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While the housing market is cooling off in many places across the country, it’s a much different story in the middle of the Buckeye State. In fact, Columbus — home of Ohio State University’s Buckeyes — was recently named the third-hottest housing market in the U.S. by Realtor.com. And data from Columbus Realtors shows that the median sale price in Columbus rose by 12 percent from February 2022 to February 2023.
However, selling a home in Columbus isn’t an automatic touchdown. As buyers worry about higher mortgage rates, homes are sitting on the market longer these days, and the number of closings dropped by more than 11 percent in February. Read on for everything you need to know about selling your Columbus home.
How fast can you sell in Columbus?
In February, homes here spent an average of 34 days on the market before they sold. It’s a 10-day uptick compared with the year before, but ultimately, that’s still a great timeline if you’re hoping to sell your house in Columbus fast.
If you’re hoping for a speedier timeline, though, here are a few options to sell your home even faster in Columbus:
- Find an iBuyer: How does getting an offer in less than 24 hours sound? It’s possible with Offerpad or Opendoor. The two biggest names in iBuying are both still buying properties in Columbus — a signal that the area is a hot spot for real estate investment. Just be aware that in exchange for their speed, iBuyers offer less than you’d make in a traditional, longer sale.
- Sell for cash: Columbus Cash Buyers, Eagle Cash Buyers and Upward Home Solutions are just a few of the companies that buy houses for cash in Columbus. In fact, 28 percent of Columbus home purchases were all-cash deals in December 2022, according to Redfin data. All-cash means no financing, which eliminates the lengthy paperwork and underwriting involved in a buyer securing a mortgage.
- Undercut the market: You can still sell your house fast in Columbus with a traditional agent-assisted listing; you just need to be prepared to price it aggressively. For example, a place listed for $325,000 in Pickerington, where the median price is $360,000, will definitely turn some heads. When you interview real estate agents, make sure you spell out that your number one priority is speed.
- Be willing to bargain: Inventory is very low in Columbus, which means sellers have the advantage. But that doesn’t mean you’re going to get multiple over-ask bids. Consider the Westerville school district, where sellers are typically getting 98.6 percent of their initial listing price — pretty darn good, but a drop from the 103.6 percent they were getting one year ago. Simply put, be ready to entertain every offer and come to the negotiation table.
Selling your home in Columbus
As you get ready to sell your Columbus house, make sure you’re thinking about these critical questions:
How much will selling cost?
The cost of selling a home, in Columbus or anywhere else, can be significant. Here’s a rundown of everything to keep in mind:
- Realtor fees: As the seller, paying both real estate agents involved in the transaction falls on your shoulders. It typically comes to around 6 percent of the purchase price. On a median-priced $280,000 home in Columbus, that’s more than $16,000.
- Transfer taxes and conveyance fees: Sellers in Ohio usually cover the cost of transfer taxes and conveyance fees. While the transfer tax is a nominal $0.50, the conveyance fee adds up a bit more. In Franklin County, for example, it’s $3 per $1,000 of value – $1 from the state and $2 from the county. On a $280,000 sale, that’s another $840.
- Title insurance: You’ll split the cost of a new owner’s title insurance policy with the new owner in Columbus, and the price will vary based on the purchase price. For reference, owner’s title insurance on a $300,000 sale would be a bit less than $1,500.
- Attorney fees: There is no legal requirement to hire a legal expert when you’re selling a house in Columbus, but it’s smart to have a real estate attorney on your side. You’ll pay for their services, but it will give you peace of mind knowing that a professional has OK’d the contract details.
- Concessions: Concessions are becoming increasingly common around the country, according to a Redfin study. So don’t be surprised if a buyer asks you to cover a portion of their closing costs — and keep an open mind.
What’s the local market like?
The Columbus metro area area housing market covers a huge region. Before you think about listing, it’s important to understand how prices and inventory vary throughout the geographical footprint. For example, the median price tag for a home in the Dublin School District was a bit under $520,000 in January, while prices in London City were just $215,000. While median prices increased on the whole, there were three counties — Clark, Fayette and Pickaway — where prices actually decreased year over year.
Are you trying to buy a new house at the same time?
If you’re trying to sell your house in Columbus, do you already have a plan for where you’re heading next? Buying a house while selling at the same time can be challenging, so you’ll want to give extra consideration to ways to limit your stress. Keep an eye on the timeline of your sale contract, and make sure your agent understands that you need to sell before you can buy.
Prepping your home for sale
- Find the right agent: While you can certainly sell your house on your own in Ohio, it’s typically not the smartest financial move. Agent-assisted sales tend to command around $100,000 more than FSBO (for sale by owner) listings, according to figures from the National Association of Realtors. And you’re likely to make even less if you sell to an iBuyer.
- Figure out what to fix: To fix or not to fix? That is the question many sellers face. The easiest way to answer is to put yourself in the buyer’s shoes. If the torn wallpaper in the den would turn you off, perhaps it’s better to clean it up before you host an open house. Additionally, make sure you consider these cheap and easy ways to boost your property value. You don’t have to renovate your kitchen (in fact, you shouldn’t — you won’t recoup the costs), but you could install a new front door or hire a home staging professional to spruce up the place.
- Find your pricing sweet spot: How much will a buyer pay for your house? That’s a tough question to answer right now, as high mortgage rates and economic uncertainty make buying a house feel a lot harder for most people. However, you can easily estimate how much your house is worth. Once you have an idea of its value, take a look at comps in the area to see if similar places have been selling for more recently. Your agent will be your best friend in this process.
Should I sell my house fast?
Selling your house fast in Columbus can make you feel like you’re racing into the Buckeyes end zone untouched. With an iBuyer or a company that buys homes for cash, you’ll get an immediate offer and avoid the waiting game of a buyer getting official approval for a mortgage.
However, it’s important to recognize what you’re giving up in exchange: money. If you can wait a bit longer and work to attract buyers, you will likely see much bigger offers. Plus, traditionally sold homes in Columbus are still going on a relatively fast 34-day timeline.
Ready to get serious about selling your Columbus home? Consider proactively completing the new Ohio seller’s disclosure form with any past damages or lingering issues with the property. You’ll need to share this with a buyer, along with any documentation about your homeowners association’s financial health and bylaws (if you’re part of an HOA).
Once you’re in contract, make sure you continue to be responsive throughout the entire process. Avoid common closing delays, so that when the big day arrives, you can sit back and smile as the funds hit your account.
Yes. You can opt for a for sale by owner (FSBO) listing anywhere in Ohio. Proceed with caution, though: Selling your house without a real estate agent’s help requires a lot of work and time. Plus, agent-assisted sales tend to fetch a higher price than FSBO sales. You can also sell to an iBuyer or a “we buy houses” company, which typically does not require an agent, but those options will likely net you less profit as well.
Yes. While the buying pool may be a bit smaller due to higher mortgage rates, the inventory level in Columbus is very small, which puts sellers in the driver’s seat. With just 0.9 months of supply available, it’s safe to say that every new listing will get some looks.
No — the opposite, in fact. The most recent report from the Columbus Realtors shows that the median sale price in Columbus in February was $280,000, which is a 12 percent increase versus one year ago. However, that’s still quite a bit less than the national median price of $363,000.