Should I use a realtor? | What does a realtor do in Wisconsin? | Cost of selling without a realtor | Wisconsin real estate regulations | How to sell without a realtor | Alternatives to selling without a realtor | 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 $255,000, that’s a savings of $8,023.
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. 2.8% 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?
Not sure if FSBO is right for you? Use the checklists below to find out if selling your Wisconsin home without a realtor is the best option for your situation.
✅ Selling without an agent might be right for you if…
You want to save on commission.
When you sell without a realtor, you won’t pay a listing agent commission. In Wisconsin, that puts 3.1% of your final sale price back in your pocket. However, you will still need to offer a competitive buyer’s agent commission (2.8% is typical in Wisconsin).
You already have a buyer.
If you’ve already lined up a deal with a friend or family member, there’s no need to pay an agent to list your home on the MLS, host open houses, or negotiate on your behalf.
You have lots of time to spare.
Selling a house is a lot of work! You’ll need time to complete all the tasks an agent would typically take care of, such as preparing the home for sale, marketing the property, reviewing paperwork, and much more.
You’re in a hot seller’s market.
If you’re in a high-demand area with low inventory, it can be easy to find a buyer without an agent’s help. With a flat fee MLS package or “For Sale” in your yard, it’s possible to find several potential buyers in no time.
Here’s how fast and for how much homes in Wisconsin are currently selling for so you see how your local market compares.
|Avg. days on market||Avg. listing price|
🚫 Selling without a realtor might not be right for you if…
You’re short on time.
If you’re on a tight deadline, hiring an agent might be your best option. Unless you already have a buyer lined up, you’ll have to squeeze home selling tasks into your nights and weekends — or make sacrifices elsewhere in your schedule.
You’ve never sold a home in Wisconsin.
Without an agent, you won’t have any professional guidance about increasing your property’s curb appeal, pricing your home, or choosing the best offer.
We can’t say this enough: If you’ve never been through a Wisconsin home sale or are facing a complicated transaction, do not try it without a real estate agent.
Making one mistake could cost you tens of thousands of dollars or create some serious legal headaches for you.
You want to sell for more money.
There are conflicting studies about whether FSBO properties sell for less compared to those sold by agents.
On the one hand, FSBO sellers are more likely to sell to friends or family and offer them a good deal on the home. This lowers the average price of homes sold without a realtor.
However, if a FSBO seller is inexperienced with pricing a home, they can lose money by pricing too low or scare away buyers by pricing too high.
There are other ways to save on commissions if selling your house without a realtor sounds too risky or stressful.
Clever Real Estate offers a free service that gets home sellers lower rates from top agents at trusted brands like Keller Williams and RE/MAX. You’ll get full service from a local agent (guaranteed), but pay just 1.5% in listing fees — half the rate agents typically charge. Get started today!
What does a realtor do in Wisconsin?
Wisconsin real estate agents are familiar with the local and state regulations that can often confuse and overwhelm first-time sellers. An experienced realtor can manage dozens of home-selling tasks, such as preparing your house for showings, listing your property on the MLS, negotiating with buyers, and taking care of the paperwork.
Even in highly desirable areas, selling a house can be a full-time job. If you don’t hire an agent, you’ll be responsible for handling every step of the selling process on your own.
Prices homes competitively
If you’re earlier in the home selling process and just need a general idea of what your house is worth, you can plug your address into several free home value estimators.
However, an agent can provide you with a comparative market analysis (CMA) for a more accurate valuation. This number is calculated based on the popularity of your housing market, how much similar properties are selling for, new upgrades you’ve added to the home, and other variable factors.
To get an idea of how much home values can vary, here’s a comparison of different sized homes value in Wisconsin.
|Home size||Home value in Wisconsin|
Connects you with local pros
Experienced agents have networks of the best professionals in the area. They can connect you with handymen, stagers, photographers, and other service providers so you don’t have to track down reliable pros on your own.
Lists your home
Working with an agent will get your property listed on the multiple listing service (MLS) database. This site can only be accessed by real estate agents, who use it to find homes for their clients. Without a realtor, you’ll either need to pay a flat fee MLS company to list your property on the database or forgo this marketing opportunity altogether.
Markets and negotiates
An agent can market your home, schedule open houses, reach out to potential buyers, and follow up with people who toured your home.
Agents will also negotiate with prospective buyers, which can be an intimidating process for FSBO sellers. It can be difficult for homeowners to view their houses objectively, so having a professional take care of negotiations can lead to the best outcomes for both parties.
Agents can take care of all the paperwork required to complete the real estate transaction, which can be a huge relief for sellers. It’s easy to get overwhelmed at the sheer number of documents you’ll need to finalize the transaction.
Do I need a real estate attorney 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.
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||2.8% 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 $255,000, that amounts to $8,023. 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.
Wisconsin regulations FSBO sellers should know
Whether you’re selling a modern condo in Milwaukee or a lake house in Eau Claire, you’ll need to understand Wisconsin’s real estate rules.
