"It's a win for everybody:" Program to sell Milwaukee's foreclosed homes is working, and expanding

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- The city of Milwaukee is trying to pick up the pace and sell off city-owned homes. City leaders say a program that began this year is working -- and now, it's expanding.

Near 27th and State, historic homes line the block -- but there is one in particular that's drawing attention.

"There's so much potential with space. Original hardwood floor. There's tons of natural lighting. There has been nothing stripped out of this property. I can't imagine why anyone wouldn't want to live in this house," a real estate agent said as she walked FOX6 News through the property.

The home isn't just catching eyes because of its beauty -- but also, because of its $60,000 price tag. The 1892 Victorian mansion is one of more than 1,300 homes that is tax-foreclosed -- owned by the city of Milwaukee.

"The faster we can get these properties into responsible property owners is better for everybody," Milwaukee Common Council President Michael Murphy said.

Part of the plan involves a public-private partnership -- using private brokers to sell city-owned homes. Since the program began nine months ago, 70 city-owned homes have been sold.

"It's a win for everybody," Murphy said.

The partnership has been so successful, it will be expanding in 2015. The city will enlist the help of 10 private brokers to sell foreclosed homes.

"Many of them have their own customer base, so our properties are exposed to individuals who might not otherwise consider purchasing a city-foreclosed property," Martha Brown with the Milwaukee Department of City Development said.

It means getting homes like the Victorian mansion near 27th and State into the hands of property owners who want them, so the boards can come down.

"It's very important to basically rebuild our city," the real estate agent said.

Most of the city-owned foreclosures sell for $20,000 or less. The brokers walk away with a commission minimum of six percent -- or $2,000.

CLICK HERE for more information on Milwaukee's city-owned homes.

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