How to Transfer a Car Title

A car title or sometimes called the “pink slip” is simply proof of ownership for the vehicle in question. If say you were to sell your car, then the new owner will take the title and complete the registration process with your authorization. Here’s how to transfer a car title.

How to Transfer a Car Title

How to Sign Over a Car Title

By law in most jurisdictions, you are supposed to transfer the title for your car if you’re selling it to a new buyer, buying a used car, or changing number plates. The car title is issued by the government or state department for motor vehicles (DIV). The document indicates who owned or owns the car, its identification number, type, and the mileage at the time of sale.

It takes two to tango, i.e., the buyer and seller, to transfer the car’s title. Firsts, the seller releases ownership of the vehicle by signing off on the title. The buyer then takes the signed document to the requisite department for motor vehicles, who issue a new title and registration.

If you’re buying a new car, then the dealer typically handles all the paperwork for you. However, where two parties are involved, they have to do it by themselves or rely on an agent. Regardless of which route you take, you will need to provide the necessary information about the car. The info could be details about the car, its sales price, and mileage. Some authorities might require additional paperwork like transfer of ownership form, or a bill of sale to complete the process.

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Information on a Title

The name printed on the title shows who the owner is. If your name gets printed on it, then you are the owner, and it’s your prerogative if you want to sell the vehicle or not.

However, there are certain cases where the name might be missing, or other people are listed there too. For example, if you used your car as collateral for a loan, then you have to settle the debt before selling it. Alternatively, you can call your lender, who will give you options to sell your car, and they can take out their cut before handing over ownership. Most auto lenders are steadfast in helping you get their money back, so that shouldn’t be a big problem. After all, that will bring in more money for them, as they charge you for the service.

The only way to prove that one owns the vehicle is if the title is under their name. If the transfer isn’t done correctly and the buyer already sent the money, then the seller still reserves the right to sell the car to someone else though in bad faith.

In other cases, two can jointly own the car. You can see this with many couples who co-own or share the vehicle. The notation in between the two names can be “and” our “or.” The word used is crucial when selling because an “and” means that the two people who appear on the title must sign off on the title and release ownership of the vehicle. With the “or” notation, either person can sign the title and release the property.

The car title also contains information such as the physical address of the seller, mileage the vehicle had before it changed hands, plate number, its make, year of manufacture, color, and model.

Avoiding Delays

Check with the state’s DIV; they probably have a website. On their site, you will most likely find details of what documents are required, where you need to sign the title, and generally how to go about it. You need to follow the right procedures to conclude the process.

If you make an error, such as signing on the wrong line, you will have to go through multiple routes to get back on track. You might be required to fill more forms, stating the errors you made, and have to apply for another title.

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Records Required By DIV

Different states have different requirements. Nevertheless, there are some standard procedures and forms you will present to most of them, for you to transfer the car’s title.

Bill of sale: In its complete form, this document informs the state that you have willingly sold the vehicle to another party.

Odometer reading: The DIV will need this figure to help determine the value of the vehicle, just like the buyer.

Disclosure of damage: You must be upfront if the car is accident-free or has suffered significant damage before. Keep a record of what it took to repair it. If investigations find that you weren’t honest, then the buyer might hold the seller culpable.

Transfer fees: This shows how much money has changed hands from the buyer to the car’s seller. The two parties can agree on who will pay for the car title transfer fee.

The title or certificate of registration: What this document entails has been explained throughout this article. It contains lots of information like who are the car’s recognized owners and its finer details. Transferring a car’s ownership takes more than just exchanging money for it. The nooks and crannies can be changing the insurance, checking for liens, and more topics we’ll look at shortly.

What You Need To Know on How to Transfer a Car Title

You maybe want to sell your car for whatever reasons you might have. If that were the case, then it would be in your best interest to acquire the knowledge of how to go about it. Evaluate the vehicle’s value, get a buyer, and ensure all the documents are ready. If you don’t do this, the process will be complicated and sluggish.

What is the actual value for the vehicle?

The price of a car is usually subjective in many cases. Many people value their cars too much, and others too little. The real deal is in figuring out how much its real value is. Computing this out is not so easy, but there are some ways to go about it explained below.

