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How to Sell a House By Owner in Ohio: A Buckeye State FSBO Guide

At HomeLight, our vision is a world where every real estate transaction is simple, certain, and satisfying. Therefore, we promote strict editorial integrity in each of our posts.

When the time comes to move, some tenacious homeowners in Ohio are eager to take over the reins of their home sale and figure out how to sell a house by owner.

A house is typically a person’s largest financial asset, and the decision to sell solo is often understandably driven by a desire to save on commission fees and pocket more equity from a hard-earned investment.

In recent years, the hot Ohio real estate market and a steep rise in equity added extra incentive to maximize profits.

Impulsive home purchases also weren’t unheard of during the pandemic, so maybe you haven’t owned your Ohio home very long and are concerned about covering the cost of selling your house. As the market shifts, you may have new concerns about how much you can get for your home and the amount of your net proceeds.

With millions of homes sold each year, a modest portion of sellers — about 7%-8%, historically — choose to list “For Sale By Owner” (or FSBO — pronounced fizz-bow).

While the method can work for Ohioans, it does come with some risks. Selling a house is a pretty rare event for most people, so you don’t know what you don’t know.

In this guide to selling FSBO in Ohio, we’ll cover what can be the most difficult aspects of selling by owner in the Buckeye State, including the steps that might be harder than you think. We’ll also provide a comprehensive overview of the full process to prep, market, and close on your home without the assistance of a real estate agent.

Note: Once you’ve seen what’s required, you can roll up your sleeves and get started with your FSBO sale. Or — in the event you’d prefer to work with a real estate agent — HomeLight would be happy to introduce you to highly-rated professionals in your Ohio market who can help you command top dollar and provide a low-stress selling experience.

Feeling Overwhelmed by the Process of Listing Your Home FSBO in Ohio?

Selling your home yourself is a complicated and time-consuming process. If you don’t have the time or the expertise to list your home FSBO, working with a top agent in Ohio could be your best bet. HomeLight analyzes over 27 million transactions and thousands of reviews to find you the best agent for your unique situation.

How does selling by owner (FSBO) work in Ohio?

Disclaimer: While we’ve done our best to research laws, guidelines, or policies for FSBO sales in Ohio, HomeLight always recommends that you look into the local regulations for your area and when in doubt, consult with a legal advisor.

FSBO is a method of selling your home without the involvement of a listing agent. In a FSBO scenario, the seller assumes the responsibilities that would normally fall to their agent such as pricing the home, arranging showings, and negotiating the deal.

In an agent-assisted sale, the seller typically pays a commission amounting to around 6% of the sale price, which is then most often split 50/50 with the buyer’s agent. That 6% is deducted from the seller’s proceeds at closing. By selling FSBO, a seller can eliminate the cost of the listing agent’s commission (so around 3%), though they may still need to offer a buyer’s agent commission.

Buyers’ agents will expect compensation for the work they do to bring a buyer to a sale, such as arranging showings and helping to tee up and qualify the buyer. Plus, when a seller isn’t working with an agent, the buyer’s agent may end up carrying more of the weight to get the deal to the finish line.

Next: Consult our guide on who pays closing costs when selling a house by owner for more details.

Finally, a FSBO sale does not mean that a seller won’t need any professional assistance. Sellers aren’t required to hire a real estate attorney in Ohio, but FSBO sales typically warrant legal and professional oversight of some kind to avoid an abundance of legal risk.

For example, in Ohio, you’ll need to meet a number of mandatory disclosures and complete a Residential Property Disclosure form. The form requires you to report any known problems the home has, including leaks, electrical issues, and pests. Overlooking this requirement can put you at risk of being sued.

It’s legal to advertise your FSBO listing with a yard sign in Ohio, but specific Ohio regions have their own laws regarding signage, so you’ll need to gather local information before you list.

Most people who sell by owner will need to hire an attorney to review and prepare key documents and make sure paperwork is filled out properly, such as the seller’s disclosures.

