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Can I Sell My Condemned House in Wisconsin?

A condemned house has its windows blocked by wooden planks and a “no trespassing” sign.

If you’re the owner of a condemned property, you might be concerned about finding a buyer. Whether you inherited the house or bought it at a foreclosure auction for a great price, it might be hard to sell a condemned property.

You have some important decisions to make, but if you take the right steps and act quickly, you may be able to sell your home before a government entity seizes or destroys it—at your expense.

We’ll review the options available to help you feel better prepared for selling your condemned house in Wisconsin.

Can You Sell a Condemned House in Wisconsin?

Many states don’t allow the sale of the condemned property, even if you make repairs to take care of any building code violations. Fortunately, Wisconsin is one of the states that allows you to sell your condemned house. However, your time to make necessary repairs or sell a condemned property before it is seized and you are forced to go may be quite limited. 

If that’s the case, your local government will either pay for the necessary repairs or order the structure’s demolition. You, as the property owner, are responsible for the expenses.

In Wisconsin, once the house has been made habitable and passes local inspection, you can sell it. If you cannot fix up the condemned home, you will only be allowed to sell the land on which it sits.

Condemned House Selling Laws in Wisconsin

It’s important to educate yourself on the ins and outs of Wisconsin’s condemned property laws before you try to sell a home that has been condemned.

There are a few causes for the immediate condemnation of homes. Local ordinances in Wisconsin may differ, but in general, house condemnation occurs when:

  • More than 180 days have passed since the last known occupant left the home
  • Threats to health and safety include infestation, black mold, and other unsanitary conditions
  • The house’s structure is compromised by storm, flood, or fire damage
  • Utilities like water, electricity, and sewer, have been shut off
  • The home has been a lab for creating poisons and illegal substances
  • Owners have not paid property taxes and have not responded to lien notices

The average time for a building to be condemned in Milwaukee is six months and a year. But the government might speed things up if there was an imminent threat to the neighborhood. If a house is dangerous to the people or property around it, it can reach condemned status and be torn down in as little as a week.

Eminent Domain

In addition, the government may condemn a home for using the land for a new roadway, airport, school, etc. The power of eminent domain can allow for this to occur.

When the government takes over a home, the homeowner loses the right to sell it since it becomes government property. Fortunately, the government will give financial restitution or a pro-tanto award.

The government will formally offer the appraised worth of the condemned property. You can reject their offer, get an assessment to determine the home’s market value, and then submit that number to the appropriate government agency if you think it’s worth more. 

However, you can usually expect to settle for a lowball offer. Consultation with an experienced real estate attorney is highly recommended.

A house in bad condition that has been condemned is put on sale.

Options for Selling a Condemned House for Sellers

Several options are available if your house has been condemned and you want to sell it quickly.

The first option for selling a condemned house is to fix up the house to a livable standard. Once code violations are taken care of, you need to have it officially deemed livable after an inspection by the local authorities. When that’s done, you’ll be ready to advertise the home to the broader public. 

The second option for selling a condemned house is to sell the property as-is. You can spend less time and money if you don’t have to do any renovations to sell a condemned building in its current living conditions.

We’ll go through both options for selling your house in detail so you can decide which is best for you.

Sell Your Condemned House As Is

If you have a condemned house in Wisconsin that needs to be sold, know there are ways to get a cash offer for it still. When you sell your condemned house as is, you are selling the property in its current condition. This means you will do no repairs, renovations, or cleaning before you sell your condemned home.

Finding a real estate investor willing to buy your condemned property “as is” and for a fair cash offer is probably your best bet. However, we’ll discuss that in greater depth later.

Make Major Repairs to Add Value to Your Home

This is probably your best option if you have the financial resources to make major repairs to your home. Adding value to a property makes it worth more when it comes time to sell it and makes it more appealing to potential buyers.

Hiring a contractor is often required to repair a home that needs major repairs. If fixing the problems means making many structural changes, you may also need to hire an architect to help with the house.

Between contractors and architects, they’ll be able to:

  • Inspect and design a scope of work for the home
  • Prepare blueprints if the modifications affect mechanical systems like electrical or HVAC
  • Apply for building permits with the city
  • Hire licensed construction crews to work on insulation, drywall, plumbing and electrical
  • Contact city inspectors to ensure that they’re following city code and housing code

After the repairs have been given the green light, a new CO will be issued, and you may put the property up for sale as normal with a real estate agent.

If you think you can make the necessary major repairs, your local government may work with you to extend deadlines if you show you’ve made progress.

Many people who own a condemned house don’t want to put any money into fixing it. So instead, they opt to sell to a cash buyer.

You may wonder about the costs to sell a house in WI, but we can help.

Sell to a Cash Home Buyer

You can sell to a cash home buyer.

You don’t have to worry about the house being worth less than what you owe or dealing with the hassle of getting a realtor. You also don’t have to worry about the following:

  • Fixing up the house before selling it
  • Paying off your mortgage and property taxes before selling it
  • Going to court for a time extension

Most investors and cash home buyers who buy a property deemed unfit also have a regular crew they work with to fix and improve homes. That means they will buy your house as it is, make any necessary repairs, and then either sell it or keep it as a rental.

They may still buy your Wisconsin condemned property if it is in such bad shape that it can’t be used as a dwelling, but they will likely demolish it. This means they will purchase the plot of land from you on which the condemned structure sits.

You can avoid paying any commission or closing costs by selling your house to a cash buyer. Further, you don’t have to go through the standard marketing channels to sell your condemned home because they are your direct buyer.

Remember that if you live in Oshkosh, we can help you find cash home buyers in Wisconsin.

Sell at a Lower Price

If you are in a situation where your property needs some repairs, it can be difficult to get the house sold. Many buyers will shy away from purchasing a home that needs work due to the extra costs.

One strategy that may help is lowering the price of your property and selling it as is. This way, buyers have more leeway when negotiating with you and may be more willing to purchase the home in its current state. It’s also possible that you might find house flippers who want to buy your condemned house and fix it themselves.

Cash home buyer companies are looking for properties like this all the time, so don’t give up hope if this sounds appealing!

If this sounds familiar, you may be interested to know that we buy houses Oshkosh residents want.

Always Document Any Big Repairs You Have Made

If you are not responsible for repairs that need to be made, it’s important to have documentation. In court, documentation is the best tool to prove that you did or did not make the repairs. 

The documentation should include the following:

  • a copy of any estimates or quotes from contractors and repairers;
  • photos of the structural damage before they started working on it;
  • receipts showing what was purchased (if applicable);
  • any other relevant paperwork related to the work being done on your home


People in Wisconsin often think of condemned homes as those most likely to be destroyed because of extensive disrepair. While this is often the case, some condemned properties may be salvaged if the owners are willing to put in the effort. Others prefer to sell their condemned home as is or to a cash buyer.

There are many options for selling a condemned house in Wisconsin, but it’s important to know what those options are so you can choose one that fits your needs best!

Consider how to fix up a house for a profit and sell a house fast in Neenah.

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