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Home Building Sites

The City of Milwaukee has hundreds of opportunities for new home building. Our affordable lot prices can put a newly constructed home within your reach. Building a house in one of Milwaukee’s urban neighborhoods puts you close to downtown, jobs, shopping, schools, entertainment and parks. Milwaukee’s extensive transit system can allow your family to live with just one car and roll the savings into that dream home.

So that everyone has a fair opportunity to purchase publicly owned land, and in the interest of growing our neighborhoods, we do not sell on a speculative basis. Lots are sold for new home construction and owner occupancy. If you are ready to build, we are ready to sell.

Here's how it works:

1. Select Your Lot
Look at the City’s lot inventory: Open the Strong Neighborhoods Plan map (Click on the arrow (>) in the upper left corner to show the information pane, then check the box "City Owned Real Estate" to display the lots.

  • Offers are received on a first come basis with a 24 business hour hold for receipt of additional offers. The 24-hour period will commence with the date stamp by DCD Real Estate during regular business hours. Regular hours are 8:00 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. Monday through Friday, excluding City holidays.

2. Find a Builder -- Design Your Home

3. Prepare your budget

  • Work with your builder to prepare an affordable budget that works for your project
  •  Avoid surprises by reserving in your budget or by making sure the following costs are included in the contract with your builder:
    • $5,000 to $10,000 for additional excavation and soil disposal trucking fees since most City lots contain old foundations
    • $8,000 to $12,000 for sewer and water lateral connections to city utilities in the street
    • Costs for tree removal or utility pole relocation

These are approximate costs and your costs may vary. Understand what is covered in the contract with your builder and what costs you may be responsible for.

4. Obtain a prequalification letter for your budgeted costs

5. Submit Your Offer

  • Complete the City Vacant Land Offer to Purchase
    • Read the offer carefully for expiration and performance dates, buyer policies, sale terms and conditions and City disclosures
    • Make sure all blanks are completed
    • No broker is needed and the City will not pay any brokerage fees
  • Attach your mortgage prequalification letter
  • Submit the house elevations and a site plan if available for DCD approval. (Certain lots may require plan submission with the offer, see the listing sheet.) If you do not have plans yet, you must submit them in 30 days of offer acceptance.

DCD will accept your offer if the offering price is reasonable, your plans are compatible with the neighborhood and our design standards and you do not violate the City Buyer Policies.

6. Work on Your Final Plans

  • Obtain DCD plan approval if plans were not submitted with your offer
  • Apply for a building permit with DCD’s Development Center for the approved design

7. Close on the Lot

Closing must happen within 120 days of offer acceptance. Contingencies include submission to DCD of the following:

  • Building permit for the approved design
  • Executed construction contract
  • Final financing with no contingencies and/or evidence of equity that matches your contract

The City will convey by Quit Claim Deed on an “as is, where is” basis. The City will provide title insurance if the sales price is $10,000 or more.

8. Start Building!

  • Construction must start within 15 days of closing
  • You must finish building and landscaping within 9 months of closing

9. Move In.

Questions? If you are unsure about the appropriateness of your plans in terms of lot size or design, call us at (414) 286-5762 before submitting your offer.

If you'd prefer to buy a new or completely rehabilitated home...
Several community organizations that build new homes on City lots or rehab existing homes have houses available for sale. For information on current availability, contact the following agencies:

We're eager to help!

For more information contact:
Yves LaPierre 
Phone:  (414) 286-5762

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View Featured Home Building Sites in Urban Neighborhoods

Brewer's Hill New Home
Built in 2003

City resources: