Key takeaways

  • Selling a house without the assistance of a Realtor in Ohio is possible, but you'll be in for a lot of work.
  • While selling on your own will save you the cost of a listing agent's commission, you'll still have to pay the buyer's agent's fee.
  • Real estate transactions are complicated, so be sure to have a local real estate attorney look over your contract and other paperwork.

Interested in selling your Buckeye State home without the help of a real estate agent? It’s certainly possible, but it requires a lot of work. In a “for sale by owner” or FSBO transaction, the seller takes on all the work a Realtor would normally do, including analyzing comps to come up with a competitive list price, creating a strategic marketing plan, coordinating showings, contract negotiations and more.

In addition, many people believe that FSBO sales save them the cost of real estate commissions. This is only half true: When you sell without an agent of your own, you save on what would have been your agent’s commission — but you still have to pay a commission to your buyer’s agent, assuming they have one. Read on to learn the pros and cons of selling a house without an agent in Ohio.

Selling a house without a Realtor in Ohio

No matter what state you’re in, a FSBO home sale requires handling the entire transaction process on your own, from start to finish. The basic steps will be:

  1. Crafting a listing: You’ll need to write a compelling description of the home and property to draw buyers in. Be sure to include all relevant information, like square footage, age, lot size and number of bedrooms/bathrooms. If the home has special features, like a pool, include those as well. Don’t forget plenty of high-quality photos — with the prevalence of online listings, images that show the home in its best light are crucial. Most importantly, you need to choose a listing price. The median sale price in Ohio was $234,800 in October 2023, according to Redfin data, but local markets can differ greatly. Do your research to make sure you understand exactly how much your home is worth.
  2. Marketing the property: Next, it’s time to get your listing out there so that house-hunters can see it. Many online services will list your home on the local MLS for a fee, and they often offer tiered packages of services that can include things like marketing and yard signs. Being on the MLS will get your listing added to sites like Zillow and Trulia. In Ohio, look into platforms such as Houzeo and Ohio Team Results Realty. You can also list your home on social media and wider platforms like Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace — just be cautious about what kind of personal information you disclose on these very public sites.
  3. Fielding offers and negotiating a deal: Scheduling open houses or private showings with buyers requires a lot of organization. Always exercise caution when allowing strangers into your home, and be prepared to negotiate to land a competitive offer. It’s always a smart idea to enlist a real estate attorney for a transaction this important, but for FSBO sellers, it’s doubly important: A lawyer can draw up a sale contract and make sure it, and all the other details of your deal, are legally sound.

Required disclosures for Ohio home sellers

There’s a lot of paperwork involved in a real estate transaction, including staying on top of your local disclosure requirements — as in, the things you as the seller are legally required to disclose to the buyer. The state of Ohio requires multiple disclosures, including a Residential Property Disclosure Form in which you must inform the buyer of the property’s condition in detail. If your home was built prior to 1978, you’ll also need to provide a disclosure regarding lead-based paint.

Do I need a lawyer to sell my house in Ohio?

Ohio does not require home sellers to hire an attorney, whether a Realtor is involved or not. Even so, hiring a lawyer is a smart move, particularly when you’re selling without a professional agent. A local real-estate attorney can guide you through the nuances of your area’s local laws, contracts and other paperwork and prevent you from a potentially messy misstep — or worse, a deal that isn’t legally sound.

Pros and cons of selling a house by owner in Ohio

Pros

  • Move faster: When you sell with a Realtor, you have to work within their schedule, since they likely have multiple clients to answer to at once. When you’re on your own, you move on your own timeline.
  • You’re in charge: As a FSBO seller you can do everything your way, without anyone telling you what you should and shouldn’t do. (Although you should still listen to the advice of your lawyer, of course.)
  • Save on commissions: Real estate commissions typically run between 5 and 6 percent of a home’s sale price, split evenly between the seller’s agent and the buyer’s agent. When you sell without an agent, you save that 2.5 to 3 percent. On a median-priced $234,800 Ohio home, 3 percent adds up to $7,044.

Cons

  • Smaller pool of potential buyers: Most homebuyers enlist an agent to help them find all the listings available that meet their needs, and agents promote their listings to each other. Without this kind of professional networking, fewer people may see your listing.
  • No professional expertise: Agents are licensed professionals, and it’s literally their job to know their local market inside and out. Without pro guidance, you’re on your own for assessing the value of your home, negotiating the best price and contractual terms and more. It’s a lot to deal with.
  • Potentially lower price: Data from the National Association of Realtors shows that homes sold by owners tend to bring in lower prices than those sold by agents. Considerably lower: FSBO homes sold for a median price of $310,000 in 2023, NAR says, versus a median of $405,000 for agent-assisted sales. That’s a much bigger possible loss than the $7,044 in commissions that you might save.

FAQs

  • No, Ohio state law does not require you to have a lawyer to sell your house. However, it’s a good idea to work with one regardless, to make sure your interests are covered on what is likely one of the biggest financial transactions of your life.
  • No. While you do not necessarily need a Realtor to sell your house in Ohio, or in any state, selling on your own is a whole lot of work. Without a professional agent, the entire process of the home sale falls on your shoulders, from setting a listing price to marketing strategies to contract negotiations and closing paperwork.