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Owner-Occupancy Guidelines

Welcome Home: City-Owned Properties Await You!

  • The City priortizes owner-occupant buyers. For the first 60 days of a new 1-4 unit residential property listing, the offering period is for owner-occupants only.
  • All properties are offered for sale "AS IS."
  • Owner Occupant homebuyers can apply for the $35,000 Homebuyer Assistance Program, which is a forgivable loan for rehab. Owner occupant buyers can select the $500 Roots Landscaping Incentive.
  •  All owner occupant buyers are subject to deed restrictions. Additional deed restrictions will apply if receiving city financing. 

Available Properties

1. Please review our Current Listing, Extended Listing and Broker Listing for available properties for Owner-Occupants.

2. Review submission requests and deadlines.

3. Once you have selected a property you are interested in, please contact any Wisconsin Licensed Real Estate Agent to assist you in the purchase process, properties can be found on MLS (Multiple Listing Service). For additional Broker information click here.

4. PROPERTY ACCESSReal Estate Agents can use City Keys and/or Lockbox to access the properties – No appointment needed.  Agents: If you do not have City Keys, or have issues with the lockbox or padlock, or if the property is boarded, please contact us.

5. Complete a thorough inspection of the property with your agent to familiarize yourself with the features of the home and to determine the extent and cost of needed repairs. Contracts are welcome at the showing as long as agents are present.

6. Have your agent complete and submit a signed City of Milwaukee - Offer to Purchase on your behalf.

Submitting a Complete Offer to Purchase

Please note the following applies to all offers submitted


1. Review the City of Milwaukee Residential Offer & Checklist.  Offer to Purchase must be filled out completely AND include all Exhibits and supporting documents.  Incomplete offers can be rejected.

2. Review the property's Scope of Work.  Buyer understands items marked as "Essential Repairs" must be completed to receive the Essential Repair Verification Certificate 365 days after closing and signs Exhibit A in the City’s Offer to Purchase.

3. Submit a copy of government-issued ID for each signing buyer. MUST BE SUBMITTED WITH OFFER TO PURCHASE.

4. Buyer will need to provide proof of funds for the purchase price and essential repairs estimate from the property’s Scope of Work. Buyer will complete and sign buyer verification of funds form (Exhibit A).  (PURCHASE PRICE + ESSENTIAL REPAIRS)

  • Acceptable Proof of Funds must show the following:
    • Current bank statement (Letters from the bank are not accepted)
      • Minimum of Last 4 digits of account
      • Name of Account Holder
      • Balance on account
      • Date of account statement (within last 30 days)
    • Pre-approval Letter (for purchase or renovation financing)
      • Name of Buyer
      • Name of Financial Institution
      • Loan amount must be visible and/or Purchase price and Renovation
      • Date of letter must be within last 30 day
    • DONOR Funds:
      • If buyer chooses to use a Donor; Donor must fill out a Gift or Loan Affidavit for proof of funds and submit the following: 
        • Provide proof of funds (Letters are not acceptable).
        • Government issued IDs for all persons or entities involved in the donation, Gift or Loan Affidavit must be notarized.
        • If the donor is an entity and not a personal donor, must include articles of incorporation/organization.
        • Donor must be current on all City of Milwaukee property taxes and fees for any properties they personally own, or as part of an entity, in the City of Milwaukee.
        • Gift or Loan affidavits must be notarized, provide proof of funds (ex: current bank statement or pre-approval letter as instructed above), and include Photo ID for each donor.

5. 500+ Program. The City of Milwaukee will offer special consideration to interested homebuyers who live within 500 ft (or their assignee) of a City owned property and will occupy the property. Learn more about the 500+ Program and how to apply clicking the link above (for more information, click here)

6. $500 Roots Program$500 Landscaping Incentive Program.

  • Available to Owner Occupants only.
  • See Offer to Purchase, Section 8 to participate.
  • Buyer has 6-months from closing to submit required receipts or incentive is forfeited.