Let’s take a look at what disclosures are required when selling a house in Ohio.

What needs to be disclosed when selling a house in Ohio?

Among the many documents needed to sell a house, don’t forget these forms of major importance: Ohio’s required disclosure forms.

It’s key that you fill out a disclosure form to protect yourself from liability, and Ohio state law says that sellers need to make a good faith effort to disclose any known details about the physical condition of the property, including details such as:

  • The presence of any hazardous substances (such as asbestos or lead paint)
  • The source of water and condition of the sewer system
  • The condition of the structure of the property, such as the foundation and the roof
  • Previous or current problems or defects with major mechanical systems
  • Damage from water, fire, or smoke
  • Damage from wood-destroying insects
  • Any violations of codes, zoning laws, or any nonconforming uses
  • Recent or proposed assessments, fees, or abatements
  • Known boundary disputes
  • Any other known material defects

Why sell a house by owner in Ohio?

The top three reasons people cite for selling FSBO include: “did not want to pay a commission or fee” (36%); sold to a relative, friend, or neighbor (30%); or that the buyers contacted the seller directly (8%), according to data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

To get a firsthand perspective about selling homes in Ohio, we spoke with Mike Wall, a top real estate agent in Dayton with more than 20 years of experience bringing 83% more single-family home sales than other Dayton agents to fruition.

We also spoke with Brian Breeckner, a top real estate agent in Columbus whose 17 years of experience help him outperform the market and secure sales 47% faster than the average agent.

Both agents agree that the majority of FSBOs they encounter in their markets are after one goal: to save money by skipping selling agent commissions.

“Let’s face it,” Wall says. “The goal’s always to save money.”

Unfortunately, both agents agree that this doesn’t typically pan out. 2022 data from NAR shows that FSBO homes sold at a median of $225,000, significantly lower than the median of agent-assisted homes at $345,000.” An independent study from 2016 to 2017 bears this out: FSBO homes sold for an average of 5.5% less than agent-marketed sales.

This aligns with what Breeckner and Wall see in their respective Ohio markets, though Breeckner says that in his experience, the gap could be higher — closer to 8%.

“Part of my job is to educate FSBO sellers on this fact,” he notes. “Even if you pay the market standard commission for a seller’s agent, you’ll net a higher dollar amount for the sale by working with an agent.”

As you can see, FSBO is a mixed bag. So, before we share our selling tips, let’s lay out some pros and cons to help you decide if this is the route for you.

Pros of selling a house by owner

  • Ability to save on listing agent commission fees, usually around 3% of the sale price.
  • You’re completely in charge and can manage the sale as you please.
  • No “go-between” in your communications with buyers.

Cons of selling a house by owner

  • FSBO listings tend to sell for less, statistically speaking.
  • Unless the seller already has a buyer lined up, FSBO listings can take longer to sell.
  • Managing all communications and negotiations yourself is time-consuming. Not having a communication buffer can be a downside if the buyer pushes back or says negative things about your property.
  • You’ll be negotiating without help from an expert, which could mean leaving money on the table.
  • Setting the listing price is challenging — you may be tempted to go too high. You could also risk under-selling with a low price. “It’s extremely dangerous either way,” Wall cautions. “If we distill this down to the biggest fear among sellers, it’s either underpricing and leaving money on the table, or overpricing,” which leads to greater overall price reductions (more on this below).
  • Marketing your home is time-consuming.
  • You’ll still have selling costs, which may include transfer taxes and settlement fees. Not having agent representation could also lead to paying more in seller concessions.

In spite of the cons, we’ll help you navigate the challenges of FSBO if you’re committed to selling your Ohio house without agent assistance. For some, selling a home FSBO is a challenge worth accepting, and success can be measured in more ways than one.

