So, the time has come to sell your car, but all that paperwork can be confusing. You’ve probably heard of a vehicle title before, but what is it and what happens to it when you sell your car? We’re here to answer all your questions about titles and explain exactly what you need to do to transfer your car title to a new owner. The process is fairly simple, but you need to pay attention to the details. If you mess it up, it can really cause some problems and delay the transaction by weeks. Something as simple as signing your name on the wrong line on the back of the title can prevent the buyer from being able to register the vehicle in their name. Keep reading and pay attention, and you’ll have no problem transferring the title when you get ready to sell your car.

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How To Transfer A Car Title

The specific process for transferring a title depends on your location as the rules vary from state to state. However, in general, most of the steps are the same. Your title serves as proof of ownership of the vehicle. If you hold the title with your name on it, then that proves that you legally own that car. So, what does a car title look like? Sometimes you might hear a title called a pink slip or a certificate of title. Although they are not all pink anymore, these are the same documents. You might have a clean title, salvage title, or rebuilt title. These mean slightly different things, but they all prove that you own the car listed on the title.

When you’re ready to sell your car, you will sign the back of your title as the seller. This shows that you are giving up your ownership of the car to the buyer or new owner. You’ll also need a document showing the details of the sales transaction. This is called the bill of sale. This document should include both the buyer’s name and seller’s name along with the vehicle identification number, date of sale, sale price, and odometer reading. Some states may require a current smog emissions test or vehicle inspection as well.

To complete the transfer process, a trip down to the local DMV will be required. This responsibility falls on the buyer to visit the Department of Motor Vehicles and complete the registration and transfer process. When you purchase a vehicle from a dealership, they usually handle all the paperwork for you and tell you exactly what you need to take to the DMV. However, when a private party sale takes place, then you’ll need to make sure all this is done on your own. During a private sale, the seller does not typically collect sales tax, but the buyer will be required to pay the tax based on the sale amount when the title transfer takes place.

If all this sounds too confusing, you could easily sell your car to Auto Wranglers. We’ll handle all the paperwork for you so that all you have to do is sign. We’ll make you a cash offer to buy your car, and we’ll complete the whole process within a day or two. If you want the easy way to sell your car and transfer your title, then give Auto Wranglers a call. We buy cars nationwide, so we’ll come to you wherever you’re located.


What Paperwork Will I Need To Transfer My Car Title?

You’ll need the title that is signed in the appropriate places by both the buyer and seller. If you can’t locate your title, then you should visit your DMV immediately to get a duplicate title. If you had a car loan still in place when you sold the vehicle, then the lien holder will need to release the title to you with the appropriate signatures. You’ll also need a bill of sale and your identification like a driver’s license or passport. In some cases, there may be more than one owner listed for the vehicle. In that case, both owners will need to sign over the title and the bill of sale to the new owner. There is an exemption to this rule. If two names are listed as owner on the certificate of title with an ‘OR’ between them, then either of the registered owners can sign the title and transfer ownership.

What if you’re not selling your car but rather want to transfer the title to a family member? The process is much the same. You’ll still need to sign over the original title, although some states do not require a bill of sale to pass the title in this manner. Some states allow you to complete a simple vehicle title transfer form to complete the process. There is typically a small transfer fee associated with this transaction. You can always contact your local DMV for the specific rules in your state.

You should be aware that some states do not even issue titles on certain vehicles. For instance, in Alabama, cars more than 35 years old are no longer issued titles. You can use the vehicle registration and bill of sale to transfer to a new vehicle owner. In addition, junk cars and vehicles below a certain value do not usually require a title. You can sell cars without a title in most states if they are older than 10 years and worth less than $1,000. So, if you’re selling a junk car, you might not need a title at all. Some states, however, have very strict titling rules that prohibit the sale of a vehicle without a title.


What If The Title Is Not In My Name?

If the title is not in your name, then you do not legally own the car. Before you can sell the vehicle, you will need to get a new title that shows your name as the owner. Maybe you never properly registered the car when you bought it, so you will need to visit the DMV and show evidence of the previous transaction so that they can issue a title with your name on it. Since the seller must sign over the title, your name must appear on the title or else you would be committing fraud or forgery when you attempt to sell the vehicle.

In some cases, you may be authorized by the owner to sell the car. In this case, you would need a power of attorney from the owner that gives you the authority to sign the title for them. This could happen if the owner is incapacitated or perhaps out of town for an extended period of time. The POA document would need to be completed and notarized while the owner was still present and of sound mind. The POA allows you to act on that person’s behalf, so you can sign your name to the title as an agent of the seller.



Selling a car can be difficult, but the paperwork is often the most confusing part of the entire deal. Transferring a car title is a tedious process that must be done exactly the right way or the new owner will not be able to register the vehicle. If you want to avoid any potential errors, just call Auto Wranglers. We’ll handle all the paperwork for you and show you exactly where you need to sign your title. Our process only takes a day or two from start to finish, and you’ll always get top dollar for your vehicle. When you’re ready to sell your car the best way and transfer your title, give us a call and we’ll help you!

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Who pays the transfer fee?

The new owner is usually who pays the title transfer fee. When you visit your local DMV office, they’ll tell you how much is owed to complete the registration process. If you buy your vehicle at a dealer, they will go ahead and complete the title application for you to take to the DMV office. If you acquired the car from a private party, then the application can be completed during the registration process. If the car was purchased in another state, you’ll probably need an affidavit showing where the car came from if it has never been registered in your state before.

How do I change the name on the title?

This depends on what kind of name change you are attempting to perform. If you need to change the name because you are the owner and your name has legally changed, then you will need to visit your local DMV and show proof of your name change. This could be a marriage certificate, updated Social Security card, or other proof that you have gone through a legal name change process.

If you want to change the name on the title from a previous owner to a new owner, then you will need to go through the processes already mentioned above. You’ll need a bill of sale and other documentation to prove that a sale took place. Some states also require an odometer disclosure statement, although some states include that directly on the back of the title itself. Finally, if the car was left to an heir as part of an estate, then you can change the name on the title through the probate process. When the deceased person’s will enters probate, the court will issue documents that will allow you to visit the DMV and get an updated title.

How do I transfer a car title for a car from my name to my daughter’s/son’s name?

Since titles serve as proof of ownership of a vehicle, you’ll need to prove that you intend to transfer ownership to your son or daughter. This can be done through a bill of sale or a simple title certificate transfer in some states. Your local DMV can advise you of the specific process that is required in your state. When in doubt, always contact your DMV office with questions.

Who pays sales tax on a car?

The buyer pays the sales tax on a vehicle. If you buy from a dealership, then they will automatically collect the tax and remit it to your state and local governments as necessary. However, if you purchase through a private sale, then you should know that you will be required to pay the sales tax when you attempt to register your vehicle. This is why the purchase price is required on the bill of sale. The sales tax will be calculated based on the final purchase price of the car. Most states also require the payment of a registration fee when you register your vehicle and get the license plates.

What if I lost my title?

If you lost your title, then you will need to contact your Department of Motor Vehicles right away to get a replacement. It can take 30 days or more to get a title for a car. You cannot sell your vehicle without the title except under very limited circumstances. If you have a car loan, then your lender will hold the title until the loan is completely paid off. Once the loan is paid off, then the lender will make the lien as satisfied and will send you the title. You should always store your title in a safe place because you cannot sell the vehicle without it.