysis (CMA)
When conducting a comparative market analysis, search for recently sold homes in your neighborhood that are similar to yours (often called “comps”). These comps are unlikely to be identical to your home, but the more similar they are to yours, the better estimate they give you for how much your home could sell for.
Focus only on homes that have sold in the past 3–6 months, and look as close to your neighborhood as possible. Using 3 or 4 comps should give you a pretty good idea of how much your home would sell for, with the more recent sales likely to be more accurate than older comps.
When you work with a traditional realtor, they do this analysis for you, but you can do it yourself if you can stay objective in your analysis.
If you prefer a more removed and professional opinion, soliciting a CMA from a flat fee MLS company is a good option. This is an affordable way to get an objective analysis from experienced professionals.
Hire an appraiser
For an even more thorough assessment of your home’s value, consider hiring a local appraiser. Appraisers are licensed professionals that will visit your home in person and provide a detailed report of your home’s value based on its size, physical condition, materials, amenities, and more. Appraisals are the most trusted form of a home valuation; they’re used by banks, lenders, and investors to determine the value and risk of any property investment.
The average appraisal in Wisconsin costs between $285 and $345.
» LEARN: Should I get an appraisal before selling?
As you consider your list price, figure out if you’ll be liable for taxes on your sale profit next tax season. It may affect how you choose to price your home.
3. List and market your home
Before you settle on a marketing strategy for your Wisconsin FSBO, review state regulations for real estate advertising to make sure you aren’t breaking any rules. If your home is part of an HOA, they may have additional rules for how you can advertise your home.
Start by listing your home on free FSBO websites like:
- Facebook Marketplace
- Zillow/Trulia (in the FSBO section)
Paid sites are an option as well. You can always try old-school methods like yard signs and word of mouth for a little extra help finding interested buyers.
If you want maximum exposure, think about working with a Wisconsin flat fee MLS company.
Wisconsin flat fee MLS companies
All real estate agents and brokers list their clients’ homes for sale on their local multiple listing service (MLS). The MLS is a database of homes on the market that realtors use to stay up-to-date on what’s available, and it automatically populates listings onto popular sites like Zillow, Realtor.com, and Redfin. Adding your listing to the MLS greatly increases its exposure.
It used to be the case that only realtors could list homes for sale on the MLS. But now we have flat fee MLS companies: local brokers that allow non-realtors to pay a small fee for that privilege.
In Wisconsin, a flat fee MLS listing will cost you about $300 to $600. Our top picks for companies in Wisconsin are:
🥇 Madcity Homes: Best for sellers who need help with pricing
🥈 SconsinSells.com: Best for sellers looking for low fees
🥉 Madison Flat Fee Homes: Best for sellers who need more support
Read our in-depth guide to Wisconsin’s flat fee MLS companies to decide which one works best for you.
Don’t forget to include a buyer’s agent commission (BAC) in your listing
By offering a buyer’s agent commission (also called a buyer’s agency fee), you’ll have more buyers knocking at your door with more (and better) offers.
While you won’t have to pay a listing fee as a FSBO seller in Wisconsin, we still recommend you offer a competitive buyer’s agent commission in your home listing. In Wisconsin, the average BAC is about 2.7% of your home’s sale price.
While it may be tempting to forgo this commission to save, that decision could cost you. A competitive BAC incentivizes buyer’s agents to bring their buyers to your home and do their part throughout the transaction. Without a BAC, the buyer’s agent would be working for free (not too enticing, huh?).
Required Wisconsin seller disclosures
Wisconsin requires sellers to provide a buyer with a complete Real Estate Condition Report (RECR) within 10 days of an accepted offer in Wisconsin. This report informs the buyer of any known material defects of the house that might influence their decision to purchase the home.
In general, it’s probably best to err on the side of caution and include a potential issue if you’re unsure. Also, you must amend the report if you become aware of new information or if something happens to the house after you’ve provided this report.
Beyond the state-required disclosure, you are also required by federal law to include a Lead-based Paint Disclosure form for any house built before 1978.
Make these forms available by attaching them to your listing, emailing them to interested buyers, or bringing hard copies to showings and open houses. Just make sure you do so within the required timeframe.
4. Manage showings on your own
Don’t publish your listing until you have a plan for managing showings and open houses. Coordinating these events and tracking communications can be stressful (even for a realtor).
At a minimum, keep a calendar for appointments and a system for filing communications with agents and interested buyers. Tools like the ShowingTime app or Doodle come in handy when coordinating many people’s schedules, but do what works for you.
