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Average Cost of Living in Wisconsin: An In-Depth Guide

Thanks to a steadily rising job market and a healthy economy, Wisconsin is becoming one of the most sought-after destinations for young people. If you’re looking to buy a house in Wisconsin, there are a few financial considerations to take into account before embarking on the home buying journey. Read on to know more.
Thanks to a steadily rising job market and a healthy economy, Wisconsin is becoming one of the most sought-after destinations for young people. If you’re looking to buy a house in Wisconsin, there are a few financial considerations to take into account before embarking on the home buying journey. Read on to know more.

Many people dream of buying the great estate homes in Wisconsin and we can see why. From the beautiful, large homes to the cozy modern ones, Wisconsin truly has something for everyone. If you’re trying to buy a home in Wisconsin, it’ll come in handy to know what the true cost of living is before you even start house hunting.

Here are some costs associated with being a Wisconsin homeowner.

Typical Home Prices in Wisconsin in 2019

Currently, Wisconsin has one of the hottest housing markets in the country. Throughout the state, the high demand and low inventory is in favor of the seller. Wisconsin's competitive sellers' market is projected to continue in most areas of the state in 2019.

An extended lack of inventory over the last three years may contribute to fewer homes bought in 2019. Sellers are not willing to list their homes out of fear of not finding the next home within their budget. When compared to 2017, the median sales price of Wisconsin homes increased 5.1%, reaching $182,500 in 2018.

And the increasing trend continues: The median home value in Wisconsin is now $187,100. Wisconsin home values have gone up 6.4% since 2018, and Zillow predicts they will rise 3.0% by 2020. The median price of homes currently listed in Wisconsin is $219,900 while the median price of homes that sold is $179,500.

Right now, the number of home buyers in Wisconsin is drastically outpacing the sellers, which has created a very hot seller’s market. If you don’t have to buy a house in Wisconsin at this exact moment, you’re better off waiting for the market to cool when there’s less competition, more inventory and more room for negotiation.

If you want the best price and time to consider your options, you’re better off buying a home in the winter when homes are on the market longer. January is historically the slowest time for home sales, which means less competition and possibly more room for negotiation with desperate sellers.

How Much Are Wisconsin Property Taxes?

If you’re looking to purchase a home in Wisconsin, you should become familiar with property taxes, as you will be required to pay them anywhere in the state. Property taxes are collected from homeowners every year to help fund schools, fire departments, libraries, and other local services.

The amount of property tax you are required to pay is often dependent on the value of your home. To accurately determine the value of your Wisconsin home, the local assessor will compare your property to other properties that have recently sold in your area that are similar to yours.

Alternatively, your home’s value can also be determined by how much it would cost to reproduce your home if it was built today. The value of the land, as well as the age of the house, will be taken into consideration in this instance. Be aware that if your home is older, the assessor will factor in depreciation.

Once your home’s value has been determined, the local mill rate is multiplied by the home’s value. Let’s take a look at an example: If your Wisconsin property is assessed for $250,000, and your local mill rate is 45, you will be responsible for paying $11,250 per year in local taxes.

Learn More: The Ultimate Guide to Wisconsin Real Estate Taxes

Average Homeowners Insurance in Wisconsin

A solid homeowners insurance policy protects your investment into your home and what’s inside it, if something goes wrong. Mother Nature has a tendency of striking hard on the Badger State throughout the year. Homeowners in Wisconsin should be prepared for lightning, hail and mighty snow storms as the seasons progress.

Homeowners insurance will help you pay to repair or replace your home and belongings if they’re damaged by a natural disaster, fire, or in the unfortunate event of a burglary. On the upside of things, Wisconsin’s homeowners’ insurance premiums average $750 per year, which is about $425 less than the national average.

When it comes time to choose an insurance provider, price is just one consideration. Homeowners should also factor in reputability, customer satisfaction and the provider’s capacity to tailor a policy based on specific coverage needs. That’s why it’s so important to find a trusted company that will have your back during troubled times, such as natural disasters — which, as we know, are quite common in Wisconsin.

Common Home Maintenance and Repair Costs in Wisconsin

After you’ve purchased your home, you should know there are a few other costs coming your way. This part is going to be much like ripping off a bandaid; once you know what fees are coming, the hard part will be over, and you can focus on preparing yourself financially for being a Wisconsin homeowner to the fullest.

The average homeowner pays $2,676 on maintenance and repairs each year. But where should you be investing your time and money?

It’s only a matter of time before you will need to replace multiple appliances, so new homeowners should budget appropriately. Whether you need to install new appliances or repair existing gadgets, the money spent is generally a sound investment in the long run. On average, it costs $170 to repair a microwave, $189 to install a washer and dryer unit, $507 to install or repair gas pipes, and a whopping $1,543 to install a central vacuum.

Putting insulation in the attic is especially important in the state of Wisconsin, where the weather can get severe. It can cost anywhere from $1,700 to $2,100, or between $1.50 and $3.50 per foot to insulate an attic, depending on the insulation material you select. Homeowners can choose from several types of insulation, each with its own benefits and potential costs, including batts, barriers, blown-in and spray foam insulation.

And as an extra win, adding insulation can also save you up to $600 in heating and cooling costs by making the entire house more airtight — which should help ease your mind after laying out all that money for the initial insulation.

Other Costs of Living in Wisconsin to Consider

There are many other costs that come with being a homeowner in Wisconsin. Taking them into consideration beforehand will help better prepare you for the big purchase.

In the state of Wisconsin, the water bill for an average residential customer who uses 4,000 gallons a month is approximately $19.51.

Wisconsin has some of the highest electricity prices in the nation, although the average customer spends far less on electricity than in most states. In 2016, for example, the average Wisconsin household used less than 700 kilowatts per month for an average annual electric bill of $1,153, lower than all but nine states.

From November through March, Wisconsin Homeowners pay anywhere between $330 and $550 for natural gas heat. Due to the state’s tendency of having harsh winters, the average price can creep up the higher range during drastically cold winters, or see a price drop during milder winters.

Find a Top Wisconsin Real Estate Agent

Buying a home obviously doesn’t come cheap. Simply owning and living in a home isn’t cheap, either. If you’re looking to buy a home in Wisconsin, the first step is to connect with an experienced local real estate agent for support and guidance throughout the process. In addition to helping buyers get the best price possible, a trusted Wisconsin-local agent can help set realistic expectations about how much it will actually cost you to live in your desired area.

Clever helps buyers connect with top agents in Wisconsin. Clever Partner Agents may offer either a flat $1,000 home buyer’s rebate on homes that sell for up to $150,000 or up to 1% of the purchase price on homes that sell for more than that. You can use this rebate towards your down payment, closing costs, or put it away to help with your mortgage payments during those months when money is tight.


Reuven Shechter

Reuven Shechter is the Outreach Coordinator at Clever Real Estate, the free online service that connects you with top real estate agents to help save on commission. He spreads the word about Clever, disseminating studies to journalists and developing relationships with media outlets. Reuven is passionate about investing in real estate and creating lasting success for families. His writing has been featured in Max Real Estate Exposure, Leverage Marketing, and more.

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