Buying a Home in Ohio: 10 Tips and Tricks

Interested in buying a home in Ohio? This guide will teach you the best tips and tricks on buying a home, ensuring nothing gets left out.

Selling Your Home
November 21, 2023
Buying a Home in Ohio: 10 Tips and Tricks

Nationwide, home prices have grown over the past few years, but the 2023 rate of growth in many locations has slowed or stopped entirely. The good news for people looking to buy houses is that the typical home price in Ohio is $220,031, compared to a $350,113 national average.1

While some federal regulations apply, real estate transactions are primarily governed by state law. Many aspects of buying a home are consistent across the country, but you’ll want to know what types of professionals you’ll need to engage and how much protection is available for home buyers before you start shopping.

Whether you’re a native or new to the Buckeye State, if you plan on buying a home in Ohio, you’re in the right place. Here are 10 tips and tricks to finding and purchasing your dream home in Ohio.

#1: Start With an Orderly Wish List

Before you head out to view open houses, craft an objective wish list of what you want in an Ohio home, especially if you are a first time home buyer. Consider your current needs as well as what you can predict for the future. It should include: 

  • Number of bedrooms 
  • Rooms or spaces needed to accommodate hobbies, privacy, working at home, etc.
  • Accessibility to key locations such as jobs and family members
  • Neighborhood features such as nearby biking, hiking, or park access
  • External features such as garden space or a fenced-in yard for a pet
  • How much upkeep you’re willing to anticipate (i.e., historical home vs. new construction)
  • Preferred building style, layout, or accessibility
  • Degree of move-in-readiness at a cosmetic level

Try to differentiate between needs and wants, and to prioritize your list. Which are the features you can trade off? Which are options you could add or change after buying a home without them? 

#2: Location, Location, Location

If you’re shopping for a first home or as part of a job-related move, it’s tempting to put down commute time as the top factor for location—but convenience isn’t the only priority for real estate. Consider location in terms of factors that you value, such as: 

  • Resale value based on neighborhood property value trends
  • Convenience to highways, shopping, restaurants, etc.
  • School district ratings
  • Crime rates

Based on where you’re at in your life and your family make-up, check out “best place to live for” lists online that drill down to the neighborhood level. For instance, according to Niche, the top five Ohio locations to raise a family in 2023 are2

  1. South Russell, a suburb of Cleveland in Geauga county
  2. Madeira, a suburb of Cincinnati in Hamilton county
  3. Oakwood, a suburb of Dayton in Montgomery county
  4. Ottawa Hills, a suburb of Toledo in Lucas county
  5. Sixteen Mile Stand, a suburb of Cincinnati, also in Hamilton county

On the other hand, Niche’s top five Ohio locations for young professionals to move are3

  1. Market Exchange District of Columbus in Franklin county
  2. Short North Arts District of Columbus in Franklin county
  3. Victorian Village in Columbus, also in Franklin county
  4. Pendleton neighborhood of Cincinnati in Hamilton county
  5. Harrison West neighborhood of Columbus, also in Hamilton county

Learn more about Truehold's flexible sale-leaseback

Click here

#3: Know When to Negotiate

Talk to your real estate agent about negotiation—depending on market conditions, you may be able to submit an offer lower than asking for your dream Ohio home, or you may end up bidding against other buyers for a sale that goes above the property’s listing price. 

Keep in mind that you can negotiate creatively for more than changes to the actual sale price, such as: 

  • A request to keep certain furnishings, lawn care equipment, etc.
  • Help paying your closing costs
  • Work to be done rather than a price reduction (i.e., replacing an old appliance)

#4: Hire a Lawyer at Your Discretion

Unlike some states, Ohio doesn’t require you to engage a lawyer as part of the sale or closing process.4 You may want to do so, however, if there are any contractual disputes, title issues, or other concerns that require legal guidance.

#5: Review the Disclosure

Ohio’s residential disclosure laws mandate sellers to complete a form prescribed by the state’s Department of Commerce (the Residential Property Disclosure Form) and provide it to potential buyers. The form serves to communicate details and known defects related to5

  • Water and sewer supplies
  • Roof and structural components
  • Mechanical systems
  • Water intrusion
  • Termites or other wood-destroying insects
  • Hazardous materials

It also inquires about the presence or state of: 

  • Underground tanks or wells
  • Drainage, erosion, and flood plain or Lake Erie coastal erosion area status
  • Zoning restrictions, code violations, assessments, and HOAs
  • Boundary lines, encroachments, shared driveways, and party walls
  • Any other known material defects

Usually, sellers make the form available to realtors and prospective buyers, but in some cases, it may not be provided until after a contract is signed. If this is the case (or if the form isn’t provided at all) then the buyer can legally rescind their offer prior to closing, cancel the sales agreement with no liability, and receive any earnest money back.6 

#6: Include an Inspection Contingency

The seller’s disclosure doesn’t negate the need for a home inspection. Disclosures simply require the seller to tell what they currently know about the property. An independent home inspection purchased by the buyer results in a detailed review of the structure and grounds to highlight the current condition of all structural, mechanical, and other elements of a property. 