Your photographs are your home’s first showing. If you have bad photos, people will disregard your home faster than anything else. But if you really showcase the property at its best, with amazing photos, you’ll create an opportunity for buyers to see themselves in that property.
  • William Wall
    William Wall Real Estate Agent
    Close
    William Wall
    William Wall Real Estate Agent at eXp Realty
    • Years of Experience 21
    • Transactions 563
    • Average Price Point $209k
    • Single Family Homes 532

Steps to sell a house by owner

Next, let’s review the FSBO process step by step.

1. Prepare your house for sale

Whether you’re selling with an agent or FSBO, at a minimum you’ll want to get your Ohio home into respectable shape before any showings to increase your chances of receiving a fair price. Here are a few standard tasks to add to the list.

Indoors

These efforts will go a long way toward impressing buyers looking for a home in Ohio:

  • Declutter floors, shelves, and surfaces throughout the home. “When it comes to prepping, decluttering has the biggest impact for my clients,” Breeckner explains. He recalls a recent trip to a property where an out-of-place rocking chair was throwing off the whole mood of the living room. “We removed it before we snapped any pictures,” he says.
  • Make small fixes and repairs, like a leaky faucet or broken door handle.
  • Lightly update with new light fixtures, faucets, or cabinet hardware.
  • Refinish hardwood floors.
  • Repaint bold walls (or those that look dingy) in a neutral color.
  • Depersonalize the walls. “If you have pictures of your family on the wall, take them down.
  • Reduce furniture in crowded rooms — consider a temporary storage unit.
  • Stage the home with final touches like fresh-cut flowers or a basket of fresh produce.
  • Use rugs to define spaces and place them strategically.
  • Deep clean until the house is sparkling.

Outdoors

Data from HomeLight’s 2022 Top Agents Insight Report shows that on average, “Buyers will pay 7% more for a house with great curb appeal versus a home with a neglected exterior.”

“My team loves to talk to our sellers about proper staging,” Wall says. “Especially in the warmer months, the first impression of your home is its exterior.”

Breeckner says the same thing: “Curb appeal is huge.”

Important curb appeal upgrades that Ohioan buyers want to see include:

  • Mow the lawn and pull weeds.
  • Apply fresh mulch liberally. “A layer of black mulch goes a long, long way, and adds the right pop,” Breeckner says.
  • Upgrade your landscaping. Consider a new walkway, flowerbed, or shrubs. “We always want to get the landscaping done, and we aim to put flowers out to showcase the property’s exterior in its best possible way — to make sure people’s first impression is ‘I want to go through this house,’” Wall says.
  • Add a fresh coat of exterior paint.
  • Install a new garage door if yours is looking old or not working properly.

2. Do the homework necessary to set a competitive price

You’ve arrived at a critical moment in your FSBO process: setting a listing price. You don’t want to leave money on the table, yet you want to encourage activity on your listing.

Before listing a home, an agent usually conducts a comparative market analysis (CMA). This is a highly-detailed study of “comps” — similar homes nearby that have sold recently, are pending, on the market, or were previously listed but taken off the market. Some may have even been pulled off the market without a sale.

Wall urges FSBOs to understand the complexities — and grave importance of — setting the right price. “Underpricing the home means leaving money on the table, but overpricing the home means it sits there longer,” he says.

This can all boil down to create a potentially dangerous situation for sellers. “You could end up losing even more money if the market shifts and you have to reduce your price further to match market reductions,” Wall explains. Had you priced your home to meet the market from the start, you may have been able to avoid further reductions.

Without an agent, you’ll miss out on the complexity of a full CMA and the know-how to interpret it.

However, with a little time and money, you can set a competitive price yourself.

Conduct your own “CMA Lite”

It’s time to roll up your sleeves and research.

Start with an online home value estimate

As a starting point, look at several online estimators for your home’s value. HomeLight’s Home Value Estimator aggregates publicly available data such as tax records and assessments, your home’s last sale price, and recent sales records for other properties in the same neighborhood.

We also add a new layer of information to our estimates using a short questionnaire. Tell us a few details about your Ohio home, such as:

  • How much work does it need?
  • What type of home is it (single-family, condo, townhouse, or other)?
  • Roughly when was your house built?
  • Are you planning to sell soon?

