How to transfer a car title to the buyer

Selling a vehicle? You must provide the buyer with the title to your car. To make this procedure as simple as possible, read the following.

How to transfer a car title to the buyer
How to transfer a car title to the buyer

State-by-state variations in the procedure for transferring an automobile title, although there are often a few stages involved. You can't simply give it to them.

To complete the process as quickly and painlessly as possible, let's look at how to transfer a vehicle title and potential problems.

Why do you need to transfer a car title, and what is it?

The ownership of an automobile is established through the title. The automobile title is required for the new owner to establish ownership and register the vehicle once it is sold.

How is a car title transferred?

Each state has a somewhat different procedure for transferring an automobile title. It's a good idea to check the website of your local DMV or transportation agency to confirm the requirements in your area. The American Automobile Association also offers a useful list of title transfer rules by state.

However, how you begin the process will often depend on whether you plan to sell your automobile to a dealer or a private party for cash or as a trade-in.

  • If a private party purchases your vehicle, you will need to complete a title certificate, which may require you to state the mileage, disclose any damage, and sign your name.

  • If you owe money on your automobile, your lender could be the one who holds the title. You should talk to them to find out what to do next. The bank will typically provide you with the title when you pay off the debt. The bank will next often need to provide a letter proving loan repayment and lien satisfaction to your state's transportation department (such as the Department of Motor Vehicles).

Transferring a car title after signing it

You'll need the actual title paperwork to transfer ownership of an automobile to the new owner. Then …

  • Publish the release. The vendor will surrender possession of the car when you sign the title as directed. Verify that any prior owners have also signed. Please verify your state's standards, as it may be necessary to get your signature notarized. Indicate the purchase date and asking price for the vehicle.

  • Transfer the title. The buyer will normally have to apply for a title to their state's transportation department to transfer ownership. A safety and/or emissions certificate may also be required from the buyer.

Usually, the new purchaser has a finite window of opportunity to change the title to their name. For instance, in the state of Washington, the title transfer must be finished within 15 days, otherwise, the buyer risked incurring extra costs.

Additional papers needed

The buyer's title application and a bill of sale outlining the sale price of your car are often required once you've completed the title with the necessary information. It will be quicker if you file the documentation in person rather than mailing it to the correct transportation agency office.

Some states do not require dealerships to alter the title when you sell your automobile to them, so the car technically remains in your name until it is purchased by a private party. In certain circumstances, you might need to submit a Vehicle Transfer Notification form to the DMV of your state, proving that you've sold the car to a dealer.

Online transfer of it

Most of the time, you'll have to mail your papers in or present them in person at the state's DMV to file your paperwork.

Californians may begin the process online at, but they still need to send the required papers.

How much does it cost to transfer a car title?

Here are a few instances of title transfer fees, which vary by state: While Minnesota costs roughly $8 and Connecticut charges $25, Alaska and Michigan charge $15 to $16 each. Sales tax can also apply.

In some areas, you may also be free from taxes or have the charge for transferring a title between members of your immediate family reduced.

Car title transfers may provide some difficulties

The title transfer procedure could need a few extra procedures if you're purchasing or selling a car outside your state or if you can't locate your original title.

You might need to confirm the vehicle identifying number, or VIN, for out-of-state license plates, and the costs might be a little different.

Most states let you ask for a copy of your present title if you can't find it. However, there will probably be an extra charge for that.

Remember that, depending on the state, you might be held liable for any fines or offenses related to the automobile, such as tolls, citations, and more, if the title isn't legally transferred to the buyer's name. Texas advises accompanying the buyer to the DMV to make sure the automobile title is filed correctly.

In conclusion

Now that everything is in order, you are prepared to visit your local transportation office with the required documentation to ensure that you have legally and correctly transferred ownership of your vehicle to the new owner.

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