Paperwork When Buying a Car in Ohio

Paperwork Required to Buy a Car in Ohio

When buying a car in Ohio, you will need to ensure the seller provides you with certain documents in order to get the car signed over to you and registered in your name with the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV).

If you buy a car from a dealership, they'll usually handle this paperwork for you.

Read below for more information about the paperwork required when buying a car in Ohio.

Title Paperwork for Ohio Car Buyers

You'll need several documents from the seller to transfer ownership to you and get the car registered. Be sure the seller gives you:

  • The vehicle title, which must:
    • Be signed by all owners listed on the title.
    • Notarized.
    • List the purchase price of the vehicle. If it doesn't, you'll need a bill of sale instead.
  • The Odometer Disclosure Statement (Form BMV 3724).
  • A bill of sale IF:
    • You buy the car from a dealer.
    • You buy the car from a private seller AND the purchase price is NOT listed on the title certificate.

You must take the title to your Ohio county clerk's office to have it titled within 30 days from the date of purchase. The title fee is $15, and you'll have to pay sales tax on the vehicle purchase price.

See our Title Transfers in Ohio page for more information.

Missing Title

You should NOT buy a car without the title certificate. If the vehicle title is missing, the seller should apply for a duplicate title from the county where the car was originally titled.

OH Vehicle Registration Paperwork

Once the vehicle is correctly titled, you can transfer your registration and license plates or apply for a new vehicle registration in person at your local Ohio BMV office.

You will need the following documents:

  • Vehicle title.
  • Odometer Disclosure Statement (Form BMV 3724).
  • Bill of sale, if applicable.
  • Registration fees:
    • $31 for a passenger car.
      • Fees vary for trucks, motorcycles, and other vehicles.
    • Transfer fee is $6 if you are transferring car registration and license plates.

NOTE: If you will register the car in an e-check county, you must also have documentation of a valid Ohio EPA emissions check before you register it.

You will receive a new license plate from the Ohio BMV unless you transferred your previous plates.

For more information, see our Register a Car in Ohio page.

Vehicle History Reports

Buying a car can be stressful, and you might not feel completely prepared to make such a big decision.

The more you know about the car you're planning to buy, the better prepared you'll probably feel. A vehicle history report gives you a clear picture of the car's past, helping you avoid unpleasant and costly surprises.

A vehicle history report isn't required to buy a car, but most dealerships provide them. If you buy from a private seller, you can order a report yourself.

The report gives you important vehicle information, including:

  • Accident history.
  • Damage history.
  • Odometer estimate.

These details allow you to make an informed decision about your vehicle purchase and avoid problem vehicles or misleading sellers.


BMV 3724
Odometer Disclosure Statement
Fill out this form to report the amount of miles on a vehicle you plan to transfer the ownership of.
DMV.ORG BBB Business Review