Whether you're trading up from a cramped starter or leaving an empty nest, selling a house is complicated. While the process is similar nationwide, specific laws in Ohio govern transactions there. Learn as much as you can about the process beforehand so you can avoid problems later.
While some folks can handle home sales from beginning to end, most people prefer professional help. A broker can write appealing listings, show your home to potential buyers, track paperwork, and more. The Ohio Division of Real Estate and Professional Licensing can give you tips on finding a broker, including a searchable database.
Listing Your Home
There are several different listing agreements you can use. An open listing means that anyone can sell the home—real estate firms aren't fond of these types of deals. Under an exclusive agency listing, the firm you sign with is the only one that can sell the home, though you can sell it on your own. An exclusive right to sell agreement, the most commonly used type of listing, means that the agency you sign with is the only one that can sell the home for a set period of time.
Your actual listing will detail the house's assets: amenities or upgrades, the quality of schools, nearby parks. Look at what other homes in your neighborhood have sold for to help you set an asking price. You can also check pricing on similar-sized houses nearby.
In Ohio, sellers must fill out disclosure forms that tell buyers about any defects or flaws that might cause the buyer to reconsider. In fact, you can be sued if you hide serious conditions, such as structural deterioration. You'll also have to give information about electrical systems, insects, hazardous materials, and more.
Make Me an Offer
You have a potential buyer, but the offer is considerably lower than the asking price. No problem; in fact, most buyers expect you to counter their first offer. In addition to price, you can negotiate amenities, repairs or additions.
Once the sale price is settled, spell out in a purchase agreement the price and other crucial details such as the closing date, any repairs, and financing. Review a sample document to get an idea of what to expect. Once you sign the agreement, it is a legally binding contract.
Occasionally an inspection will reveal a previously undisclosed issue with the house, but this doesn't necessarily mean the deal is off. You can negotiate with the buyer, perhaps lowering the price or agreeing to pay for some repairs, if you still want to complete the sale.
At closing, you and the buyer sign all paperwork and you turn over the keys. You'll also pay any taxes or fees you owe. Don't forget to bring photo identification with you.
Real estate laws in Ohio are complicated, and each situation is unique. This article is intended only as a general overview. Contact an attorney for legal advice specific to your situation.