7. If applicable, HIP (Historic) Fund Special Conditions Addendum (will be noted with listing).

8. If a Special Conditions Addendum form is required it will need to be submitted with the City’s Offer to Purchase.

9. If buyer is using City related financing (Section 8 of the Offer to Purchase), check Buyer Financing Contingency - City-Related Financing Programs and be sure to check A or B.

  • Working with NIDC may take additional time up to approximately 6-months.
  • A separate scope of work with additional costs may be imposed as a program requirement.

10. If you are a City of Milwaukee employee, or your spouse, sibling, parent or child is a City of Milwaukee employee then you must submit a  City of Milwaukee a Conflict of Interest Form with your Offer to Purchase.

11. Be sure page 12 of the Offer to Purchase is signed.


Accepted offers will be evaluated based on purchase price and, in some cases, program participation. The likelihood of project completion, including city buyer check and buyer history, will also be part of the offer evaluation.

The City has the discretion to select offers in which it is deemed most likely the work will be completed in a timely manner.

The City reserves the right to reject any offer for any reason, including no reason at all.

General Buyer Policies

Additional Things to know about Submitting an offer and accepted offers:

  • Owner Occupants are required to live in the property for 3 years.
    • Breach of this covenant will lead to a lien on property, liquidated damages and/or buyer’s inability to purchase additional City properties
  • Landlord Training:  Investor buyers (includes non-profit and bulk buyers) or owner occupant buyers purchasing a duplex or multi-family home must complete landlord training and provide proof to DCD prior to closing.
    • As of May 1st, 2021, landlord training certificates must be renewed every three years.
  • Earnest money in the amount of $1,000.00 shall be received 3 days after acceptance.
    • Option One: The earnest money can be deposited through ZOCCAM which is a mobile app used on a smart phone to digitally deposit your check (which may be a cashier’s check, a business check, a personal check, or a certified check).  ZOCCAM is available in the Apple App Store for Apple Phones and the Google Play Store for Android.
    • Option Two: The earnest money in the form of a certified check, cashier’s check or money order can be delivered to Knight Barry Title Inc.’s Milwaukee Office ONLY.  Knight Barry’s Milwaukee office is located at 201 East Pittsburgh Avenue, Suite 200, Milwaukee, WI 53204.  Knight Barry is open from 8 AM to 5 PM, Monday through Friday, except federal holidays. Please refer to the City’s Offer to Purchase.
    • Offers will be terminated if earnest money is not turned in within 3-days of an acceptance
  • Performance Deposit
    • Buyers must provide a $1,000.00 performance deposit at closing.
    • Buyers are obligated to complete essential repairs within 365 days of closing.
    • Deposit is refundable if buyer completes the Essential Repairs at the property, and obtains a DNS stamped Essential Repair Verification Form within 365 days of closing.
    • Please see Offer to Purchase for additional details.
  • Extensions to the Offer to Purchase
    • Per OTP, an extension may be granted for up to 30-days
    • A $250 extension fee will be required
  • Verification of Funds at the time of Closing:      
    • Verification for essential repairs estimate from the property’s scope of work will be done at the time of closing.
      • Buyer will complete and sign a Buyer Verification form
  • City property should be brought to Knight Barry on the day of closing
    • Lockbox with key inside
    • Padlock
    • City of Milwaukee Real Estate Signs
  • REJECTED OFFERS: Offers to Purchase will be rejected from any party (as an individual or as part of an entity) who:
    • Is delinquent in the payment of any property tax, special assessment, special charge or special tax to the City of Milwaukee.
    • Has outstanding judgments from the City or if the City acquired a property tax-foreclosure judgment.
    • Has outstanding health or building code violations or orders from the City’s Health Department or Department of Neighborhood Services that are not actively being abated.
    • Has been convicted of violating an order of the Health Department or Department of Neighborhood Services within the past year.
    • Owned property in the city that, at any time within the past 5 years, the city acquired by means of property-tax foreclosure. Applies to any ownership group or LLC of which any prospective buyer has been a member.

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