How To Transfer A Car Title?

Are you thinking about transferring a car title? This article will cover all that you need to know regarding the process. Keep on reading to find out.

Quite possibly one of the main documents you own is the title of your car. Car titles are important — especially concerning purchasing or selling a car. Your title is a complete verification and proof of the fact that you own your car and are legally entitled to sell it. Titles are regularly transferred when a vehicle is purchased or sold, yet there are other circumstances as well, for example, a name change because of marriage or divorce, which also requires a title transfer.

At the point when you sell your car, the title should be legally transferred to the new owner, so that the individual can finish the registration cycle. If you are purchasing or selling a car, transferring the car’s title is quite possibly the main step. Since the document is the legal verification of who really possesses the car, so it is critical to have and keep it in a protected place.

The car’s title, in some cases, called the “pink slip,” is not generally pink any longer. Notwithstanding its color, the title is given by your state’s department of motor vehicles. Beyond showing who possesses the car, the title likewise incorporates the vehicle identification number, the mileage at the hour of the offer, and what type of car it is. Regardless of whether you are the purchaser or the seller, this is what you need to know about how to transfer a car title.

How does a car title transfer work?

Transferring a car title has two stages, one for the seller and one for the purchaser. Firstly, the seller needs to deliver ownership of the car by signing the title. The purchaser then takes the signed title to the DMV, and the state gives another registration and title. A few states may require extra administrative work to finish the process, for example, a bill of sale or a transfer of ownership form.

At the point when you are purchasing another car, a dealer handles the desk work, and you for the most part get the vehicle title from your state’s DMV via the post office. However, when private parties purchase or sell cars, it is dependent upon them to transfer the title. States may likewise require the dealer to give fundamental information about the car, for example, the sales price and the current odometer reading. Prior to signing the title, check with your state’s DMV to find the proper line on which to sign and how to supply the right information.

A simple car title transfer

Transferring a car title is generally pretty direct. The seller will deliver their ownership of the vehicle by signing the existing car title. Contingent upon the state that you are in, you might be asked to provide extra information. That may incorporate the car’s odometer reading, the purchaser’s name, and contact information, the sale price, or other subtleties. In the event that the car is titled in two individuals’ names, they are both needed to sign the title. In certain states, the signatures should be witnessed by a legal official, so you will need to keep your state’s standards in mind before signing the title. When the owner (or owners) of the car have signed the title, the purchaser can take it to the proper state office, such as the department of motor vehicles, to have another title issued in their name.

More complicated scenarios in a car title transfer

There are a few circumstances wherein it is somewhat more complicated to transfer a car title. If you have a car loan, your lender may be holding the car’s title. In case you are hoping to sell your car, most states will expect you to likewise provide a lender affidavit. This shows that the lender knows about the change in ownership. Much of the time, the lender will expect you to take care of the current loan in full before you can transfer the car title.

Another situation to know about is what happens after you sign the title and offer it to the new owner. Until the purchaser takes title to the car in their name, you are still legally responsible for it. Thus, it is often suggested that the seller goes with the purchaser to the title office. That way, you can ensure that the purchaser places the title in their own name.

One exemption for this may be if you are offering your car to a dealership (like exchanging your old car when purchasing another one). The principles fluctuate from state to state, however, by and large, the dealer will not really take the title in their name. All things considered, they will have you sign the title, then hold on to it until it can be prepared in the name of the end purchaser. Most states have a time limit, like 30 or 45 days, in which the new purchaser should apply for a title.

What do you need to bring to the title office?

The requirements for a car title transfer vary from one state to another, and often by the municipality. The office that manages car titles is called different names in different states. Some common examples are the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), the Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV), or the state/county Title Office. To transfer a car title into their name, purchasers may need to provide:

  • Additional information about the car
  • Bill of sale/sale price
  • Fees for the title transfer and/or sales tax on the vehicle sale

To save yourself an extra trip, it is best if you call or go online to confirm what documents you will need before you go.

How to transfer a car title?

