Consumer Title Resource | Since 2009!

5 Tips For Transferring A Car Title To A New Owner

Having the knowledge to properly transfer a vehicle title from one person to another is crucial when purchasing or selling a vehicle. A successful transfer of title is necessary for completing the transaction, as well as an unsuccessful one, which may result in DMV denial. A vehicle title, also known as a certificate of title or car title, is the most significant car-related document because it assigns legal ownership. The individual whose name appears on the front of the title is considered to be the only owner of record with the DMV. A successful transfer of car ownership must be accomplished by filling out the necessary forms and paying the DMV processing fees and taxes.

#1: Get the car’s current title from the seller.

The first step in transferring a vehicle title is obtaining the current title from the seller. Before you pick up the vehicle, the seller must be the previous owner or be present. The watermarks, background patterns, and scrollwork on the front of the title should be difficult to reproduce; the title should also include the current owner’s name and the year of issue. When you sign over a vehicle title, make sure that the person transferring ownership is the person listed on the vehicle title document. The back of the certificate designates ownership.

#2: Verify the title and seller’s information are correct.

When purchasing a vehicle, make sure that the VIN plate and vehicle specifications are consistent with the information on the certificate of title supplied by the seller. In addition, only the owner listed on the front of the certificate of title may relinquish ownership to the buyer. If you are buying from a private individual, make sure to examine the photo ID to guarantee that this person is also the legal owner. Purchasing a car with an erroneous title or from someone other than the legal owner will cause you serious problems with the DMV.

#3: Make sure to get the seller’s signature

After you’ve verified the accuracy of the car’s title and the identity of the seller, sign the back of the vehicle title. The seller transfers ownership on the back of the car title. Also, be sure to have a purchase receipt, also known as a bill of sale, to verify that you have acquired the automobile from its previous owner appropriately. 

#4: Bring all relevant documents and fees to the DMV

Every state has its own title and registration application as well as fees. You’re ready to officially transfer your car title now. You may find state motor vehicle division or secretary of state websites where you can apply for a title and registration. Many applications can be submitted via mail. The fees due will vary by state according to sales tax requirements and tiered fees for different types of vehicles, in addition to sales tax requirements.

Make sure you have the following items when you arrive at the DMV:

  • Current and original certificate of title signed over by the prior owner (a photocopy of the title is not acceptable)
  • Bill of sale (notarized, if applicable)
  • Fees for registration, tax, and title (specified by your state’s DMV)
  • State title application
  • Driver’s license
  • Any other relevant documents specified by your state or DMV agency (If applicable, ex. lien release, MSO, etc.)

#5 Keep your title safe.

It’s important to keep your title free of damage and theft, as it is the most essential document a vehicle can have. Do not keep your vehicle title in your vehicle; it should be kept safe. By transferring your car title into your name, you will preserve your property. If you lose your vehicle title after it has been printed by the DMV with your name on it, you may apply for a duplicate title. However, if the previous owner signs the original title prior to the DMV printing a new one, you will not be eligible for a new one. Only the owner in the DMV system may request a title, and if you didn’t transfer it, it won’t be in your name.

Want a professional to do it for you?

For as little as $159 for most processes, we will save you the headache and prepare all of the car title paperwork needed to get you a new title. Simply choose the title recovery method you’d like to use and we’ll get started!

Select your title recovery method:

Order Vermont Title LoopholeOrder Deceased Owner Title TransferOrder Bonded Title ProcessOrder Abandoned Vehicle ProcessOrder Prior Owner ContactOrder Lien Release Request LetterPGlmcmFtZSBzcmM9Imh0dHBzOi8vYXBwLmFjdWl0eXNjaGVkdWxpbmcuY29tL3NjaGVkdWxlLnBocD9vd25lcj0xOTQ4ODEyNiZhcHBvaW50bWVudFR5cGU9MjMwNjY0MTAiIHRpdGxlPSJTY2hlZHVsZSBBcHBvaW50bWVudCIgd2lkdGg9IjEwMCUiIGhlaWdodD0iODAwIiBmcmFtZUJvcmRlcj0iMCI+PC9pZnJhbWU+PHNjcmlwdCBzcmM9Imh0dHBzOi8vZW1iZWQuYWN1aXR5c2NoZWR1bGluZy5jb20vanMvZW1iZWQuanMiIHR5cGU9InRleHQvamF2YXNjcmlwdCI+PC9zY3JpcHQ+

Have Title Questions? Talk to a Car Title Expert.

Book a consultation with a Car Title Expert from to get personalized guidance on your title recovery journey.

Don’t let uncertainty hold you back. If it’s your car, you deserve a title.

Share this article!

Check Your VIN Instantly:

Powered by