A Guide to Buying a House in: Ohio

(Because anyone can call this beautiful state "Home")


Rumor has it that you're looking to buy a house in Ohio - maybe. Well, you're in the right place to get the inside scoop on the housing market of The Buckeye State (yup, their favorite nickname). You'll get the lowdown on the important stuff, as well as some extra fun goodies about the state. So, without further delay...

The Most and Least Expensive Cities in Ohio

Narrowing down the search in a new state to a specific city might not be the easiest thing ever, but it can help to know which areas are the most/least moolah-happy. So we made up a little list of a few places in each category, especially for you.

Most expensive cities:

  • Pepper Pike
  • Beachwood
  • Brecksville
  • Solon
  • Highland Heights 

Least expensive cities:

  • Youngstown
  • Warren
  • Campbell
  • Greenville
  • Struthers

And there it is. Now you're ready to choose the city that's right for you, while keeping your financial situation in mind. No matter where you choose to buy your new home, you can always find affordable home insurance within our trusted network.

Ohio's Housing Market

Another good thing to consider before moving to Ohio (or anywhere else) is the current status of the housing market in the place. So we'll keep this party hoppin' by checking out an overview of Ohio's market next.

Ohio is currently a seller's market. As the seventh-most populated state, they're facing a bit of a housing inventory crisis at the moment - inventory's been declining for the past several years, but it's down to a record low in central Ohio. In fact, it's down 21.2% from just 2017. 

It's becoming harder for buyers to find homes, and it's not looking to pick up anytime soon. Sellers will benefit from the increase in home values over the coming months, but sales are still predicted to slow by the end of 2018. The average home spends about 59 days on the market. The overall housing market rating from Zillow is 0.6/10, which is considered pretty unhealthy. 

THE place to go in Ohio is Columbus - the state's capital. It's got Ohio State University, a strong economy, a zoo, tons of shopping and restaurants, and a really happenin' downtown area. Home values in the city currently average $145,659 - which is a HUGE increase of 11% over the past year. List prices for homes currently average $159,500, and homes are closing for about $150,600. The list price per square foot is about $113.

And check this out - Ohio's got lots of new construction happenin'. The major pattern of new development flows in a diagonal line upwards across the state from Cincinnati, to Columbus, all the way up to Cleveland. So, no matter which major city starting with a 'C' appeals to you the most, there'll be plenty of new places to choose from.

Home Property Values and Costs in Ohio

It's great to know WHERE to search, but wouldn't you like to know HOW MUCH you might be paying for your new house? Thought so. So, we're moving right along to home values/prices next.

For starters, the median home value in Ohio is $137,400, with homes currently listed on the market for an average of $162,000. The median price of homes sold is $138,100, and median rent for a house is $1,025/month. The list price per square foot is about $104. As for home appreciation, home values have also increased 7.0% in 2018, and are expected to rise another 6.2% within the upcoming year. 

Don't worry, apartment/condo seekers, we'll show you some love, too. Average rent for the state as a whole is just $579/month for a one-bedroom, and $757/month for a two-bedroom. You'll pay a bit more in the state's bigger cities, though. Columbus has one-bedrooms going for an average of $885/month, Cleveland for $959/month and Cincinnati for $829/month. 

And our townhouse folks, of course we didn't forget about you. Average rent for a townhouse in Ohio ranges from $350/month for a two-bed/one-bath place to $1,100/month for a three-bed/one-and-a-half bath place.

Check into Tornado Coverage in Ohio

Buying a house is only half the battle - you've also gotta think about what kind of homeowners insurance you'll need. Each state is prone to different types of natural disasters, and Ohio's happens to be tornadoes. Even though the state is located just outside of Tornado Alley, it still gets hit by about 16 of 'em each year.

But what does that mean for you? Well, that you'll need to review the insurance you've got, to make sure you don't need any more. Luckily most homeowners insurance policies include coverage for tornadoes, but you'll need to double-check your specific policy to make extra super-duper sure.

Some policies may require you to get an additional, separate tornado insurance rider, or to specifically name tornadoes among the events that you want them to cover. Damage to your actual home and personal possessions are typically covered by a regular homeowners policy. 

If you're a renter, your renters insurance should cover your personal property, while your landlord should cover building damage. Your policy is also likely to provide short-term housing in case the storm is extra-nasty and leaves you temporarily homeless, which wouldn't be cool.

Just make sure you know EXACTLY what's covered by YOUR policy, to avoid any (major) frustration later. Call up your agent to go over things with you again if your confidence is even 0.1% lacking. They won't mind, and you'll thank yourself later. For real.

...and Maybe Flood Insurance, Too

Also, depending on where you end up settling down in the state, you might need even more coverage - flood insurance. If you're in an area deemed to be high-risk, your mortgage lender might require you to purchase extra coverage specifically for flooding. But it's important to note that even areas not in designated high-risk areas might still require this coverage. Why? Because as that old annoying expression goes, it's better to be safe than sorry.

Alright, so you might need it, but what exactly IS it? Well, broken down, flood insurance will cover your property (the actual structure of your home and the belongings in it - to an extent) if natural water (i.e., rain, waves, etc.) wreaks havoc. Many policies will say that the water must cover at least two acres of normally dry land in order to qualify for reimbursement. 

Natural disasters aren't fun for anyone, and neither is having to pay extra money towards additional insurance policies. It's all just important stuff to think over before making your move to a new state. Of course, if you wanna avoid tornadoes/flooding, you could move somewhere else - but no place is gonna be perfect.

Quality of Schools in Ohio 

Those on the quest for knowledge might wanna know about the quality of the school system in their new state, so next up we've got a peek at an overview, Ohio-style.