The state has general regulations for all real estate transactions, but some individual counties may have additional requirements for FSBO sellers. Be sure to check with your local county to see if there are any unique rules in your area.
Wisconsin has strict disclosure rules for sellers. Under Wisconsin Statutes chapter 709, sellers must disclose all defects to prospective buyers.
A “defect” is defined as a condition that could:
- Negatively impact the property’s value
- Impair the health or safety of residents
- Reduce the expected lifespan of the property if not repaired or replaced
All owners of real estate containing one to four dwelling units are required to complete the Real Estate Condition Report form. This form must be given to a prospective buyer within 10 days of receiving their offer.
Sellers must disclose the following:
- All known structural issues, such as problems with the roof or foundation
- Environmental hazards, such as asbestos or radon
- Any legal issues with the property, like boundary line disputes
- How long they have lived in the home
- If the property has a joint well
- If the property is located in a floodplain
- If the property has fuel storage or “LP” tanks on it
- If there is a termite or pest infestation
At the end of the form, there’s also a “catch-all” question that asks sellers if there are any other defects not covered in the Real Estate Condition Report.
FSBO marketing rules
Sellers are allowed to put a “For Sale” sign in their yard as long as they follow the guidelines set by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation. All on-premise signs must:
- Be located in the immediate vicinity of the property being sold
- Be located entirely on the seller’s property
- Not interfere with highway right-of-way
- Not pose any safety hazards
In Wisconsin, the current transfer fee is $0.30 for every $100 of the home’s sale price. As of October 2021, all real estate transfer fees must be submitted electronically.
After paying these fees, you’ll get a receipt to confirm that the correct documents and payments have been received.
Of the total amount collected, 20% of the funds go towards the county, and the remaining 80% goes to the state of Wisconsin.
9 steps to sell a home in Wisconsin without a realtor
Selling your home without a realtor can be intimidating. Here, we’ve created a step-by-step guide for you to rely on and make the selling process less daunting.
🏡 How to get your home ready to sell
1. Make basic repairs
Inexpensive fixes can make a big difference to buyers. Taking the time to fix a squeaky door or replace cabinet hardware can greatly improve the aesthetic appeal of your house. Outdoors, a fresh coat of paint and some basic landscaping work can boost curb appeal.
2. Stage the rooms
You can hire a professional stager to get your home in tip-top shape for showings, but this can be expensive. While prices vary from city to city, in Wisconsin it costs an average of $2,000 to stage a house.
3. Photograph the home
High-quality photos of your property can make a huge difference when attracting buyers. Prices can vary based on your location, but in Wisconsin you can expect to pay $229 on average for a session with a professional photographer.
✍ How to list your home for sale
4. Get an appraisal
Without a real estate agent, it can be difficult to accurately price your home. An appraisal is a professional assessment of a home to evaluate its condition and estimate its value. In Wisconsin, an appraisal costs $285 to $$345.
» MORE: Tools for pricing your home
5. Advertise your home
Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist are just a few websites that allow FSBO listings. While these free or inexpensive listing sites can get more eyes on your home, working with a flat fee MLS company will probably help you sell the fastest.
In Wisconsin, this will cost you $300 to $600, but without a realtor, it’s the only way to get your property listed on the MLS — which is how most buyers find homes.
📅 How to show your home
6. Get organized
When visitors start showing up for tours and open houses, make use of a digital calendar to keep everything organized. You can schedule open house times, set reminders for upcoming tours, and take notes of each visitor who comes through your door.
When you schedule tours with individual buyers, make sure they have a pre-approval letter from a mortgage lender first. Pre-approved buyers know they’re qualified to purchase a house, so they’re more likely to make an offer.
7. Don’t hover
Try to avoid following visitors from room to room when they’re touring your home. Give them space so they can appreciate everything your house has to offer.
It’s recommended to stay in a common area — like the living room or kitchen — so visitors can easily find you if they have questions
🤝 How to accept an offer and close
8. Know your priorities
Instead of simply choosing the highest bidder, be sure to carefully consider all aspects of an offer. Prioritize your own needs, such as your preferred closing date, to select the offer that will work best with your schedule and budget.
For example, if a buyer is willing to waive certain contingencies, that could save you money on expensive home repairs.
» LEARN: Common home buying contingencies
9. Use a title and/or escrow company
A third-party title or escrow company can help you and the buyer through each step of the closing process. An agency will simplify the transaction by assisting you with the paperwork, collecting the closing fees, distributing the funds to the right parties, and managing the title transfer.
Alternatives to selling without a realtor in Wisconsin
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, here are a few other low-cost options.
Wisconsin flat fee MLS companies
If you’re confident about selling your home on your own, you might benefit from using a flat fee MLS company to increase the visibility of your property.
Some of the best flat fee MLS agencies in Wisconsin include Madcity Homes, List with Standard, and Wisconsin Flat Fee Homes. Packages range from $299 to $599, depending on how many additional services you need.
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.
For discount broker services, we highly recommend our friends at Clever! Clever pre-negotiates with top agents to offer you the lowest 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.