The process of transferring a car title differs from state to state. The American Automobile Association has a convenient list of title transfer laws by state, but on the other hand, it is a smart idea to visit your local DMV or transportation office website to confirm what requirements are necessary where you reside. However, the way you generally start the cycle can rely upon how you approach the selling of your car, regardless of whether to a private party or to a dealer either for cash or as a trade-in.

  • If a private seller buys your car: You will be required to fill out a title certificate, which should include listing the odometer reading, revealing any damage, and signing your name.
  • If you have a loan on your car: In this case, your lender may hold the title, and you would have to contact them about the next steps. Usually, once the loan is paid off, the title will b sent to you by the bank. After this, the bank will most probably need to send your state’s transportation agency (like the Department of Motor Vehicles) a letter indicating that the loan has been paid and that the lien is satisfied.

Whose name is listed?

For the dealer, the initial step is to take a look at how your name is recorded on the car’s title. If your name alone is printed on the title, this implies that you are the only proprietor and can undoubtedly transfer possession.

However, if there is also a bank or a lender’s name on the title (alluded to as a “lienholder”), this implies that you have a car loan that must be settled before you can sell. This makes things a little complex. Nevertheless, it is still possible to sell your car. Call your lender and ask how to sell a car that has a loan and how the transaction ought to be handled.

Much of the time, a car is owned mutually by two individuals, for instance, a married couple. For this situation, there are two different ways the vehicle title can be written. The two names may have an “and” or an “or” between them. Usually, “and” implies that both the parties need to sign the title to transfer ownership; “or” implies that either individual can sign the title.

Signing and transferring a car title

You will need the physical title document to transfer a car title to the new owner. After that, you will be required to:

  • Sign the release. As the seller, to release ownership of the vehicle, you will need to sign as is stated on the title. Make sure that all previous owners have also signed. There is a possibility that your signature may need to be notarized. Therefore, thoroughly check the requirements for your state. Fill in the date of purchase and the price you are selling the car for.
  • Transfer ownership. For the transfer of the ownership to be complete, the buyer is also required to fill out an application for a title with their state’s transportation agency. Moreover, the buyer might also need to get a safety and/or emissions certificate. The new buyer usually has a limited amount of time to transfer the title to their name. For instance, in Washington state, the title transfer needs to be completed within 15 days, or else, the buyer may be charged extra fees.

Other required paperwork

Much of the time, whenever you have filled out the title with the proper data, you will likewise require a bill of sale that lists the sale price of your vehicle, alongside the purchaser’s title application. Each party can mail their paperwork to the suitable transportation agency office. However, it will be quicker in the event that you file and record the paperwork face to face. If you sell your car to a dealership, dealers are not needed to change the title to the dealer’s name in certain states — so the vehicle actually stays in your name until a private person buys it. In such cases, you may have to file a Vehicle Transfer Notification form with your state’s DMV showing that you have sold the vehicle to a dealer.

Avoid delays

Visit your state’s DMV website before you sell your car to make sure what documents are necessary, where to sign the title, and how to deal with numerous proprietors. The process will be slowed down in the event that you commit an error, like signing on the incorrect line, or if you attempt to erase something from the title. Possibly you will have to file a second form, indicating that you made an error, or you may have to apply for another title from the DMV before the sale can be finished up.

Buyer’s next steps

After the title is appropriately endorsed by the seller, the purchaser should register the car in the new proprietor’s name. In certain states, the application for another title and enrollment is on the back of the old title. In different cases, you may need to download a transfer of ownership dorm from the website of your state’s DMV. Normally, a temporary registration is given when the title and the required forms have been submitted to the DMV. A new title, in the new owner’s name, will be sent later via mail.

Can I sign a title over to someone?

In basic circumstances where things are much simpler, you own the vehicle outright, and you wish to transfer proprietorship to another person, all you should do is finish a title certificate. Whenever you have filled it out and signed the certificate, the purchaser or beneficiary can take the title to a nearby DMV office and officially transfer the possession. The steps the purchaser or beneficiary should follow will fluctuate from one state to another, however, it is typically a simple and direct cycle.