Using these insights, we’ll provide you with a preliminary estimate of home value in under two minutes.

Whether you use Zillow, Chase, Realtor, or Redfin to get a home value estimate, think of any online home price tool as a first step (not your only source of truth) — and recognize that the data used may be limited.

Narrowly filter your search for comps

When you’re ready to find comps, you can choose from sites like Zillow, Trulia, Redfin, or Realtor.

You’ll want to filter your searches to the area very near your house (within blocks if possible) and with similar characteristics. If you’re not finding any comps, expand your search map.

You’ll also want to filter results by details like:

  • Listing status (look at recently sold, pending, and active)
  • Number of bedrooms
  • Number of bathrooms
  • Square footage
  • Home type (single-family, condo, etc.)

Beyond the above criteria, the more houses you find with floor plans and an age similar to yours, the better.

Use a site like Zillow to collect your data

As an example, let’s take a look at how to filter your search for comps on Zillow.

  • Navigate to Zillow.
  • Type in your address. If a pop-up with your home’s specs appears, close it.
  • Filter by “sold.” Yellow dots should appear on the map surrounding your house.

A screenshot of Zillow's website, showing how to use the filters options.

  • Now, filter by the number of bedrooms and bathrooms and check the box “Use exact match.”

A screenshot from Zillow's website, showing how to filter by bedrooms and bathrooms.

  • Next, filter by home type.

A screenshot from Zillow's website, showing how to filter by home type.

  • Next, select the “More” box. Here you can specify square footage, lot size, year built, and — crucially — the “sold in last” (time period) category.

A screenshot from Zillow's website, showing the various other filters available to use.

  • Scroll down and select to view houses that sold in the last 30 days.
  • If you find there are not many results in your area, try expanding to 90 days. However, the further back you go, the less relevant the comps.
  • If necessary, click the plus or minus buttons to widen the search area.
  • Once you’ve collected data for sold houses, revise or restart the search to view active and pending listings, as well.
Invest in an appraisal

If you want to further reduce guesswork, some agents recommend paying an appraiser to provide a professional opinion of value for your home. An appraiser will combine recent property data, research of the surrounding market, and information collected from a walkthrough of your home to determine an appraised value. For a single-family home, an appraisal will likely cost $500 to $600 — well worth it to avoid possibly over- or underpricing your house by thousands.

But note that not all agents agree it’s worth the price. “I’d recommend skipping an appraisal and asking an agent to run comps for you instead,” Breeckner says. “Considering the cost of an appraisal, it just makes more sense to talk to a few real estate agents first.”

Agents may charge you a fee to run a comparative analysis, but it’s likely to tally up to less than an appraisal. And in a hot market, agents may even provide one free of charge as a way to establish a connection with you.

Make sense of the research

Compare your home’s features against the nearby comps you collected. Hopefully, the houses you studied give an indication of an appropriate price range for your home. From there, you can make dollar adjustments based on characteristics that add value (patios, curb appeal, an extra bedroom) versus detracting from it (a busy street, deferred maintenance, less square footage).

If you choose to invest in a pre-listing appraisal, consider the differences and similarities of comps with the appraised value of your home to choose a price that will encourage activity (too high and it may seem out of reach to many buyers), but will also maximize your profit.

For instance, Breeckner says recent home updates have a big impact on value. “Agents know that buyers will pay a premium for a renovated home, versus one that hasn’t been updated in 20 years,” he explains.

So, when you’re assessing the value of your home using your comps, be sure to factor in any modernizations you’ve made that the comparable property hasn’t.

3. Photograph your home

Listing photos are powerful, either pulling in buyers for showings or keeping them away.

To give your listing an edge, consider hiring an experienced real estate photographer. While they may charge as much as $140 to $180 an hour, they’re well worth their price.

