With a high quality of life and an extraordinarily low cost of living, the Ohio market is competitive and can swing wildly. Timing the market can make the difference between overpaying and the bargain of the century.
Buying a house is a stressful and emotional process. You'll likely have to spend weeks touring properties, fill out hundreds of forms, and invest a large chunk of your savings to secure the right house.
One way to make buying a house easier is starting the process at the right time. In Ohio, housing inventory, mortgage rates, and market trends vary from month to month.
For example, this year listing prices for homes in Ohio were lowest in January. On average, homes were $29,815 less expensive. While in July — the month with the highest prices — the listing prices were $22,680 more than the annual average.
In truth, the best time to buy a house really depends on your priorities and situation. Read on to find out which time of year will give you the most options and the biggest savings when buying a house in Ohio.
Best Month For
10.5% lower than average
29.0% more homes to choose from
2.95% interest for 30-year mortgage
Realtor.com data (October 2020)
Bankrate data (December 2020)
If you're interested in buying a home, the first step in the home buying journey is getting preapproved by a licensed lender. Even if you’re already pre-approved, shopping around for lower rates can pay dividends over the life of the loan.
You can fill out the form below to be instantly matched with a licensed lender who knows the area and can guide you through the process.
The Best Time to Purchase a Home in Ohio
The best time to buy in Ohio is going to be in the dead of winter — January, to be specific. In the Columbus market (one of the largest markets in Ohio, and a bellwether for the rest of the state), January sales close for a jaw-dropping 21.7% lower than the yearlong average. The reasons for this are probably some combination of the post-holiday malaise and the notorious Ohio winters.
Though it may be inconvenient, seasonal discounts of this size are almost unheard of, so it's well worth it to time your offer to close in that January sweet spot.
Similarly, homes lingered on the market for 36 days longer than average in January. Since Ohio listings average about 85 days statewide, this is a massive increase. Savvy buyers know that the longer their home is listed, the less chance there is that they'll be able to sell, so January sellers should be eager to make a deal.
The Best Places to Buy a Home in Ohio
Columbus is not only home to The Ohio State University, but it's also a burgeoning tech hub. Median home values are far lower than the national average, making it a very affordable place to buy a home, and the amenities that come with being a major college town (transit, an arts scene, dining) add a lot of value to an already attractive package.
Known as “Queen City” or, in the 19th century, “the Paris of America” (no, really), Cincinnati is still thriving. Home to ten Fortune 500 companies, two universities, and a vibrant arts scene, it's also rated as one of the safest cities in the United States.
This mid-sized city of just under 280,000 boasts home values that are less than half the national average, as well as a cost-of-living that's the third cheapest in the nation. Locals claim the city has the best pizza in America (possibly) and that local amusement park Cedar Point is the best in the world (probably true).
Dayton (population 141,000), like many of its fellow Ohio cities, offers incredible affordability. Home values are a third of the national average, though median household income is just over half the national average, and the crime rate is moderately higher than the national average.
The unofficial rubber capital of America, population 198,000, is on the upswing. While home values here are moderately higher than some of the other Ohio cities' rock-bottom prices, homes here are still very affordable, with a median home value of $80,100, less than half the national average. With proximity to Cleveland but a small-town feel, Akron could be a great choice for families.
Four Ways to Great a Great Deal On a Home in Ohio
Find a Great Ohio Real Estate Agent
Working with a local real estate agent to find your dream home lets you access their market knowledge and negotiating expertise. And there's nothing to lose!
The usual reason people want to bypass an agent is because of money. There's a persistent idea that if you buy a house without an agent, you're somehow saving money. This isn't the case, though. A buyer's agent gets paid out of the commission, which comes out of the seller's side of the transaction. Your agent and the seller's agent usually split around 6%; you, the buyer, pay none of that at all. And what did you get by using the agent? Probably a shorter search, a smoother negotiation, and a dramatically lower final price.
Assess Your Needs and Lay Out Your Goals
Next, you'll want to sit down and have a serious conversation with your agent about what you're looking for, and how much you can pay. This is the time to get into specific details and get past generalities and ballpark figures.
What architecture styles do you find unacceptable? Do you want a fenced-in yard, or is no outdoor space acceptable? Do you want off-street parking? New construction? There are a lot of little boxes to check, but the more work you do now, the better your eventual choices will be.
Find a Lender and Secure Financing
Unless you plan to buy your home with cash, you'll need to apply for a mortgage. For most home buyers in Ohio, interest rates are among the biggest factors when choosing a lender. Doing a little upfront research and comparing options to find the best rates could save you tens of thousands of dollars over the life of your loan.
For example, in Ohio a typical house is worth $163,000. Assuming a 20% down payment, if you took out a 30-year mortgage for 3.5%, your monthly payment would be $582. But if you shopped around and found a 3% mortgage, your monthly payment would drop to about $550.
Getting a mortgage is a big decision – and it pays to shop around! Keep shopping until you find a lender with competitive rates who also understands your goals. Don’t get pressured into taking on a bigger loan than you’re comfortable with – work with a lender who explains what you’re really signing up for.
» Get instantly matched with a lender who works in your area.
Negotiate for the Best Possible Price
Once your agent compiles a list of properties that meet your specific needs and desires, you'll want to take a close look at each one. If one of them catches your eye, you'll then proceed to the offer stage.
Your agent will help you arrive at a number for that all-important initial offer, based on the sale prices of similar properties, and the mindset of the seller. They'll also attempt to negotiate the price down for you, based on any leverage they'll be able to find, based on the property's condition. Something as small as a leaky roof could get you ten grand knocked off the price; it's the agent's job to know and exploit this.
If your agent's savvy negotiations are successful, your offer will be accepted, and you'll be the new owner of your dream home. Congratulations!
Clever Partner Agents are seasoned, elite performers in their respective markets, and come from top brokerages and brands. Contact us today to set up a no-obligation consultation!