Inspectors often have general contractor backgrounds and may take from one to several hours to go over the site. This is followed by a lengthy written report that can act as: 

  • Information and evidence useful to further negotiate with the seller
  • A starting point for repair or renovation plans
  • An overall maintenance and resource plan for your house that details materials, mechanicals, and appliances to help you anticipate future maintenance needs

In Ohio, the average cost of an inspection for a 1,500 square foot single-family home is $375.7

#7: Don’t Forget the Radon Test

Radon is a concern in Ohio, whether you’re buying a home with a basement or built on concrete slab. 

A colorless, odorless, cancer-causing gas that seeps up from the ground might sound like the start of a horror movie, but it’s a hazard that can easily be solved. You can order radon testing by searching for a licensed provider at the State of Ohio’s data site (click on the “Visualize” tab and then fill in or click on the desired county). 

If testing results in levels at or above 4 pCi/L (picocuries of radon per liter of air), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends installing a radon mitigation system.8 As a homebuyer, you could either negotiate for a seller to cover the cost or pay to have it installed prior to moving in.

#8: Price Check Remodeling Needs

If your dream home is not quite as dreamy as you’d like, do some quick homework before you make an offer to determine the cost and time that would be needed at this location for critical changes. 

For instance, the average (labor plus materials) cost of these common remodeling jobs in Columbus, Ohio, is9

  • Vinyl siding replacement: $18,764
  • Deck addition with composite material: $24,569   
  • Roof replacement with asphalt shingles: $32,051
  • Bathroom addition with midrange features: $57,695   
  • Kitchen remodel with midrange features: $84,544   

#9: Be Realistic About Your DIY Talent

Try to keep in mind that being a fan of remodeling TV shows doesn’t necessarily translate to being an active do-it-yourself-er. If you go with a fixer-upper, consider your budget, resources (such as friends or family members with professional skills), and actual experience and willingness to tackle projects. 

#10: Know Your Rights

Federal and Ohio law both prohibit certain types of discrimination in real estate buying, selling, and renting at all stages.10 These include: 

  • Race
  • Color
  • Religion
  • Sex
  • Handicap
  • Familial status 
  • National origin 

Additionally, Ohio prohibits discrimination based on: 

  • Ancestry 
  • Military status

If you encounter discrimination, contact the Ohio Civil Rights Commission or the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Boost Your Buying Power with a Sale-Leaseback of Your Current Home

Now that you can hold up a “Buy home in Ohio or bust” sign, you may need to explore the flip side—selling. Buying can be tricky if you already own a home. Balancing timelines, budgets, and lender requirements is challenging when you have to find a buyer for your property at the same time as securing your new home. Discover more on how to sell a house in Ohio in our guide.

Truehold's sale-leaseback is an excellent solution for Ohio homeowners looking for convenience and flexibility while they plan a move. A sale-leaseback combines your home sale with a negotiated lease and your right to remain as a renter until you’re ready to head for your new dream home. 

You’ll increase your buying power by: 

  • Negotiating without a contingency on the sale of your home
  • Making an offer as a cash buyer
  • Skipping the cost of preparing your home for a traditional listing sale
  • Being able to offer flexibility on the closing date for your new home

Instead of trying to fit your own home’s staging, showing, negotiating, and closing with an as-yet-to-be-identified buyer, you sell directly to Truehold for a competitive price and rent back your home until you’re ready to move. Plus, we’ll immediately take over property tax, homeowners insurance, and major repairs and maintenance.

Contact us today, and one of our advisors will reach out to discuss the process with you and see if a sale-leaseback is right for you.

Sources: 

  1. The Ascent, Motley Fool. Average House Price by State in 2023. https://www.fool.com/the-ascent/research/average-house-price-state/
  2. Niche. 2023 Best Places to Raise a Family in Ohio. https://www.niche.com/places-to-live/search/best-places-for-families/s/ohio/
  3. Niche. 2023 Best Places for Young Professionals in Ohio. https://www.niche.com/places-to-live/search/best-places-for-young-professionals/s/ohio/
  4. Lawyers.com. Considerations Before Selling a House in Ohio. https://www.lawyers.com/legal-info/research/ohio/selling-a-house-in-ohio.html
  5. PDFfiller. OH Residential Property Disclosure Form 2022-2023 free printable template. https://ohio-disclosure-form.pdffiller.com/
  6. Ohio State Bar Association. Law Facts: Buying a Home. https://www.ohiobar.org/public-resources/commonly-asked-law-questions-results/law-facts/law-facts-buying-a-home/
  7. Home Inspection Insider. Home Inspection Cost in Ohio (2023). https://homeinspectioninsider.com/home-inspection-cost-in-ohio/
  8. Ohio Department of Health. About Radon. https://odh.ohio.gov/know-our-programs/radon-education-and-licensing-program/about-radon
  9. Remodeling. 2023 Cost vs. Value Report: Regional City Data – Columbus, Ohio. https://www.remodeling.hw.net/cost-vs-value/2023/east-north-central/columbus-oh/
  10. Ohio REALTORS. Home Buyers Guide. https://www.ohiorealtors.org/home-buyers-guide/
Truehold Symbol
Chat with a real person & get an offer on your home within 48hrs.
Valid number
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Further Reading

View all posts

Ready to get started?

Chat with a real person & get an offer for your home within 48 hours.

Call (314) 353-9757
Get Started