“Your photographs are your home’s first showing,” Wall stresses. They’re a pivotal first impression. “If you have bad photos, people will disregard your home faster than anything else. But if you really showcase the property at its best, with amazing photos, you’ll create an opportunity for buyers to see themselves in that property.”

The result? They’ll want to come see it in person.

But if you do go the DIY route, make sure to:

  • Use a good camera with a wide-angle lens.
  • Pay attention to lighting.
  • Include a photo of every room.
  • Take multiple pictures of living areas, kitchens, and bathrooms.
  • Try shooting different angles.

Review our guide on how to take quality real estate photos for further guidance.

4. Create a detailed, compelling listing

Along with stellar photos, you’ll want to craft an informative and compelling listing. Leverage both the listing description (a paragraph or two highlighting key features) and the property details to show potential buyers all about your home and what makes it desirable.

Tell a story with your description

Draw in potential buyers with a powerful listing description that tells a story about your Ohio house, including details like:

  • Your home’s most unique and desirable features, like a breakfast nook or sunroom. In particular, “Kitchens are the heart of the house,” Breeckner remarks, so be sure to emphasize the unique charms and functionality of your property.
  • Recent upgrades like a kitchen or bathroom remodel or new roof or HVAC system.
  • High-end appliances, materials, or finishes.
  • Outdoor features like a pool or patio. “Ever since COVID, backyard living space has been huge,” Breeckner says, and emphasizes that in-ground pools add much more value than they previously did.
  • Neighborhood features and amenities.
  • Nearby parks, walking trails, restaurants, and attractions.
  • A separate workspace. With more people than ever telecommuting, “Home offices are a huge plus, any type of separate workspace,” Breeckner says.

Breeckner says that what goes into writing a stellar listing varies property-by-property, but he says that to rock a FSBO sale in Ohio, don’t just speak to the details of the property itself. To give Ohio buyers what they want, “Mention the surrounding area and the benefits it offers — access to freeways, local parks, popular restaurants only a bike ride away.”

For added charm, he offers this pro tip: Use an aerial view photograph that shows the house’s proximity to the downtown scene or nature. “People will look at the house and think, well, it’s only a block from that cool tavern we went to!”

Lastly, and this is crucial: specify in your description whether a buyer’s agent will receive a commission from the proceeds. Most agents don’t want to show their clients properties from which they’d receive no commission. You can decide not to offer a buyer’s agent commission, but recognize that doing so could limit your buyer pool as buyers’ agents typically expect to be compensated for their efforts.

Don’t skimp on the property details

Aside from writing the description, you may be prompted to enter information like:

  • Age of the home
  • Square footage
  • Architectural style (i.e., split-level, rancher, craftsman)
  • Appliances included
  • Exterior building materials
  • Flooring types
  • HOA fees
  • School zone information
  • Lot size

Many real estate agents and potential buyers really do read this “fine print” on your listing — so include accurate details, and plenty of them.

To increase the chances of a FSBO sale in Ohio, emphasize that your home is move-in ready, if indeed it is. “More than anything, we’re seeing that what people want right now is turnkey,” Wall explains. The trend is picking up among millennial buyers, Wall says, many of whom are busy professionals and don’t want to take on a lot of work.

“They want something they can move into, put their stamp on — maybe with paint, just a little makeup — but they don’t want huge projects.”

5. List your home online

It’s finally time to post your Ohio home online. While you can create FSBO listings for free on popular search sites, you’d have to painstakingly post site by site, and your listing wouldn’t reach the majority of buyers and agents.

To give your home the most exposure, pay to have your home put on your local MLS (multiple listing service) — a platform agents use to share properties with one another as well as major real estate sites. Posting there will feed your listing to buyers’ agent databases and to common sites buyers use.

Only licensed real estate agents and brokers who are MLS members can post to the MLS. However, you have two options to gain access: paying an agent to post for you or using a FSBO platform online.

Pay an agent to list your home on the MLS

A local agent may be willing to list your house on the MLS for a flat fee, without any other involvement in your real estate transaction. If you decide to go this route, make sure you ask whether the fee includes updating your listing if necessary.