Can you switch a title over online?

In most situations, you will be asked to either file your paperwork in person at the state’s DMV or mail it. The state of California permits residents to begin the process online at, however, you will still be required to mail the paperwork.

How to transfer a car title to a family member?

Be it an inheritance, a gift, or the car of a deceased family member, transferring the title is of utmost priority. It is a fundamental step, and not doing so will make you and your family vulnerable to legal complications. Each state has its own process of transferring the car title. You can get the subtleties of the process from the Department of Motor Vehicle. Before you start with documentation, you should visit your state’s DMV to better understand the complete rules and regulations.

In any event, while transferring car title to a family member, most if not all the same vehicle title transfer methods and guidelines apply. Normally, the beneficiary would not need to pay sales tax on the vehicle. Before you settle on your final decision about transferring your car, ensure that the recipient is a legal one. Individuals who are legally viewed as immediate family members are qualified for a family car title transfer. Therefore, parents, spouses, children, grandparents, grandkids, and siblings, are considered to be eligible. The rest of the title transferring process is the same as in purchasing or selling a car.

Exact documentation is necessary for a consistent and unobstructed process of title transfer. You should gather all the important records that you would have to show at the time of the transfer. You should carefully prepare each one of the documents to erase any confusion during the cycle.

Ensure you have each of the following documents at the hour of the car title transfer:

Step 1: Odometer Disclosure Statement

The initial step in transferring the car title is to take the odometer reading. It is part of the Assignment title document. However, if the car is less than 10 years old, you will be required to give an odometer disclosure statement.

Step 2: Assignment of Title

The following step is to fill the ‘Task of Title’. It has two separate segments, one for the proprietor and the other one for the beneficiary. The document should contain the date of the transfer. Usually, you should mention the odometer reading statement, except if you fit the bill for the odometer disclosure statement. Check with your local DMV to understand what the qualifications are. The signed title must be shown at the time of transfer.

Step 3: Application of Certificate of Title

The Application of Certificate of Title is another important document that you are needed to present at the time of title transfer. If the recipient is required to pay the $10 gift tax, you must show it on the document.

Step 4: Affidavit of Motor Vehicle Gift Transfer

You will also have to give an affidavit of motor vehicle gift transfer when filing for title transfer. Make sure that you have carefully filled out all these documents and have mentioned only the authentic details. Apart from these documents, you will have to pay a title transfer fee, which is different in different states.

We have already established that the requirements for transferring a car title to a family member changes from one state to another. However, as an example, let us look at the state of Connecticut. If you are registering a vehicle that has already been registered and titled to an immediate family member (mother, father, wife, husband, civil union partner, daughter, son, sister, brother), you need to make an appointment at a DMV office and provide the following:

  • Connecticut Certificate of Title shows the assignment of ownership and the release of all liens (if any). Vehicles with a model year more than 20 years before the current year do not need a title. In such a situation, you can use a Supplemental Assignment of Ownership form (Form Q-1). You would be designated as the buyer, and your immediate family member designated as the seller.
  • If available, provide the old registration certificate.
  • Provide a current Connecticut Insurance Card, in your name, for the vehicle.
  • The completed Application for Registration and Title (form H-13B). The form can be downloaded and filled online. Make sure to print it and bring the printed version with you. You would be designated as the buyer, and your immediate family member designated as the seller.
  • Identification is needed to register a vehicle. Make sure that you look at the list of Acceptable Forms of Identification.
  • A permission letter from the immediate family member is also needed to keep the same license plates.

How to transfer a car title to someone in another state?

At the point when you are transferring your vehicle title to somebody who lives in a similar state as you, the process is genuinely simple. Both purchaser and seller essentially need to adhere to the state’s principles and guidelines. In any case, in situations where the purchaser is situated out of state, there are typically a couple of more loops to hop through, for example, giving and checking your vehicle identification number (VIN). This is done to prevent car theft and fraud, so while the process can be somewhat tiring, keep in mind that it is there to protect you.

