General Buying Information

How to Transfer a Car Title


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The process of trying to transfer a car title is an easy one that varies slightly from state to state. Local regulations should be followed when transferring a car title, but the basic process is similar for each state. Most states list the locations where the title can be transferred on their web sites along with what you will need in order to complete the sale of your vehicle. It should be noted that the law requires you to transfer the title of your vehicle within a certain amount of time after a sale. This time varies from state to state.

In order to transfer your title, the first thing you need to do is make sure that all the liens on the vehicle have been released. Paying off the vehicle will release the lien, and the bank will send you a letter of release. Next, you will need a few things including the car's VIN, the odometer reading, a bill of sale and your copy of the title with proof that it has been signed over to you.

After selling or giving away the vehicle, you need to fill out the title itself. At the bottom there should be a section called "Transfer of title by seller." Here, you enter the buyer's name. It is important that the name be the same as that listed on the buyer's driver's license. Fill out the selling price. If the vehicle is a gift you should indicate that here. Check the box with the odometer reading being the actual reading. This box indicates that the odometer has not rolled over. If it actually has, do not check this box. Enter the mileage of the vehicle in the odometer section. Once that is done you should fill out the date sold, print your name as it appears on your driver's license and finally sign where indicated.

If the buyer is present at the time of transfer, they can remove this portion of the paperwork and send it in, or take it to their local department of motor vehicles to register the vehicle in their name. Your part should be done, but it never hurts to contact the seller at a later date to ensure they have transferred the title to their name. Failing to transfer the title could lead to problems for you down the road as the vehicle is still in your name until they submit their paperwork.

You can mail your paperwork to the state to indicate the sale of the vehicle and many states allow you to do this online. By doing this you protect yourself if the buyer fails to register the vehicle in their name. It is always best to go with the buyer to the DMV to transfer the title together at the time of sale. This ensures all the proper paperwork is done, leaving you with nothing to worry about.

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