Use a FSBO platform with an MLS option

There are a variety of paid websites that you can use to list your Ohio house online as “for sale by owner.” These sites offer packages ranging from about $100 to $400 for just a listing, or a larger flat fee of $3,000 to $5,000 that includes any number of additional professional marketing services.

Some of these companies display their rates on their websites, but others won’t quote a fee until you input your address or select an area of the country. You can find both state and national flat fee MLS service providers. A few national examples include:

It’s important to note that most of these companies serve FSBO sellers nationwide, which can cause challenges if the assisting representatives don’t understand the local market trends in your Ohio neighborhood.

Whatever you choose, read the fine print carefully: some sites may have hidden fees or even take a percentage off your sale — a detour you’d rather avoid on the FSBO route.

Not willing to pay for the MLS?

If you’re determined to save money by foregoing the MLS, creating a free FSBO listing on Zillow might be your top option. You can post videos and unlimited photos, and get fairly wide exposure via Zillow and the Zillow-owned Trulia.

6. Market your home

Now it’s time to spread the word about your Ohio home.

Experienced agents like Wall and Breeckner know that posting a home on the MLS is just the beginning of the marketing phase. A successful home sale requires a deliberate and targeted marketing plan to reach the right buyers and attract the best offers.

“There’s no doubt that people can sell their home on their own,” Wall acknowledges.

But he says that when you get right down to it, sellers don’t just want to sell their home; they want to sell their home and pocket as much money as possible. Unfortunately, selling on your own adds an obstacle, because you have access to a much smaller audience than a top agent does.

Like with all assets, the amount of money you can sell your home for depends in large part on the number of prospective buyers you can reach. Wall offers the example of a really expensive pen. “Let’s say I have a $400 Montblanc pen. I want to sell it for what it’s worth. But if I only show it to a few people, the chances are that I probably won’t get $400.”

On the other hand, he continues, if you show that same pen to thousands of people, you’re much more likely to sell it for the $400 it’s worth — and, in a competitive market, perhaps much more. The key is garnering interest from the right buyers.

Here are some of the steps you can take to market your home:

Place a nice FSBO sign by the road

Consider getting a custom yard sign rather than purchasing a generic one you write on with a Sharpie. You can order a custom sign on a site like Vistaprint with your contact information, plus a stand, for as little as $25 plus shipping. Note that some MLS providers may have rules about whether you can post a FSBO yard sign while your home is on the MLS.

Share on social media

Share your home across social media — and ask your friends to share, too. “Top agents use every means possible to market your home,” Wall says. He notes that simply advertising your property on a real estate marketplace platform isn’t likely to generate the leads you need.

“Every time something’s listed in the same area and at the same price point, it’s just being stacked on top of your listing, so your property is pushed further and further from what’s happening — it starts to fall on the second or third page, and it loses buyers’ attention.”

Instead, to market your home like an agent would, aim to use your network to get as many eyes on your home as possible.

Hold an open house

Try these strategies for a successful open house event:

  • Share details on Facebook and Nextdoor.
  • Update your MLS listing with the open house details (if you’re able to as part of paying the flat fee), or update your DIY FSBO listing.
  • Place open house signs at nearby intersections.
  • Tidy up the house before potential buyers come through.
  • Pass out info sheets with the address, bullet points about the house, your contact info, and perhaps one photo.
  • If you can, collect visitors’ info — then follow up later to ask if they have any questions.

Find more expert tips for how to hold an open house at this link.

7. Manage showings

If your marketing is successful, your next step will be to show the home to prospective buyers. Welcome to the busiest phase of the home sale process. According to Breeckner, a major reason some FSBO sellers switch to an agent is that they underestimated the time, energy, and expertise needed to manage this crucial step.

“As an agent, part of my job is to get as many people as possible into your home to see it,” he says. “It can be exhausting for a FSBO to make their property that accessible, a real challenge.”

