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Ohio Buying a Vehicle

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Obtaining a Title and Registration For a Vehicle Bought from a Car Dealership

If you purchase a vehicle from a car dealership in Ohio, the dealership generally will file the title and registration paperwork for you and collect the sales tax. However, if you bought the vehicle from a private party, you will have to do the paperwork and pay the taxes yourself.

Obtaining a Title and Registration For a Vehicle Bought from a Private Party

If you’ve bought the vehicle from someone other than a dealer, you’ll have to handle all the paperwork yourself in person at a deputy registrar license agency. If the vehicle is to be titled in two names, both parties must be present, or one must bring a signed power of attorney from the other. The title must be transferred within 30 days after you buy the vehicle.

The seller must complete the assignment of ownership portion on the back of the original title and have their signature notarized. You should check carefully to be sure the VIN entered on the title matches that of the vehicle and that the odometer reading listed is accurate.

After that, the procedures vary slightly depending upon whether the vehicle you’ve purchased is new or used.

If it is a new vehicle, you must bring the following:

If you are buying a used vehicle, the seller will need to clear any liens on the vehicle so that they can convey a clear title. You bring that signed and notarized original title document to the deputy registrar license agency office in person along with the following:

  • application for a certificate of title
  • acceptable identification as indicated by the County Clerk of Courts Title Office
  • for out-of-state titles only, an out-of-state vehicle identification number (VIN) inspection; inspections can be obtained at any (current fees) or any licensed Ohio motor vehicle dealership (call ahead for fee)
  • sales tax on the purchase price (rates by county)
  • payment for title fees, including a lien holder notation (if applicable)
  • proof of emissions check if you live in one of these counties
    • Cuyahoga
    • Geauga
    • Lake
    • Lorain
    • Medina
    • Portage
    • Summit

Registering the Purchased Vehicle

After you have finished filling out the title application, you register the vehicle. You’ll also have to do this in person at a deputy registrar license agency. You bring your title, proof of insurance, and driver’s license. If you live in one of the counties that requires an emissions inspection, you have the option of registering the vehicle for more than one year at a time.

Submitting Payment

The registration fee is $31 for passenger vehicles.

 Family Car Buyers: Ohio Title Transfer Buyer Instructions

Ohio BMV: Vehicle Registrations

Ohio BMV: Vehicle Titles

Ohio Department of Taxation: Tax Rates & Changes

Last Verified:
Mar 30, 2023