Ohio law requires deeds transferring real estate to satisfy state deed-formatting standards and include specific information specified by statute.
Formatting Requirements for Ohio Deeds
- Paper Size. Ohio deeds must be printed on paper no smaller than 8 ½ x 11 inches (standard letter size) and no larger than 8 ½ x 14 inches (legal size).1
- Font. The ink used in an Ohio deed must be either black or blue—with no highlighting permitted.2 Text within a deed must be legible and printed with a minimum font size of 10-point.3 The 10-point font requirement is inapplicable to signatures, initials, notary stamps, and seals.4
- Clarity. An Ohio deed must be printed with sufficient clarity to allow reproduction of legible copies by photographic or microphotographic processes.5
- Margins. The top margin of a deed’s first page must measure three (3) inches to allow space for the recorder’s stamp and any applicable officials’ endorsements. The top margin of subsequent pages must measure one and one-half (1½) inches. All other margins within the document must measure one (1) inch.6
Content Requirements for Ohio Deeds
- English Language. Ohio deeds must be written exclusively in English or—if a deed includes a language other than English—accompanied by a complete, certified translation recorded with the deed.7 The certification attests to the translation’s accuracy and the translator’s competence to prepare the translation. The translator must sign the certification before a notary.
- Parties. A deed must identify by name the current owner of the real estate—the grantor—and the new owner—the grantee. A deed must include the new owner’s address where the county treasurer or other local government office should send property tax statements.8
- Personal Information. A deed submitted for recording in Ohio cannot include any individual’s personal information—such as Social Security number.9 Any personal information must be redacted prior to filing. An individual can consent to the inclusion of personal information by executing an affidavit indicating such consent.10
- Conveyance Statement. An Ohio deed must indicate that the deed transfers real estate from the current owner to the new owner. The word grants—as in, the current owner grants the property to the new owner—is typically used in Ohio deeds.11
- Legal Description of Real Estate. An Ohio deed must include an accurate legal description of the real estate the deed transfers.12 A legal description should identify by volume-and-page number the deed or other recorded instrument through which the current owner claims title.13 Ohio deeds customarily include a property’s street address and tax parcel ID number immediately beneath the legal description. Some counties require the street address and tax ID number.
- Preparer’s Name. An Ohio deed must identify the person responsible for preparing the deed.14 The preparer’s name must be legibly printed, typewritten, stamped, or signed within the deed. Ohio’s statute suggests the phrase “This instrument was prepared by (preparer’s name)” to identify the preparer.
- Surveyor. When an Ohio deed conveys real estate that was surveyed, the deed must state the surveyor’s name.15
Execution Requirements for Ohio Deeds
- Signature. The current owner or owners of the transferred real estate must sign an Ohio deed.16 Signatures must be legible, or—if a signature is illegible—the signing individual’s name must be printed, typewritten, or stamped immediately below the signature.17
- Spouse’s Release of Dower Rights. If the current owner conveying real estate is married, the owner’s spouse must sign the deed to release the spouse’s dower rights in the real estate.18 Dower is a spouse’s traditional right in property acquired by the other spouse. Dower has been abolished in a majority of states but is still recognized in Ohio.
- Notarization. A notary or other authorized officer must acknowledge signatures within an Ohio deed.19
- Recording. An Ohio deed is recorded in the county recorder’s office of the county in which the real estate is located.20 A recorded deed provides constructive notice of the transfer to future purchasers and creditors.21
Fees for Ohio Deeds
- Recording Fees. The standard fee payable to the county recorder for recording an Ohio deed is $34.00 for the first two pages and $8.00 for each subsequent page—with an additional fee of $4.00 for each necessary marginal notation.22 The recorder’s office charges a non-comformance fee of $20.00 if the recorder accepts for filing a deed that does not comply with Ohio’s paper, font, and margin specifications.23
- Transfer Tax. Ohio assesses a transfer tax—called a conveyance fee—on transfers of Ohio real estate.24 Ohio’s state-level conveyance fee is assessed at a rate of $1.00 for each $1,000.00 of the property’s value, payable to the county auditor. Counties are authorized to impose an additional transfer tax of up to $3.00 per $1,000.00 of value.25
- Real Property Conveyance Fee Statement of Value. The county auditor must approve a deed before it is recorded.26 The property’s new owner obtains the auditor’s stamp by submitting to the auditor a completed Real Property Conveyance Fee Statement of Value (DTE-100).27 Form DTE-100 provides details about the transaction and attests to payment of the conveyance fee or states that the transfer is exempt. If the transfer is exempt, the new owner completes a Statement of Reason for Exemption from Real Property Conveyance Fee (DTE-100EX) in place of form DTE-100.
- Auditor’s Transfer Fee. The county auditor charges a fifty-cent ($0.50) fee for transferring ownership of real estate within the auditor’s records.28
- Engineer’s Stamp. Some Ohio counties require the county engineer’s approval of a deed’s legal description of real estate before the county recorder records the deed. Counties vary as to the circumstances under which an engineer’s stamp is necessary. An Ohio county might—for instance—only require approval if the deed uses a new legal description or subdivides a lot.
