Ohio Real Estate Practices

Attorney Involvement

Please describe any requirements under applicable state law for attorney, abstractor or other special professional involvement, for example, in the search, examination, opinion of title, signing, closing, disbursement, recording, preparation of documents, and/or policy-issuance.

An attorney licensed to practice law in Ohio must prepare deeds, powers of attorney, and other instruments that are to be recorded.   One exception is that a party to the transaction may prepare an instrument in which they are a party.  General closing documents that will not be recorded can be prepared by a non-attorney provided they are not contractual in nature.  For instance, only attorneys can prepare sales agreements, with the exception that realtors in Ohio may also prepare sales agreements.  A non-attorney can prepare a document that will be recorded, if that document is self-prepared for the preparer’s benefit (for instance, a power of attorney) and does not affect the rights of others.  A deed could likewise be self-prepared in a situation where it is from grantor to grantor’s trust or LLC.

All documents to be recorded must be prepared by an attorney other than the limited exceptions discussed above. 

A non-attorney may perform searches and examinations, sign documents, close transactions and disburse escrow funds. 


A non-attorney may not render an opinion of title. 

Cancellation/Commitment Fee

Does your state permit or require a cancellation fee or commitment fee upon cancellation?

A cancellation fee is permitted to be charged only if the transaction for which the commitment was issued is completed and no insurance is purchased.

Certificate of Release (of Mortgage)

If anyone other than the lender (such as a title agent, settlement agent, underwriter or attorney) has the authority to release the security instrument, please describe.

Only a lender has the authority to release a security instrument. The lender or lender’s counsel prepares the release.


Please describe the kinds of deeds that are customary for commercial and residential transactions.  Please describe the kinds of deeds that are generally not insurable.

All deeds are insurable.  Customarily, a general warranty deed is used in both residential and commercial transactions.

Good Funds Requirements

Is there a good funds requirement in your state?

Yes, Ohio Code 1349.20 to 1349.22 (9-4-19)

Joinder of Spouses

If a non-title holding spouse is required to join in the execution of a deed or a security instrument, please describe.  Any analogous rights, such as those in a civil union or equivalent, should also be addressed.  

Non-title holding spouses are required to release dower interest in a deed of conveyance or a mortgage deed.   Spouse cannot release or waive dower, except by joinder in such instrument. 

Civil unions are not recognized in Ohio.

Mortgage Tax

Is there a mortgage tax in your state?  If yes, is it uniform across the state or does it vary?  If it is uniform, please describe.  


Payment Customs

Who customarily pays for:

(a) Owner’s Policy?
(b) Transfer Tax & Recording Fee?
(c) Survey Charges?
(d) Closing/Settlement Fees?

(a) Owner’s policy: Varies throughout the state.  Subject to the terms of the sales contract.
(b) Transfer tax: Seller; Recording fee: Buyer  
(c) Survey charges: Buyer
(d) Closing/settlement charges: Both parties.

Policy Countersignatures

What kinds of countersignatures, if any, are required to issue the policy? 

Only a duly licensed and appointed issuing agent may sign a policy. 

The issuing agent does not need to be an Ohio resident, but must be licensed by the Ohio Department of Insurance.

Real Estate Taxes

Please describe the general tax year, due dates, and delinquency dates, including lien dates and payment cycle.

Taxes are paid a year in arrears, and in semi-annual installments.  Due dates vary from county to county, but are generally due in January and June. 

Lien dates and delinquency dates can vary in each of the 88 counties; however, a majority of the counties set the semi-annual due dates sometime in January and June. 

The tax statutes are extensive, and found generally in Revised Code Chapters 5713 and 5721. 

Please consult with a local underwriter for information relating to real estate taxes on the subject property.

Search and Examination Fees

Is it permissible and/or customary to charge a separate search and/or examination fee, and under what circumstances?  If your jurisdiction is all-inclusive, please state that.

It is customary to charge a separate search and exam fee.  The amount of such charges is determined by the issuing agent, and the amount varies depending on which area of the state the property is situated.

Search Requirements

Is there a minimum period of time for a title search required: (a) by state law, (b) pursuant to marketable record title acts, or (c) by any other applicable title examination standards (e.g., state bar association)?  Please respond to each category.  If a minimum search period exists for any category, please state it.

Marketable Title requires a search of at least 40 years from root of title, as set forth in Revised Code Sections 5301.47 et seq. 

Ohio Standards of Title Examination as promulgated by the Ohio State Bar Association likewise refer to ORC 5301.47 et seq.

Security Instruments (Deed of Trust vs. Mortgage)

Please describe the customary and permissible form(s) of security instruments used in your state. 

Who can be listed as the trustee on the Deed of Trust (e.g., residency and/or natural person requirements, etc.)? Can an underwriter or title agent be designated as the trustee, and, if so, is it customary?

Ohio is a Mortgage Deed jurisdiction.

Standard Exceptions and Requirements

Please identify the standard exceptions and requirements that are customarily used in your state.

Stewart standard exceptions are used in Ohio:

Rights or claims of parties in possession not recorded in the Public Records.

Easements or claims of easements not recorded in the Public Records.

Any discrepancies, conflicts or shortages in area or boundary lines, or any encroachments or protrusions, or any overlapping of the improvements.

Any lien, or right to a lien, for services, labor, material or equipment, heretofore or hereafter furnished, imposed by law and not recorded in the Public Records.

Taxes or assessments which are not recorded as existing liens in the Public Records.

State-specific Policy Variations

If there are state-specific changes to the provisions in the ALTA policies (e.g., Arbitration, Minerals), please describe.

Ohio has state specific forms that are promulgated by the Ohio Title Insurance Rating Bureau.   Since many of the "built in" coverages of the various policies are rated endorsements/coverages, these are made optional through a "check the box" inclusion.

Title Insurance Form and Filing Regulations

Please describe the form and/or rate filing requirements, if any, related to policies and endorsements.  Please describe any applicable rating bureau. 

Forms are filed through the Ohio Title Insurance Rating Bureau. www.otirb.com is the link to the Rating Bureau; the manual is available on the website.

Transfer Taxes

Is there a transfer tax in your state? If yes, is it uniform across the state or does it vary?  If it is uniform, please describe.

Transfer taxes are collected throughout the state.   The amount varies by county, and may be anywhere from $1.00 per $1000.00 of value transferred to $4.00 per $1000.00 of value transferred.


Is usury coverage available?

Yes, usury coverage is available.

Generally, usury coverage is available only on loans in excess of $100,000.00 or business loans.
The Ohio’s usury law link is: http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/1343.01

Withholding Taxes

What are your state’s requirements, if any, with regard to withholding proceeds from a sale, similar to but not including FIRPTA?

There are no separate withholding requirements on the state level.

Witness Requirements

Are witnesses required on a deed or security instrument?  If so, please describe.

Witnesses are no longer required.