To do this, the vehicle proprietor should initially submit a title release form to their lien holder. The lien holder will then, at that point, mail the title to the candidate’s new state DMV. After the title is received, the DMV will speak with the applicant and guide them through the following stages. To make the process as smooth as could be expected, it is suggested that the loan is paid off before the title transfer. In the case of a rented vehicle, the driver will undoubtedly be needed to get power of attorney from their leasing agency before applying for a title transfer.

If all else fails, you can directly consult your DMV office, since laws differ from one state to another. With online transfers or other transfers in which you do not really handle the purchaser or recipient up close and personal, you may have to contact the DMV in the state where the purchaser or recipient resides, or go through a trusted third-party site that handles online vehicle title transfers.

Purchasing a car with a lien

In case you are financing — either because there is still a lien on the vehicle from the first purchase or because you applied for a loan to pay the seller — the lienholder should be added to the title. You can do this without anyone’s help, or you can have the DMV deal with it. Keep in mind, you additionally need to make sure that your insurance organization knows when you buy a car, particularly on the off chance that it has a lien on it, as it can have a huge effect on your insurance rates.

The seller ought to give you the proper monetary data expected to complete the transfer. Therefore, the seller must provide you with appropriate contact information, so you can stay in touch with the person in question all through the purchasing cycle. In the event that you have extra inquiries on the vehicle title transfer process or are searching for data specific to your state, each state’s Bureau of Motor Vehicles website will give you all the information you need.

How much does a car title transfer cost?

With practically any vehicle title transfer, there will be a few expenses included. In any case, these costs, which are usually ostensible, change from one state to another and from one situation to another. For instance, in certain states, you could pay just $8 or as much as $25 to legally transfer the title. Notwithstanding, if you are transferring the title to a family member, make sure to check your state’s laws. On certain occasions, you might be qualified for a reduced expense or even exempted from charges when this is the situation.

As mentioned previously, the expense to transfer your title changes from state to state, however, here are a couple of examples: Alaska and Michigan charge a $15 to $16 charge, while Minnesota charges about $8 and Connecticut charges $25. There may likewise be a sales tax. Moreover, in certain states, transferring a title between immediate family members may diminish the fee or absolved you from taxes.

Challenges with car title transfers

In case you are purchasing or selling a car out of state or if you cannot track down your original title, you may need to go through a couple of more steps to the title transfer process. For out-of-state plates, you may have to confirm the vehicle’s identification number or VIN — and the expenses might be slightly different. On the off chance that you cannot find your current title, most states permit you to request a copy.

However, that will once more presumably cost an extra fee. Remember that if the car title is not properly transferred to the purchaser’s name, contingent upon the state, you might be considered answerable for any expenses or violations related to the car, for instance, tolls, tickets, etc. The state of Texas suggests going with the purchaser to the DMV to ensure that the car title is recorded appropriately.


To transfer a car title, the seller needs to sign the title and round out any necessary data. The purchaser would then be able to take the signed title to the proper government office to transfer the car title into their name. Assuming that there is a lien on the vehicle, the lender will also be required to sign an affidavit. Now that you have all your affairs together, you are prepared to make a beeline for your local transportation agency with the appropriate paperwork to ensure that you have legally and appropriately transferred your car to its new proprietor. Transferring a car title is not hard, however, since it is an essential legal document, certain steps and procedures should be completed to make sure that the transfer is legally substantial.

Charles Bains

Charles Bains

Charles Bains started his insurance career as a marketing intern before pounding the pavement as a commercial lines agent in Orlando, FL. As an industry journalist, his articles have appeared in a variety of trade publications. His insurance television career, short-lived but glorious, once saw him serve as the expert adviser on an insurance-themed infomercial (yes, you read that correctly). Having recently worked for various organizations, coupled with his broader insurance knowledge, Charles is able to understand our client’s needs and guide them accordingly. He is a gem for Insurance Noon as his wide area of expertise and experience have been beneficial in conducting further researches to come up with solutions and writing them in a manner which is easy for everyone including beginners to comprehend.

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