A car title is a legal document that defines a person or entity as the owner of a vehicle. A single-owner vehicle will have only the name of that person on the car title pertaining to the vehicle. Selling the vehicle only requires a single signature to release the title, from the named individual on the title. If you’re unsure on how to get a title for your car, a quick search online will yield results.
If there is a lienholder on the title, such as an auto loan provider, typically the loan must be settled in full prior to the sale. However, it is still possible to sell the car, with the consent of the lienholder. In this scenario, you must contact your lienholder and find out how the car can be sold, unless you plan to pay off the loan in full and be released from the lienholder prior to sale.
If a vehicle is owned by more than one individual, such as a husband-and-wife or any other group of individuals, there are two ways you can sell it, depending on how the names are separated when written on the title.
If the names are separated by the term “and”, it means that all named parties must sign the title to sell the vehicle and release ownership. If the names are separated by the term “or”, it means that only one party is required to sign the title to release ownership.
If the vehicle is owned by an entity, there are further documentation requirements and signatures required, depending on the ownership status of the vehicle, local state laws, and any other considerations, hence beyond the purview of this article.
There are significant legal implications in neglecting to transfer a title to a new owner following the sale of a vehicle. As we’ve outlined above, the title is the key piece of documentation that proves an individual’s ownership of a vehicle. Thus, the buyer is at a disadvantage if they’ve paid for the vehicle but haven’t gotten a title transfer. In the eyes of the law, the vehicle is still owned by the seller, and the buyer will need to legally prove that they’ve bought the vehicle if the seller neglects to transfer the title.
However, the law does also place an onus for a seller to transfer the title within a set period following the sale of a vehicle. This can vary between 10 and 30 days, depending on state. Therefore, neglecting to transfer the title after selling a vehicle can significantly impact buyer, as well as seller. You don’t want to get caught up in the resulting legal battles and red tape. Therefore, it’s important to effect a title transfer at the earliest. You can simply search “title transfer near me” and you’ll find plenty of helpful information.
Yes, they do. Typically, you should consult your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) or County Agency to find out the correct rules. This applies for the seller, as well as the buyer. A great place to start would be the website of the agency concerned, as they’ll have a list of documents, as well as instructions or steps to be followed.
Furthermore, states may have deadlines as per the transfer of title following the sale of a vehicle. Some states may give you up to 30 days to transfer the title, while others may only allow a 10-day window to transfer the title. That’s why you, and the buyer should be actively working on title transfer as soon as the sale is concluded.
Typically, you need a few documents on hand to transfer a car title. These include:
· The existing title, signed by the current owner, or owners of the vehicle, as well as notarized.
· Completed and signed title and registration application
· Photo ID of the seller and buyer
· A lien release if the vehicle has been under a lienholder
· Proof of payment of title and registration fees
· Buyer’s proof of insurance
· Proof of name change if applicable, due to marriage or divorce, for example
· Any other documents, such as power of attorney or personal representation papers if applicable
Note that this list is not exhaustive. The exact set of required documents will vary from state to state, which is why you should consult your state’s DMV or County Agency.
A bill of sale is a combination of a sales receipt, and a contract, stating that the seller has sold a titled car to the buyer. The bill of sale includes information, such as:
· Date of sale
· Full names and addresses of the seller and buyer
· Agreed sale price
· Make and model of vehicle
· VIN and license plate numbers of the vehicle
· Odometer reading
· Any other prudent information about the vehicle
You can find bill of sale templates online, so you need not waste time creating your own. Simply search for “bill of sale for car” followed by your state’s name, and you’ll find plenty of resources.
Typically, you don’t need to, as the buyer will take the documents with them, including the title once you’ve signed it over, and perform the task at their local DMV or County Agency. However, you should keep in touch with the buyer to ensure that they’ve performed the title transfer within the stipulated time period. Remember, as long as the car is still in your name as per the authorities, it’s still your responsibility. For example, if the car has been used to commit a crime immediately after the sale, you will be the first person summoned, and will need to prove that the vehicle is no longer yours. While this is easily done with supporting documentation, it’s not a pleasant experience.
A car title looks a lot like a certificate. It will carry information about the state of registration, as well as the owner’s details. It will also bear the car’s details such as the make, model, VIN number, registration number, and odometer reading at the time of purchase.
Once you’ve purchased a car, you simply take the necessary documents to your local DMV or County Office, and submit your application. Typically, you’ll receive a temporary registration that allows you to drive the car on the roads, while your application is being processed. Once the paperwork has been processed, your title will typically arrive in the mail.
Yes, it is possible in some states, while it is a gray area in others. That’s why it’s always best to try and get a copy of the original title if you’ve misplaced it, rather than try sell a car without a title. Selling a car without a title in states that allow it mandates that you must have some other, accepted proof of ownership of the car.
However, some states have exemptions for certain types of car, such as classic cars, which they term as collectibles. Or, if your car has been stolen and you need to request a duplicate title from the DMV, you will need your bill of sale, as well as any documents pertaining to the reporting of the theft of your car.
Did you know that there are many types of car title? The average buyer may never encounter them, but let us tell you about some of these types, in case you encounter them as a buyer.
· The clear title is the typical kind that you’re bound to come across and needs no explanation.
· The salvage title tends to be issued to a vehicle that’s undergone a significant accident, causing it to lose more than 75% of its original value. Salvage title cars are not eligible for financing. However, you might be able to snag a bargain here because due to various reasons, some perfectly usable and safe cars end up with salvage titles. Salvage title cars can be driven as normal if they pass a safety inspection.
· The junk title applies to cars in junkyards that are typically meant to be scrapped, or used as part donors. A buyer might buy a car with a junk title to be used as a parts donor for another car. Some states consider junk titles similar to salvage titles, while others do not.
· Reconstructed titles are given to cars that have gone through significant repairs, and are typically granted by the insurance companies involved, or repair center. As long as a car with a reconstructed title can pass a safety inspection, it can be driven on public roads.
· Bonded titles are issued for cars with missing ownership documents, and include a security bond equal to the car’s value. This provides financial protection to the owner should any future ownership claims arise. Bonded titles tend to have a validity spanning three to five years.
· Odometer Rollback Titles are given to vehicles where it has been found that an illegal odometer rollback has occurred.
· Water Damage Titles are granted to vehicles that have been subjected to damage from significant water ingress, such as during a hurricane, flash flood or other extreme weather.
· Affidavit titles are another form of title granted to cars with missing ownership documents.
· Dismantled titles are granted to cars that are damaged beyond the point of repair, and are required to allow the owner to sell the remaining parts.
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