Here are some helpful tips when it comes to hosting individual showings:
- Schedule appointments near each other to limit the amount of time you’ll need to be out of the home
- If the home is empty, set the thermostat to a comfortable temperature
- Shovel and salt the driveway and sidewalk if it’s winter
- Open shades to let natural light in
- Plug in air fresheners with a subtle scent
Realtors will tell you that hovering while potential buyers view the home is not a good look. Buyers need space to discuss the home openly. Buy a lockbox so realtors can access keys without your presence.
Put any flyers, disclosures, and contact information on the kitchen counter where buyers can easily find them.
5. Review and negotiate offers
There aren’t specific Wisconsin FSBO forms for selling a home, but you should receive a Residential Offer to Purchase when buyers are ready to submit formal offers. The document becomes your purchase agreement when you sign this offer, agreeing to its terms.
You don’t need an attorney to sell a house in Wisconsin, but if anything about a purchase offer is confusing, you should hire one anyway — understanding every detail of this document is critical. The Wisconsin Realtors Association also has some helpful guides that explain their commonly used purchase agreement.
Regardless of whether you work with an attorney or not, you should pay extra attention to high-importance items on the purchase agreement, such as:
- Purchase price
- Proposed closing date
- Cash offers or conventional financing
- Pre-approval letter and amount
- Earnest money deposit
- Seller repairs or credits
Experienced sellers know you can use other terms and conditions in the purchase agreement to leverage a higher sale price — try to negotiate with the buyer’s needs in mind to get the best price possible.
6. Allow the buyer to conduct due diligence
The time for inspections, appraisals, and title research is known as the due diligence period. Technically, this is the entire time between signing the purchase agreement and closing, but often purchase agreements will have more specific deadlines for things like the inspection and appraisal.
If a buyer is paying in cash, they can decide what extent of due diligence is necessary, but traditional financing usually comes with more strict rules about the steps that need to be taken to close. These usually include the following:
- Mortgage underwriting
- Property title search
- Final walkthrough
Ideally, any issues will already have been disclosed to the buyer, but if an unexpected issue arises, like a low appraisal, you may need to renegotiate. You’re not obligated to accept new terms from the buyer, but they can walk away from the deal without penalty if a contingency is not met.
If you or the buyer want to cancel the deal without an applicable contingency, talk to a lawyer first to understand what the consequences might be.
As long as nothing unexpected arises during due diligence, or the second round of negotiations is successful, you should be approved to close on the agreed-upon date.
The purchase contract specifies the closing date. Closing appointments are usually managed by a title company or real estate attorney, which you and the buyer will agree on in advance.
Prior to closing, you’ll receive an electronic copy of the closing statement which itemizes all parts of the transaction. This is your chance to ensure everything looks right, and the buyer finds out what they need to bring to closing to complete the purchase.
Most often you’ll attend the closing in person and sign a series of documents, as well as complete the transfer of title. After all the documents are signed, you should receive the proceeds via wire transfer or check.
For sale by owner paperwork in Wisconsin
Here’s a list of the Wisconsin paperwork you’ll need to sell your home without a realtor.
Not finding what you’re looking for? Check out our comprehensive list of paperwork for selling your house without a realtor.
Best alternative: work with a discount broker
For many people, trying to sell without an agent isn’t worth the hassle. If you think you’ll need some help along the way, a discount broker is a good alternative.
Discount brokers are full-service real estate agents who are willing to work for a reduced commission rate. Sellers can save thousands while still receiving assistance from an expert local agent.
» READ: The Best Discount Real Estate Brokers in Wisconsin
For discount broker services, we highly recommend our friends at Clever! Clever pre-negotiates with top agents to offer you low commission rates without compromising on service quality.
Frequently asked questions
Do I need a real estate attorney to sell a house in Wisconsin?
No, the state of Wisconsin doesn't require sellers to hire a real estate attorney. However, having a legal expert on your side can help you through the closing process and avoid potential legal complications.
Can I sell my house without a realtor in Wisconsin?
Yes, it's possible to sell your Wisconsin home without a realtor, but it isn't right for everyone. Selling a house can be a lot of work, and you'll miss out on the advice and local insights that an experienced agent can provide.
Need some more advice about selling your Wisconsin home? Check out these additional resources:
Average Real Estate Commission in Wisconsin: What’s Fair in 2022?: If you decide to sell your home without a realtor, you should still offer commission to the buyer’s agent. Find out what the average realtor in Wisconsin expects to earn here!
Top We Buy Houses Companies in Wisconsin REVEALED: We Buy Houses companies can purchase your home as-is within just a few days. Although your house won’t sell for top dollar, this can be a good option if your top priority is selling quickly.
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