To manage the logistics of showings:

  • Respond to inquiries ASAP.
  • Set end times if you need to fit many showings in one day. This will also create a sense of demand and urgency for buyers to place offers.
  • Remove or secure valuables.
  • Make sure the home is clean and tidy for showings.
  • Follow up with buyers’ agents after showings to get their feedback.

Wall adds that one thing to look out for at this stage is the presence of real estate investors. “If you get four or five offers early on after listing your home on the market, and you’re noticing a majority of them are investors, be careful,” he cautions. “Investors can’t pay retail price. They’re buying at 60 or 70 cents on the dollar. So not being able to discern investment offers from traditional buyer offers could literally cost you tens of thousands of dollars.”

Should you be present for showings?

If you’d rather not be present for every showing, consider using a lockbox with a code to let buyers’ agents enter the house. This is standard industry practice among agents. To ensure you’re working with someone legitimate, use Google or sites like arello.com to check their real estate license number.

With unrepresented buyers, plan to be on the property for the showing. During a showing, we recommend you:

  • Point out a few highlights of the house.
  • Let buyers look without hovering.
  • Be prepared to answer questions.
  • Avoid the temptation to tell all — let the house and listing do the talking.

8. Evaluate offers and negotiate a deal

You’ve got your first offer — congratulations! Before signing anything, Breeckner says it’s vital to do your due diligence.

“Negotiating a deal is another place where working with an experienced agent is key — there’s really no getting around that,” he says. But that said, he urges FSBO sellers to ensure that prospective buyers have pre-approval and proof of funds. Otherwise, you risk getting burnt.

“You want to make absolutely sure that the buyer you’re dealing with is financially backed and able to purchase your property,” Breeckner says.

According to Wall, letting in unqualified buyers is one of the biggest errors he sees FSBOs grappling with.

“I talk to FSBOs all the time, and it’s typically the same story,” he says. “Because they don’t have experience qualifying people before they come through their home, they let in unqualified buyers.”

The result? “They’re really beat up and tired from showing the property to tire kickers.” He says asking for pre-approval letters is key.

Here are key considerations when considering an offer on your Ohio home:

  • Vet potential buyers by requiring a mortgage pre-approval letter or proof of funds.
  • Require everything in writing.
  • Remember you can counter-offer and negotiate.
  • Look for a good real estate attorney. (See the next step!)

9. Close the sale — with professional help

Time to button up that deal.

Wall recommends every FSBO seller in Ohio hire an attorney to minimize risk and settle the legal documents. “If you don’t have some form of representation from a real estate agent, then you definitely need a real estate attorney to look over documents.”

He also notes that while attorneys aren’t required across the state, some jurisdictions do require attorneys for closing, so you’ll need to know the laws particular to your property’s location.

Real estate attorney fees can vary depending on location and how much help you want or need. In Ohio, real estate attorneys charge an average fee of $251 per hour — well worth it for professional guidance in closing one of life’s largest legal transactions.

One of the most common mistakes a seller might make is talking too much about other activity they’ve had during showings. Whether it’s good or bad, you have to be very careful about what kind of dialogue you have with buyers. Be selective about what you say — or you could end up talking yourself out of a sale.
  • Brian Breeckner
    Brian Breeckner Real Estate Agent
    Close
    Brian Breeckner
    Brian Breeckner Real Estate Agent at Beckett Realty Group
    • Years of Experience 17
    • Transactions 590
    • Average Price Point $145k
    • Single Family Homes 550

FSBO mistakes to avoid in Ohio

On your FSBO journey, watch out for these major pitfalls:

  • Missing out on the MLS.
  • Forgetting or refusing to pay the buyer’s agent commission.
  • Over- or under-pricing.
  • Letting your house sit on the market too long. According to Wall, lack of activity is a common reason FSBO sellers come to him for help.
  • Forgetting you have leverage. “Even in a shifting market, sellers still have all the leverage for now,” Walls says. So keep negotiating, and include contingencies that work for you, such as a replacement contingency to allow you to find a new home before you commit to selling yours.

