How to Sell a Car in Ohio

Perhaps, selling a car in Ohio is different from that of other states. In this regard, this article explains how to sell a car in Ohio. The difference is apparently due to the slight or huge law differences between Ohio and other states.

how to sell a car in Ohio

To sell a car in Ohio, prepare the car, paperwork, title, and disclose the odometer. Write a bill of sale, allow the Ohioan or out-of-state buyer to test drive the car before you sign the back of the title to transfer ownership. The title must be notarized before you sign it.

The processes can be quite hectic, starting from setting up the vehicle for sale to being careful not to get scammed. Of course, you can include lowballing in the list.

How to Sell a Car in Ohio

In this section, you will see the whole procedure you must follow to sell a car in Ohio:

  1. Prepare the car

Of course, Ohioans and most other out-of-state buyers typically pay attention to detail before investing the money. You want to impress the buyer, get them to feel they are getting the best deal.

Begin this by amending minor and major damages. You will also need the receipts as proof of maintenance. Look for dents and get rid of them. This will be necessary during your Ohio emission inspection if you have not already completed one recently.

  1. Prepare the vehicle paperwork

Your next step is to gather the paperwork, these include the car title, bill of sale, maintenance records (the buyer needs them), and Ohio emission inspection report.

Note that it is typical for the buyer to request a valid Ohio emission inspection report. With a valid test certificate, the buyer of your car can register and put the vehicle in their name without additional inspection. Nonetheless, here are some illegal ways to pass the emission test.

In Ohio, vehicles from 4 through 25 years old in seven counties must pass the emission test every 2 years. Each inspection certificate is valid for 1 year from the test date, notwithstanding changes in vehicle ownership.

  1. Ready the vehicle title

The vehicle title is very important when selling a car in Ohio like in other states. A title shows ownership and every buyer wants to be sure they are not buying either a stolen or totaled vehicle. They will always check the vehicle history, so you do not want a bad record.

Also, if you financed the car, you must get rid of the lien name. Get the lienholder to remove the lien so that you can sell the car. If you have a problem paying off your debt, you can discuss it with your lender and the buyer.

If the car has a bond on it, you can follow these steps to get rid of the bond. A bonded title could mean that there is no previous owner, this is typical as a result of curbstoners or people who flip cars for the most profit.

  1. Disclose the odometer

When selling a car in Ohio, you must disclose its mileage when transferring ownership. You can request an Odometer Disclosure Statement form BMV 3724 from the Ohio BMV.

You must not include ‘tenths’ from the odometer reading. The NHTSA’s (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) updated odometer disclosure requirements state that a vehicle (the model year 2011 or newer) transfer from January 2021 through December 2030 requires an odometer disclosure.

From 2031, vehicles less than 20 model years old must present odometer disclosure. The NHTSA previously required disclosure for only the first 10 years. In Ohio, a vehicle older than 2010 is exempt from odometer disclosure.

  1. Write a bill of sale

A bill of sale does not show legitimate ownership, even the Ohio BMV does not mandatorily require a copy. However, it can be helpful for the seller and the buyer if problems arise when the new owner visits their local DMV to transfer the title or register the vehicle in their name.

It is also advisable to notarize your bill of sale, but this does not still prove legitimate ownership of the vehicle.

  1. Let the buyer test drive

No buyer wants a bad purchase, so you have to allow them to test drive the car. Some buyers will arrive with their mechanic or even an inspection agency to check if the vehicle is in good condition.

How do I sell my car privately in Ohio

If there are problems with the vehicle, you want to inform the buyer. Of course, it is better for the buyer to be aware of any problem in the vehicle before they contact you for a test drive.

The seller or whoever is test driving your vehicle in Ohio must present their driver’s license. Be careful because someone may be able to forge a fake driver’s license.

You do not want to lose sight of your vehicle during the test drive. You can ride in the car with the buyer or collect up to 50% of the agreed vehicle value. Do not transfer the title yet.

  1. Transfer the car title

You have to notarize and transfer the car title when selling a car in Ohio. If your title is lost, stolen, or damaged, you can request a replacement title at your local BMV.

If the owner of the vehicle passed away, you can still transfer the title but you have to contact the BMV to file special forms to transfer the title, including the death certificate. The spouse of the deceased can also transfer the title into their name and then proceed to sign it over.

If you have no title at all for the car, you may have to obtain a bonded title. Otherwise, you will sell the car without a title. In this case, you are selling it with an open title. Another name for this type of title is a ‘washed title’ which is illegal.

An open or a washed car title is usually considered to be involved in a crime or the previous owners attempted to avoid paying sales tax.

The buyer and the seller have to fill the ‘Assignment of Ownership’ at the back of the title to transfer the title ownership.

The details include the vehicle purchase price, buyers’ information, date of sale/transfer, current odometer mileage, and then both signatures. This must be done in the presence of the notary.

If there is more than one owner of the vehicle, including a cosigner, both parties must sign the title. Meanwhile, you can follow these steps to remove a cosigner. Also, if more than one person is buying the car, both signatures must appear on the title.

  1. Remove your license plates

In Ohio, you keep your license plate, the buyer does not go with it. If you do not transfer the license plates to another car registered in your name, you have to cancel the plates with Ohio BMV using Customer Request to Cancel Vehicle Registration (Form BMV 4311).

Canceling your Ohio license plates means that you are no longer liable for them. You can return them to Ohio BMV or request to keep them.

If you give your license plates to the buyer, you are responsible for whatever they do with it. Suppose the rack parking fines with the license plate, you will be responsible for the cost. Nonetheless, you may be able to prove that you sold the car to them to avoid the charges.

  1. Cancel your insurance

After selling the car, contact your insurance company to cancel your coverage. If you have other subscriptions on the vehicle, make sure you cancel them or inform the institution that you no longer own the car.


Do both parties have to be present to transfer a car title in Ohio?

Both parties (buyer and seller) do not have to be present to transfer a car title in Ohio. However, both parties must sign the title. The buyer contacts Ohio BMV or their state’s DMV to submit the title alongside other paperwork like the bill of sale and their valid photo ID.

Do you need a bill of sale to sell a car in Ohio?

You do not legally need a bill of sale to sell a car in Ohio. However, you need one for tax purposes and in the case of vehicle registration problems. The seller may also keep a copy of the bill of sale.

Can I transfer a title online in Ohio?

You cannot transfer a title online in Ohio. The buyer visits the nearest Ohio BMV or their state’s DMV to complete the title transfer into their name.

Do you have to have a title notarized in Ohio?

Your Ohio title must be notarized. The seller(s) and buyer(s) must not sign the title until they are with a Notary Public. The seller signs the back of the car title where it is marked Transferor’s/Seller’s Signature.

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Bernard Juchli

Bernard Juchli is an experienced racer, mechanic and team owner who trusts Avon Tyres.Bernard is the lead driver and force behind his Big Dog Garage Race Team. He is the General Manager and Chief Mechanic of Jay Leno’s Garage. Bernard and his crew of seven are responsible for all repairs, restoration and fabrication of Jay’s incredible automobile and motorcycle collection.

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