Milwaukee’s lakefront lifestyle and robust job market has long attracted homebuyers looking to settle in. Today, the city’s hot seller’s market spells good news for homeowners looking to sell their house fast. According to top real estate agent Mo Simmons, there’s no better time than now to put a home on the market. Here are seven tips for selling your house fast in Brew City.
1. Price your Milwaukee home at fair market value with help from a top real estate agent
Simmons says that the Milwaukee seller’s market is so hot that 98% of buyers are waiving inspection contingencies to win bidding wars on homes. Still, sellers looking to sell their home fast shouldn’t shoot for the stars with a high-priced listing and expect scores of offers.
“Pricing correctly is the number one thing,” shares Simmons, who sells homes 55% quicker than than the average Milwaukee agent.
“It doesn’t matter what kind of market we’re in. You can be in a seller’s market and overprice it, and it will sit there.”
Pricing above the market value can cause your home to sit on the market, giving buyers the impression that there may be something wrong with it. On the flip side, if you price too low, you could leave money on the table. You need to pinpoint the goldilocks price to sell your home fast and for top dollar; hit the target, and in a seller’s market like Milwaukee, you could reap dozens of offers.
Your best bet for landing on the best listing price? Hire a top real estate agent. An agent will conduct a comparative market analysis and compare your home to recently sold properties in the area of similar age, square footage, and condition to land on the perfect price.
But don’t expect every agent to get the price right. HomeLight’s data from thousands of transactions reveal that the top real estate agents in Milwaukee sell homes for 6.2% more money and 48.1% faster than the average agent.
To find the best top agent for your sale, plug your home details into our free Agent Finder. We’ll crunch agent performance data like average days on market, price-to-sell ratio, and client reviews to match you with the three best real estate agents.
From there, we advise interviewing your final candidates to determine who is most qualified and compatible to handle your home sale.
2. Conduct a pre-listing home inspection to speed up the sale
Simmons advises sellers to set themselves up for success with a pre-listing inspection. Unlike a standard home inspection paid for by the buyer, a pre-listing inspection is one a seller has done before listing a property to prevent delays in the process. That way, you can discover and tend to necessary repairs before a buyer is in the picture. Expect to pay between $279 and $400 for a pre-listing inspection.
3. Repair foundation and grading issues
For a fast sale, ensure your foundation is in top condition — especially if you own one of Milwaukee’s more than 105,000 houses built before World War II. Milwaukee’s cold winters followed by warm summers can cause foundation issues in these older homes.
“In the Milwaukee area, we have basements and we have clay soil that expands and contracts with the change of the seasons. You get the freeze, thaw, freeze, thaw, and over time it can damage the foundation,” shares Jameel Dawan, owner of City Home Inspections.
According to Dawan, over half of the homes he inspects in Milwaukee have poor grading, allowing water to seep into the foundation and cause cracks in drywall and sagging floors. In addition to cracks and uneven flooring, flooded basements are another telltale sign of foundation issues.
Here are some ways you can reduce foundation damage caused by poor grading:
- Slope non-permeable areas like driveways and walkways at least 0.25 inches per foot away from the house.
- Slope additional ground around the foundation at least 0.5 inches per foot, extending at least ten feet away from the house.
- Add drains like double barrel drains and surface drains to keep moisture away from the foundation.
Even in a hot seller’s market, foundation problems can be a home’s Achilles’ heel, so Dawan and Simmons both advise sellers to address any issues before listing.
4. Market your Milwaukee home’s finished basement
Simmons shares that finished basements are in high demand among Milwaukee homebuyers. Draw attention to your home’s finished basement with these tips:
- Install recessed LED light fixtures in a basement to create a more inviting atmosphere.
- After decluttering, stage your basement as a flex space complete with a workout area, office, and lounge area.
- Showcase the basement in the listing with well-lit photos that incorporate accent pieces like artificial plants for warmth. Include possible uses for the space in the description.
If you’ve put off finishing your basement, now might be the time to complete it since homes with a finished basement appraise for more than those without. However, there are some points to consider. After spending between $5,000 and $70,000 on finishing a basement, the average ROI is 70%. Also, the basement’s square footage doesn’t count toward the overall square footage of a home but adds value as bonus space.
5. Modernize your interior with a designated office space
Finished basements are still in vogue in Milwaukee, but open-concept living areas are not, Simmons notes. With the pandemic spurring the rise in work from home, buyers prefer homes with a home office space like a spare bedroom or den over a spacious open floor plan.
If your house has many rooms, stage one with office furniture and supplies. If there are space constraints, get creative by converting a large walk-in closet, basement, attic, or even garage into a functional workspace.
6. Stage the perfect outdoor entertaining area
What hasn’t changed is that Milwaukee homebuyers like to see a house with an inviting yard. If you’re hoping to sell your home quickly during the city’s balmy months between June and September, spruce up your outdoor space for summertime entertaining.
Dawan advises improving your landscaping by mowing the lawn, trimming bushes, and planting or potting flowers for a pop of color. Varieties like the Creeping Phlox, Bleeding Heart, and Salvia add visual interest to outdoor areas and thrive in Milwaukee’s climate.
Next up: Carve out an inviting outdoor living area complete with seating and tables. For Milwaukeeans, summer is a time for grilling, so don’t skip adding a grill or at least a designated food prep area. A complete entertaining space will help prospective buyers envision how they’ll spend their next Fourth of July weekend.
If you’re selling in the fall or winter, skip adding the outdoor furniture and grill, but do rake up fallen leaves and debris and keep all walkways cleared of snow.
7. Get buyers in the door with flexible showing times
To sell a house fast in Milwaukee, it is crucial to make your home accessible to prospective buyers, Simmons says. You need to get buyers into your home to spark the emotional connection that inspires offers. In any market, flexibility is key, so offer a combination of in-person and virtual showings.
For in-person showings, work with your agent to schedule open houses on weekends, as well as viewings by appointment. The market moves fast, so promptly responding to inquiries is crucial to secure a fast sale. Remember that buyers usually have a list of homes of interest at any given time, not just yours. If you can’t accommodate a timely showing, they may commit to another seller while you’re juggling your schedule.
In addition to in-person viewings, consider having your agent host virtual open houses so busy and out-of-town buyers can get a better feel for your home before viewing it in person. Work with your agent to choose the best virtual software platform to host the open house and record the event for buyers who can’t attend the live version. After the virtual open house, your agent should follow up with attendees who may have additional questions or want to schedule an in-person showing.
The power of now: Take advantage of Milwaukee’s hot market
To recap, follow these key tips to sell a home fast in Milwaukee:
- Precisely price your property
- Conduct a pre-listing inspection
- Repair foundation issues
- Market your finished basement
- Designate a home office
- Stage an outdoor living area
- Allow flexible showing times
The more you take care of before you list, the easier it will be to sell your home quickly. If you follow the above tips, selling your Milwaukee home fast is as breezy as wind off Lake Michigan.
Header Image Source: (Wei Zeng / Unsplash)