“One of the most common mistakes a seller might make is talking too much about other activity they’ve had during showings,” Breeckner says. “Whether it’s good or bad, you have to be very careful about what kind of dialogue you have with buyers. Be selective about what you say — or you could end up talking yourself out of a sale.”

Wall says his advice for FSBOs is to do some more research before they decide to go this route. “Understand that you’re not saving as much money as you think you are — interview good agents who’ve sold lots of properties in your area and really ask them questions.”

Ultimately, he says that while it might seem like a good way to save money, a FSBO sale can be rife with pitfalls. “It’s the biggest financial transaction in many people’s lives,” he adds. “It’s a massive undertaking — even with the help of a professional.”

Request a Cash Offer on Your Ohio Home and Skip the Prep Work

Skip the prep work and the agent commissions by requesting a cash offer for your home. With HomeLight’s Simple Sale, you can receive a no-obligation all-cash offer in as little as one week, and close the sale in as few as 10 days.

Alternatives to selling by owner in Ohio

If you decide you don’t want the hassle or pressure of FSBO, you’ve got other solid options.

Enlist the help of a top-rated real estate agent

Ultimately, the services and price gains you can get with an experienced real estate agent may put more money in your pocket than FSBO. A proven agent is also better equipped to help you achieve your selling and moving timelines.

It’s the little details — sometimes something as simple as a typo — that can derail a sale. Breeckner recalls once helping a seller whose home had sat on the market for weeks in Downtown Columbus. Ultimately?

“It turned out they actually had the square footage wrong, and it was quite a substantial difference — they had listed 1,100 square feet, rather than 1,700 square feet.” After he corrected the square footage, offers began.

Likewise, Wall says that he speaks to FSBO sellers in Dayton on the regular, and he says he’s seen it all. But the biggest hurdle he sees FSBOs contending with is the negotiating process.

“FSBOs are representing themselves through a complicated process, which puts them in danger of being taken advantage of by the buyer’s agent — because that person does this for a living,” he cautions. “So, naturally, you’re coming from a place of less experience, and they have an upper hand.” His advice for sellers is to seek the expertise of an agent whose negotiation skills can put them back on top.

Interested in such expertise? HomeLight’s Agent Match platform can connect you to top-performing agents in your Ohio market. Our free tool analyzes over 27 million transactions and thousands of reviews to determine which agent is best for you based on your needs. It takes only two minutes to receive your matches.

Request a cash offer to buy your Ohio home

If you’d like to skip the sale prep altogether — plus avoid paying agent commissions — you can opt to sell your home “as is” to an all-cash buyer instead.

For a low-stress experience, consider requesting a cash offer from HomeLight’s Simple Sale platform. Tell us a few details about your home, and in as few as five days, we’ll send a no-obligation all-cash offer your way. If you decide to accept the offer, Simple Sale sellers have the ability to close in as little as 10 days.

Without leaving the Simple Sale platform, you’ll also be able to compare your cash offer to an estimation of what your home would sell for on the open market so you can make an informed decision.

Ready to sell your Ohio home?

Unless you already have a buyer lined up, selling a house by owner in Ohio requires a significant investment of time and effort. You’ll need to pull your own comps, capture excellent pictures, create a listing, market the house online, field inquiries, host showings, negotiate, and close the deal. And that’s after preparing the house itself.

You also have to consider that FSBO listings tend to sell for less than agent-assisted sales. An experienced agent who knows the area can make recommendations for targeted upgrades to help you maximize your sale price and get a premium offer. This can help to offset or, in some cases, more than make up for the cost of commission — while saving you time and headaches.

If you choose to go FSBO, you should have a good idea now of what to expect from the process. Otherwise, our internal transaction data at HomeLight shows that the top 5% of real estate agents sell homes for as much as 10% more than average, and we’d be happy to introduce you to some of the best agents in your Ohio market.

Header Image Source: (Matt Koffel / Unsplash)