Here are some 2018 WalletHub stats about how Ohio schools ranked in the country:

  • #27 overall for the US
  • #29 for quality
  • #18 for safety 

The top-rated schools in Ohio are Walnut Hills High School, in Cincinnati, and Ohio State University, in Columbus.


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Reasons to Move to Ohio (...or not)

That's enough of you, serious stuff. It's time to lighten up a bit. Let's take a look at why someone might even WANT to move to Ohio, in the first place. But don't just listen to us, check out these pros/cons of living in The Heart of It All" (mhmm, another cooky state nickname) from some people who already do.

PROs (as voted by real-life "Buckeyes"):

  • Low cost of living: For a single adult, only $10.75/hour is required to live comfortably, according to livingwage.mit.edu. Many locals state that one reason they love living here, or that they moved here from out of state, is the super-affordable cost of housing. So, unless you're planning to invest your entire savings account in a farm for buckeye trees, your dollars may go a lot farther in this state.
  • Roller coasters: Ohio is home to many beloved amusement parks, including Cedar Point and Kings Island. Cedar Point, in Sandusky, is self-proclaimed to be the Roller Coaster Capital of the World - two of its world-famous coasters are the Top Thrill Dragster and the Millennium Force. Kings Island, in Mason, is the largest amusement/water park in the Midwest. And here's a story - this one was featured in a 1973 episode of The Brady Bunch called "The Cincinnati Kids"..The park celebrated the 40th anniversary of the episode's filming in 2013, and two of the original cast members came to party. Far out, man.
  • Proximity to major cities: Ohio is halfway between Chicago and New York City - fun fact, that's one reason they got their Heart of it All nickname. Locals think it's pretty cool to be smack-dab between two major metropolises in the country, and that so much of the US population is so close to them. But, they're also far enough from it all to avoid the major traffic/anxiety. It's a win-win.
  • Amish Country: Ohio's home to the largest Amish population in the world - Amish Country - which is a biiig tourist draw. Visitors can catch a glimpse into the history-rich culture and experience a simpler way of living. There's lodging as well as plenty of events and activities, festivals, tours, shopping and restaurants. Grab your horse and buggy and trot/gallop on over.  

CONs (also from the mouths of real "Buckeyes"):

  • Harsh seasons: Locals complain of extreme weather in all seasons here. Summers are hot and humid, with heavy rain and storms, and winters are cold and pretty brutal, with lots of snowfall and blizzards. Tornadoes have also been recorded in every month of the year. Now that's extreme.
  • Battleground/Swing state: Because it's known as a battleground or a swing state, meaning it could go either way (Democrat/Republican) in an election, Ohio gets bombarded by political campaign ads around every impending election. Politicians also love to visit and try to butter up residents and coax them to vote. Locals don't appreciate it. They know that once their vote has been cast, they won't be hearing from those politicians in their hometown again. It feels just a little fake.
  • Obnoxious sports fans: Ohio sports fans allegedly can be rowdy and downright dangerous, but apparently it's to SUCH an extreme that the Princeton Review even named them the nation's "most obnoxious" legion of fans. We don't really want someone with a painted face throwing batteries and screaming at us, thanks. And yes, that's a real thing that's happened in Ohio.

Stuff to Do in Ohio

So, now we know WHY people move here, but what do people DO, once they become reborn as "Buckeyes"? We also checked in with the locals to find out some insider's secrets to having fun 'round here, from "zoolights" to halls of fame.

Here are just a few of the state's coolest attractions:

  • Hocking Hills State Park: Located not far from Logan, this state park features multiple caves to explore, cabins to camp in, waterfalls to gasp at, ziplines to whoosh across, trails to hike, and lakes to canoe/kayak. There's also plenty of annual festivals and more to keep you coming back.
  • Wildlights at the Columbus Zoo: The zoo no doubt offers an amazing day trip experience with its 9,000 animals and 650 species from around the world, but the real attraction happens during the holiday season - the wildlights (also referred to by locals as "zoolights"). Colorful lights are strewn throughout the entire zoo and lit up after the xhibits close down in the evening. There's even a light show or two set up in sync to music. Rock on, animals.
  • Rock & Roll Hall of Fame: Speaking of rockin' out, Cleveland has the largest house of rock 'n roll in the country - the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. This HOF celebrates and archives the legacy of some of the most well-known and influential artists/producers/other historical figures that have inspired the development of rock 'n roll. The 2018 inductees included Bon Jovi, Dire Straits, Nina Simone, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, The Moody Blues and The Cars - so check it out, and let the good times roll. (Get it?)
  • A Christmas Story House: You can explore Ralphie's house in the flesh and check out original props, costumes and memorabilia from the film, in Cincinnati. The museum also offers hundreds of rare, behind-the-scenes photos of the cast and crew. You'll see toys from Higbee's, the pink bunny suit and, of course, the infamous leg lamp. Just don't touch it - remember, it's fra-gee-lay (and must be Italian). 
  • Pro Football Hall of Fame: Football fans, rejoice - the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton features shrines to the biggest names in NFL history - from players and coaches to franchise owners and front-office personnel. The museum's mission is to "Honor the Heroes of the Game, Preserve its History, Promote its Values and Celebrate Excellence Everywhere." So wash off your cleats and check it out for yourself. Hike!

Movin' on in, in Ohio

Well folks, there it is - our Reader's Digest version of all things Ohio housing market, with a bonus round of some state-related goodies. It's no lie that we can't cover EVERYTHING you might be concerned about before seriously looking into buying your house here, but hopefully you've absorbed some juicy deets that you didn't have on your radar before.

If you can't wait to get a house in a city with the "zoolights" or the Rock & Roll HOF, then set your coordinates for Ohio and get on it. Make sure your new home is covered properly with an affordable home insurance policy.

Good luck.

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