Using a price estimator

First, use your intuition and think of how much you believe your car is worth. The figure you set it at should be reasonable and within the price range of vehicles with similar attributes in the market.

You can find estimators in the internet and guides on how to use them to determine the worth of your vehicle. The estimators calculate the local market prices of said vehicles and help you figure out how much a buyer is willing to part with. Most of the estimators collect data from various vehicle transfers and use that information to predict your car’s value. If your estimate was too far off the mean, then adjust it accordingly.

Factors determining the car’s value

Mileage: This figure is essential if you want to learn the price of a vehicle. Everyone from the government, seller, and buyer will request for this figure. The wear and tear of the car go in tandem with the distance it has traveled or mileage. A vehicle used every now and then more valuable than a daily ride.

Cars additional features: Many people have elected to “pimp” their rides, thus adding more value to them. The price can shoot up if the paint job or tires are new and in demand. Some features such as leather upholstery and heated seats are not so common in standard models of vehicles. Adding more and better attributes to the car will likely command a higher price for it.

Model, make, and year: The title of the vehicle and its manual usually contains such information. The car in question can be a 2017 Toyota Corolla, which translates to the year of manufacture, the make, and model. Estimation software requires you to key in this kind of data to make its calculations. Newer models usually cost more, but that’s not always the case as is with vintage models. Some people are looking for old school cars, but don’t let that skew your calculations since prices vary with the buyer.

Car’s condition: A well-maintained vehicle will cost more than a damaged one. Some estimators have even incorporated terms such as “Damaged,” “Average,” or “clean” to factor in those characteristics to the calculations they make.

What Steps Does Follow

After the seller signs off the title, the buyer must register it in their name. In some states, the application for a new title can be on the back of the current title. In others, you have the option of applying for the new title online. In most jurisdictions, a temporary registration gets issued as the DIV goes through the forms. If everything checks out, a new title gets sent to the owner via mail. This, of course, only happens after you have filled the bill of sale, completed the payment, and followed the statutory requirements.

As a buyer, you must ensure that you pay the agreed price. Conversely, the seller must ensure they receive the payment before surrendering the ownership. Don’t do unscrupulous deals such as lowering the cost of the vehicle on the bill of sale to reduce the sales tax. If caught, the law might catch up to you, leading to hefty fines or worse.

How to Transfer a Car Title to a Family Member

You may want to bestow a vehicle upon your family and loved ones. The process you need to go through is similar to what you’d go through if it were you buying or selling a car. The only difference is that your family member has to avail themselves and sign their credentials to the title you want to get transferred to them.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Transfer Ownership of A Car Online?

Transferring the car’s ownership entails more than both parties merely agreeing to the terms and handing over keys. In most cases, you will have to present yourself physically to file paperwork to your state’s DMV. In some states like California, you may get the required documents from the DMV’s website, sign them mail them, and be somewhat autonomous. The days of endless paperwork are over, and an email confirmation is what you need for verification. If only all states could be doing this, things would be much more accessible. h

How Long Does It Take To Change Ownership Of A Car?

The time taken depends on the local DMV’s speed and if there are other alienated situations such as the need for a transfer settlement. You might need to deal with the latter, before proceeding further, which only adds to the transfer time. However,  some local jurisdictions are steadfast, and changing credentials can take a single working day to complete.

What Documents Are Required For Car Transfer?

It depends on the state. However, the standard across the board is the certificate of registration or the title, disclosure of damage form, transfer fee document, and bill of sale. The core terms, charges, methodologies, and procedures are generally the same from state to state.

Now you know

The car title transfer process can be laborious if you don’t know how to go about it. I hope this has cleared up some burning questions you might have, and you’re now better off with the knowledge acquired. When selling your vehicle, ensure that you get a buyer who will pay the actual market value. With the tools and information at hand, you can get a reasonable estimate of what the vehicle is worth.

As a buyer, you can avoid being shortchanged by following the right procedures outlined here. You should also get the real market value of the vehicle you want and avoid getting exploited. Follow the proper protocol and legal processes to ensure a smooth sailing transfer. Check your states DMV, because their site usually has more detailed information as regards to the transaction.


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