Deeds Exempt from Ohio Transfer Tax.
Ohio’s conveyance fee statute sets forth a list of 25 types of deeds that are exempt from the conveyance fee.29 A deed is exempt from Ohio’s conveyance fee if:
- The deed is a transfer to or from a governmental entity;
- The deed is a transfer solely to provide or release security for a debt or obligation;
- The deed confirms or corrects a deed previously executed and recorded or when the owner listed within a public record is a peace officer, parole officer, prosecuting attorney, assistant prosecuting attorney, correctional employee, youth services employee, firefighter, EMT, or investigator of the bureau of criminal identification and investigation and is changing the current owner name to the initials of the current owner as prescribed in O.R.C. §319.28(B)(1);
- The deed evidences a gift—in trust or otherwise and whether revocable or irrevocable—between husband and wife, or parent and child or the spouse of either;
- The deed is in connection with a sale for delinquent taxes or assessments;
- The deed is pursuant to court order, to the extent that such transfer is not the result of a sale effected or completed pursuant to such order;
- The deed is pursuant to a reorganization of corporations or unincorporated associations or pursuant to the dissolution of a corporation, to the extent that the corporation conveys the property to a stockholder as a distribution in kind of the corporation’s assets in exchange for the stockholder’s shares in the dissolved corporation;
- The deed is a transfer by a subsidiary corporation to its parent corporation for no consideration, nominal consideration, or in sole consideration of the cancellation or surrender of the subsidiary’s stock;
- The document is a lease, whether or not it extends to mineral or mineral rights, unless the lease is for a term of years renewable forever;
- The value of the real estate does not exceed one hundred dollars;
- The deed transfers an occupied residential property being transferred to the builder of a new residence when the former residence is traded as part of the consideration for the new residence;
- The deed is a transfer to a new owner solely for the purpose of, and as a step in, the prompt sale of the real estate to others;
- The deed is a transfer to or from a person when no money or other valuable and tangible consideration readily convertible into money is paid or to be paid for the real estate and the transaction is not a gift;
- The deed transfers real estate between spouses or to a surviving spouse as tenants by the entirety, between persons pursuant to a survivorship deed, to a person who is a surviving survivorship tenant, or relates to an application for title registration upon the registered owner’s death;
- The deed is a transfer to a trustee acting on behalf of a deceased person’s minor children;
- The deed conveys an easement or right-of-way when the value of the interest conveyed does not exceed one thousand dollars;
- The deed is a transfer of real estate sold to a surviving spouse pursuant to O.R.C. §2106.16;
- The deed is a transfer to or from a tax-exempt organization—provided such transfer is without consideration and is in furtherance of the charitable or public purposes of such organization;
- The deed transfers real estate among the heirs or devisees, including a surviving spouse, of a deceased person—when no consideration in money is paid or to be paid for the real estate;
- The deed transfers real estate to a trustee of a trust when the grantor of the trust has an unlimited power to revoke the trust;
- The deed transfers real estate from a trustee to a trust’s grantor, when the transfer is made to the grantor pursuant to the grantor’s power to revoke the trust or withdraw assets;
- The deed transfers real estate to beneficiaries of a trust if the conveyance fee was paid when the grantor transferred the property to the trustee or if the transfer is made pursuant to trust provisions that became irrevocable at the grantor’s death;
- The deed transfers real estate to a corporation for use within a sports facility constructed pursuant to O.R.C. §307.696;
- The deed transfers title from the current owner to the current owner and another person jointly pursuant to O.R.C. §5302.18; or
The deed transfers real estate from a county land reutilization corporation or its wholly owned subsidiary to a third party.
- O.R.C. §317.114(A)(2) and (3).
- O.R.C. §317.114(A)(4), and (5).
- O.R.C. §317.114(A)(1).
- O.R.C. §317.114(B)(2).
- O.R.C. §317.112(A).
- O.R.C. §317.114(A)(6-9).
- O.R.C. §317.113.
- O.R.C. §319.20.
- O.R.C. §317.082(B).
- O.R.C. §317.082(C).
- See O.R.C. §5302.03.
- O.R.C. §319.20.
- O.R.C. §5301.011.
- O.R.C. §317.111.
- O.R.C. §5301.25(B).
- O.R.C. §5301.01(A).
- O.R.C. §317.11.
- See O.R.C. §2103.02; O.R.C. §5301.071(A).
- O.R.C. §5301.01(A).
- O.R.C. §5301.25(A); O.R.C. §317.13.
- O.R.C. §5301.01(B)(1)(b).
- O.R.C. §317.32.
- O.R.C. §317.114(B)(1).
- O.R.C. §319.54(G)(3).
- O.R.C. §322.02(A).
- O.R.C. §317.22(A).
- O.R.C. §319.202.
- O.R.C. §319.54(G)(2).
- O.R.C. § 319.54(G)(3)(a) – (y).