How To Transfer a Car Title in Ohio

March 25th, 2022 by

A car’s title is the official document stating the details of the car and, most importantly, the name of the person who owns it. When you purchase a car, it’s vital that you have a title in your name to remain compliant with the law in the state of Ohio. Plus, completing the title transfer gives you a handy piece of proof should your ownership of your vehicle ever be questioned.

If you need to transfer a car title in Ohio, you can follow a few simple steps. First, the party selling the car needs to re-assign ownership on the title with an official signature. Once that’s done, the buyer can go to the Department of Motor Vehicles and apply to re-title the car. It’s important to start preparing documents early when you buy a car because, according to Ohio state law, you have 30 days after the sale to complete the title transfer. Any later, and you’ll owe a $5 fine.

mini red car in palm with keys

Photo via Flickr by free pictures of money

What Does The Seller Have To Do To Transfer a Car Title?

If you’re selling your car, you have a few responsibilities before you can transfer the title. First, you should plan on recording the information about the sale on the title so there’s proof of when and how the sale happened. On the back of your title, there’s typically a designated area to write out the details of a title transfer. Here’s what you need to include:

  • The date.
  • Your full name.
  • Your address.
  • The new owner’s full name.
  • The new owner’s full address.
  • The current mileage on the odometer.
  • The final price.

This is a legally binding document, and you won’t have an opportunity to edit it. It’s vital that the information you write is thorough and correct. Double-check details like the mileage reading and the spelling of the buyer’s last name to make sure your work is correct. Before you complete the transfer, it’s usually helpful to make a copy of this side of the document. It might serve as proof of the sale should there be any financial or legal issues in the future. 

Next, sign the document and get your signature notarized. You can usually find a notary at a post office or bank. Bring your ID with you to your appointment, where the notary will verify that the signature on the document belongs to you. Ohio state law requires you to get signatures notarized when transferring a car title. Once you’re finished, you can deliver the title to the new owner.

What Does The Buyer Have To Do To Transfer a Car Title?

The buyer’s role in the title transfer is a little more complicated, but once you’ve readied the right documents, it should only take a few hours. First, get the title from the seller. On the back, they should have already written out the details of the transfer. Check that the information they inputted is correct, like the price, mileage, and your personal information.

Make an appointment at your local County of Clerks Title Office to bring in your paperwork and officially transfer the title with the state of Ohio. The office will expect you to bring in a completed application for the title, so it’s helpful to visit the Bureau of Motor Vehicles’ (BMV) website to find and print out the application. It’s a simple one-page document that asks for your personal information and some details about the car and the sale. When you’re done, sign it and visit a notary to have it notarized.

In the meantime, start gathering the other documents you need. Call your local title office to learn what forms of ID they accept, as it can vary from location to location. Here’s everything you should plan on bringing to the title office:

  • The notarized original title.
  • Your notarized title application.
  • Personal ID.
  • A form of payment for tax and fees.
  • A vehicle identification number (VIN) inspection if you bought the car from outside of Ohio.

How Much Does It Cost To Transfer a Title?

Fortunately, an Ohio title transfer isn’t a very expensive process. Ohio charges $15 for a new vehicle title. Expect to pay another $15 for a lien notation if you purchased the car with financing attached. If you bought the car from out of state, you’ll have to pay an additional $6.50 for the inspection. Remember that there’s a late fee of $5 if you take over 30 days to transfer your title. 

However, it’s important to note that you owe the state of Ohio sales tax on your purchase, even if you bought it from an independent seller. You’ll be responsible for paying that tax on the purchase price of the car when you visit the title office, so it might be helpful to calculate the amount due in advance. Call your office to learn what forms of payment they accept.

Transferring a Title in Uncommon Circumstances

Be aware that in some uncommon situations, additional paperwork and fees might be necessary. If you’re transferring a title due to death, the state of Ohio requires you also bring the individual’s death certificate and a notarized Affidavit to Designate a Beneficiary to the office. In case there are any liens on the car, plan on bringing in either a lien release or lien discharge. If you’ve lost your title and plan to sell your car, you can order a duplicate from the state for $15. For instructions on the Ohio title transfers, contact the BMV.

Taking the necessary steps to complete an Ohio title transfer finalizes your transaction and helps you stay compliant with state law. If you’re overwhelmed by the process of buying or selling a car in the state of Ohio, let us help you. When you buy a car from us, we handle all the paperwork for you. All you have to do is drive home in your brand-new vehicle. Visit us at one of our Youngstown, Ohio dealerships to get started today.