Ohio Title Transfer

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Transferring the ownership of a vehicle in Ohio means completing a title transfer. This can be done at your local BMV for a fee of $15.
Selling or buying a vehicle in any state will require more than a firm handshake—but for residents of Ohio, this kind of official transfer means completing a few forms, showing documents, and paying a small fee.
Sure, there are a few hoops to jump through, but by completing a transfer correctly, you ensure your vehicle is compliant with state law. 
Luckily, Jerry knows a thing or two about getting you through hoops—and we’re not just talking basketball. Here’s a guide to completing a title transfer for those living in the Buckeye State

What is a title transfer?

A car title is just a fancy way of demonstrating who owns a vehicle. So, to transfer the ownership of a car, you first need to transfer the title.
The main steps are as follows:
  • The seller releases vehicle ownership via a notarized signature
  • The buyer takes this paperwork (or the title) to the BMV and pays the transfer fee
Each state has a different way of doing this—but any title transfer will require a signature on behalf of the buyer and seller. Some additional variables may include documenting a vehicle's odometer, the original sales price, or filling out extra paperwork before you hand over the keys.

Who does the title transfer?

Who completes the title transfer process depends on the type of the sale.
If you’re buying from a dealership, they will likely handle everything—from completing the title applications to mailing in your transfer. If you're buying privately, it’s the responsibility of the buyer and the seller to carry out the process correctly.
Don’t panic, though! The process of transferring a title is easier than it sounds.

Reasons for a title transfer

There are many possible reasons for changing the ownership of a vehicle. The most common reason is when buying or selling a car
Here are some other common title transfer reasons:
  • Changing residency
  • Gifting/donating a vehicle
  • Inheriting a vehicle
  • Paying off a vehicle loan
  • Buying and selling a vehicle
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Car title transfer in Ohio

In Ohio, transferring the title of a vehicle must be completed within 30 days of the purchase. Delaying it will result in a $5 late fee. While it’s possible to obtain an electronic title in Ohio, transferring one has to be done in person.
Here’s everything you need to do:
  • Fill out an Ohio application for certificate of title to a motor vehicle—here’s what the current form looks like
  • Have the title signed by the buyer, seller, and any lienholders (this results in an additional fee) and notarized
  • Have the following information ready:
    • Proper identification for both buyer and seller
    • Original title assigned to the buyer
    • Application(s) for Certificate of Title to a Motor Vehicle
    • Sales tax on the purchase price (rates vary by county)
    • Payment for title fees, including, if applicable, a lienholder notation
  • Have the seller complete the “ assignment of ownership” portion on the back of the title
From there, you’ll just need to bring these documents to your local BMV. The title transfer fee is $15
For out-of-state titles, you’ll also need an out-of-state vehicle identification number (VIN) inspection. Inspections can be obtained at any licensed Ohio motor vehicle dealership. Call ahead to learn about fees.
Key Takeaway After getting your forms together, transferring a title in Ohio is as easy as going to your local BMV and paying a $15 transfer fee.

Registering a car in Ohio

Once the transfer process is in your rearview mirror, it’s time to register your vehicle. Registration is your proof that you can legally drive on the road
In most states, registration is usually renewed annually. With Ohio’s multi-year registration system, certain vehicles can have their registration extended from two to five years.
Here are the vehicles and license plate types that can apply for multi-year registration:
  • Passenger cars
  • Non-commercial trucks and trailers
  • Motor homes and house vehicles
  • Motorcycles and mopeds 
  • System assigned (license plate)
  • Initial reserve (license plate)
  • Personalized (license plate)
The base fee for registration in Ohio is $34.50. If you opt for multi-year registration, you’ll still have to pay an annual fee—which is totaled and taxed when you renew.

Finding insurance for your vehicle

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If your car has a loan, initiating a transfer will likely still be possible—if a little tricky. To find out how to handle your transaction, get in contact with your lender and ask how they’d like you to complete the process.
Boxes on the transfer form are labeled for both the buyer and seller. Look for these, and sign when prompted. If you're selling a vehicle, though, make sure to fill out the entire “assignment of ownership” section on the back of the form—before requesting your transfer at the BMV.

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