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OWNS: Ownership, Wealth, Neighborhood Stabilization


What is OWNS? The OWNS program (Owns, Wealth, Neighborhood Stabilization) is an initiative meant to boost local ownership of rental properties and to build generational wealth in Milwaukee communities. It looks to encourage existing homeowners to buy City of Milwaukee owned properties, for rental purposes, in their neighborhood with the belief that local owner investors will be more accountable and attentive to an investment property near their owner-occupied residence.



OWNS Sales Terms

  • After first 30 days bid period (owner-occupant only), OWNS investor-buyer is given the right, during non-bid owner-occupant only period (day 31-60) to buy (currently day 31).

  • 5 year holding period (ownership) for OWNS buyer, with or without financing, is required for rental (City-owned) property purchased, and a $25K liquidated damage provision for breach of holding period. If buyer does not accept financing options, the property can be sold to an owner occupant to avoid breach of holding period.

  • OWNS investor-buyer pays standard investor $2K performance deposit for timely completing Essential Repairs.

  • Required Landlord Training certificate to be obtained prior to closing.

  • Limited to 1 to 4 unit residential property (Neighborhood Property under MCO 304-49).

  • OWNS buyer must satisfy General Buyer Policies and establish Proof of Funds to buy and to complete Essential Repairs.

  • All things being equal: owner-occupant buyers have preference over OWNS buyers.


What steps should I take?

  • See the City-owned house. Contact a Wisconsin licensed real estate broker for showings.

  • Make an offer on the City-owned house.

    • Offers must be submitted on the City Offer to Purchase form.

      • The completed, signed, Offer to Purchase form must be submitted to the City by your agent or broker. Call your broker for details.

  • Submit OWNS Notice letter and OWNS Special Conditions Addendum along with your Offer.

  • Submit a copy of a recorded Deed stating that you are on title as owner of the house you owner-occupy that is within 500’ of the City-owned house.

  • If you will be seeking the NIDC Rental Rehab loan, also submit your application for that loan.


OWNS Sales Process


OWNS allows local investor buyers to purchase City properties during the extended owner occupancy period after the Bid Opening. This means OWNS buyers are eligible to buy on days 31-60.

Local investor buyers must live and own their residence within 500' of the property.

Details are available on the OWNS Notice and OWNS Addendum.

 OWNS Notice Special Conditions Addendum


OWNS Financing Option (NIDC – Rental Rehab Loan) 

Rental Rehab is a 5-year forgivable loan program that requires 50 % matching funds.


  • Increase standard NIDC forgivable loan amount from standard $14,999 max/unit to $20,000 max/unit for OWNS buyer.

  • Allow funds that OWNS buyer uses to buy the City-owned property (purchase price) to count as matching funds (up to 50%) for NIDC loan award purposes.

  • Remove tenant income maximums for OWNS buyer purchases.

  • Retain/impose NIDC’s rent limits for 5 year OWNS buyer holding period.

    • Rent limits are (subject to adjustment):

      • $797 for a 2-bedroom apartment

      • $1,036 for a 3-bedroom apartment

      • $1,145 for a 4-bedroom apartment


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