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How to Transfer a Car Title in Ohio

Updated: Dec 25, 2023

Transfer Car Title and Ownership in Ohio

How to Transfer Car Title Ohio

Transferring a car title in the state of Ohio can be a straightforward process when you're armed with the correct information and documents. Whether you're buying, selling, donating or inheriting a vehicle, understanding the title transfer process is crucial. This guide will take you step-by-step through the process, ensuring a smooth transfer of vehicle ownership.

What is a Title Transfer?

A car title is a legal document that states the vehicle's details and the name of its owner. When you sell or purchase a vehicle, it's important to have the title transferred to the new owner's name to comply with Ohio state law. The title transfer process involves two main steps:

  1. The vehicle's current owner (the seller) signs a document to relinquish ownership. This signature must be notarized.

  2. The new owner (the buyer) then takes this signed document to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and pays the transfer fee to re-title the car in their name.




Seller's Role in Transferring a Car Title

If you are selling your vehicle, you have certain responsibilities to ensure a smooth title transfer. Firstly, you should record the sale details on the title as proof of the transaction. The back of the title usually has a designated area for this information, which includes:

  1. The date of the sale.

  2. Your full name and address.

  3. The buyer's full name and address.

  4. The vehicle's current mileage.

  5. The selling price.

After completing these details correctly and thoroughly, sign the document and get it notarized. Once completed, you can hand over the title to the new owner.


Buyer's Role in Transferring a Car Title

As a buyer, you need to check that the information filled in by the seller is accurate. After that, you can start preparing for the title transfer. You need to take the title, along with your notarized title application and identification, to your local County Clerk of Courts Title Office. There, you will pay the title fees and complete the transfer process. If you bought the vehicle from out of state, you would need to pay an additional fee for an inspection.

Title Transfer Fees

The title transfer fee in Ohio is $15. However, you may also need to pay sales tax based on the vehicle's sale price. Additionally, if you purchased the car from out of state, you would have to pay an extra $6.50 for the vehicle inspection. Remember, there is a late fee of $5 if you take more than 30 days to transfer your title.




How to sign over title when selling a car

Transferring a Title in Unusual Circumstances

In certain situations, such as the death of a vehicle owner or when a vehicle is gifted, additional paperwork and fees may be necessary. In such cases, the required documents and processes might vary, and it's advisable to consult the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) for accurate information.

Transfer on Death (TOD)

As the sole owner of a motor vehicle, an individual in Ohio can designate a beneficiary or beneficiaries on the title using a signed and notarized Affidavit to Designate a Beneficiary. Upon the owner's death, the beneficiary can bring the original Ohio title, a certified copy of the death certificate, a completed application for a Certificate of Title to a Motor Vehicle, a government-issued driver's license or identification card, and payment for title fees to the Title Office to complete the transfer.

Transfer to a Surviving Spouse

Upon the death of a married resident who owned at least one automobile, the surviving spouse can transfer an unlimited number of vehicles valued up to $65,000, and one boat and one outboard motor. The surviving spouse needs to bring the original Ohio Certificate of Title, a certified copy of the death certificate, a completed application for a Certificate of Title to a Motor Vehicle, a Clerk of Courts Surviving Spouse Affidavit, a copy of the security agreement (if applicable), acceptable identification, and payment for title fees to the Title Office to complete the transfer.

Transfer an Out-of-State Title to Ohio

If you purchase a vehicle registered out of state, you need to convert the out-of-state title to an Ohio title to register the vehicle and obtain license plates. You need to bring the out-of-state title certificate, acceptable identification, an out-of-state vehicle identification number (VIN) inspection, a lien release from your lien holder if you don’t have the paper title showing lien discharge, payment for title fees, and for lease transactions, two original powers of attorney from the lessor to the Title Office to complete the transfer.






Transferring a Title with a Lien in Ohio


When you're dealing with transferring a car title in Ohio, the process becomes a bit more complex if there's an auto loan or a lien on the vehicle. This is because the lender, typically a bank or financial institution, has a financial interest in the vehicle until the loan is paid off. Here's what you need to know about transferring an auto loan or the title of a vehicle with a lien in Ohio.


Understanding Liens on Vehicle Titles

First, let's clarify what a lien is. A lien is a legal claim on property that is used as collateral to secure a loan. In the context of an auto loan, the lender will place a lien on the vehicle title until the loan is fully repaid. This means the lender technically owns the vehicle, even though you are in possession of it and responsible for its upkeep.



Steps for Transferring an Auto Loan

Before you can transfer a car title with a lien, you must obtain permission from the lender. This typically involves contacting them to discuss the transfer and the steps they require for releasing the lien.


The quickest way to transfer a title with a lien is to pay off the loan in full. Once the loan is satisfied, the lender will release the lien, and you can proceed with the title transfer as if there were no lien. However, in some cases, the person acquiring the vehicle may be able to assume the loan. This process involves a credit check and approval by the lender. If approved, the loan terms typically remain the same, but the responsibility for repayment transfers to the new owner.


Transferring the Title with a Lien


  1. Request a Lien Release: If the loan has been paid off, you'll need to obtain a lien release from the lender. This can be a letter or a form that states the loan is fully paid and the lien can be removed.

  2. Visit the Ohio BMV: With the lien release in hand, you'll need to visit the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV). Provide them with the lien release, the current title, and any other required documents and fees.

  3. Complete the Title Transfer: The BMV will then process the transfer and issue a new title in the new owner's name without the lien. Make sure to keep copies of all documents for your records.

Considerations for Buyers and Sellers

Buyers: Always check for liens before purchasing a vehicle. You can do this by requesting a vehicle history report or checking with the Ohio BMV. Be wary of sellers who do not have a clear title or are not upfront about existing liens.


Sellers: If you're selling a vehicle with a lien, be transparent with the buyer about the process and the steps you've taken to secure a lien release. It's important to coordinate with the buyer to ensure the transfer goes smoothly.


Ohio Car Title Transfer

 

Transferring a car title in Ohio can be a straightforward process when you have the right information and documents. Whether you're buying, selling, donating or inheriting a vehicle, understanding the title transfer process is crucial. This guide will take you step-by-step through the process, ensuring a smooth transfer of vehicle ownership.

For the most up-to-date information, please call or visit the websites of any physical location you plan to visit while completing any of the steps required to transfer a vehicle title.

For any further questions or clarifications regarding the process of transferring a car title in Ohio, it is recommended to get in touch with the official Ohio Department of Motor Vehicles.

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