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Car Titles Articles

9 Components of a Bill of Sale

One of the most important documents in vehicle ownership is often the one most overlooked. This significant document has many names: sales receipt, proof of purchase, statement, but most people will recognize this document to be the bill of sale. A bill of sale is a record of the transaction of a vehicle. This document proves that you actually purchased the vehicle from the seller or dealership. By itself, simply providing this document will not get you a title. However, it’s often the first step in transferring your title.

How to write a bill of sale:

  1. Date of purchase
  2. Name of the seller
  3. Name of the buyer
  4. The seller’s signature
  5. Vehicle identification number (VIN)
  6. Vehicle make
  7. Vehicle model
  8. Model year
  9. Odometer statement

A bill of sale can be handwritten or typed. Some states require your bill of sale to be notarized before they accept it as proof of ownership. Be sure to check the requirements of your state DMV before submitting your documents. When written correctly, a bill of sale can be the first step in getting your vehicle title. If written incorrectly, the process to transfer your vehicle title will be difficult and could get you into trouble with the DMV. 

Are you ready to transfer your title? If your vehicle is 15 years old or older, you may qualify for an out-of-state title transfer using the Vermont loophole. This title method is available for non-residents of Vermont and doesn’t require to you travel out of state. Get started with us here and let us professionally prepare your title documents.


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 Letter

Vehicle Lien Release: What You Need to Know

If you’re wondering if it’s really necessary to remove your vehicle title lien, the answer is yes. Even if you’ve already paid off your loan balance, your vehicle title will still show a lien until you’ve released the lien from the lienholder. Without a vehicle lien release, the DMV in your state will prohibit you from selling or transferring your vehicle until all liens are cleared from the title. 

Removing a vehicle title lien can be tricky. In most cases, there are three general steps to release a title lien:

Step 1: Identify the lienholder

Step 2: Complete a lien release letter

Step 3: Send your lien release letter to the lienholder

Identify the Lienholder

Identifying your lienholder may be the easy part, but unfortunately, not all lienholders will still be in business. If your lienholder is no longer in business, you may have to do conduct research to locate the current registered agent authorized to release the lien. After identifying your lienholder, look for at least three addresses: principal address, mailing address, and registered agent address. 

Most lenders don’t have a lien release department standing by ready to release your lien. It’s important to identify all of the possible addresses of your lienholder to ensure the right party will receive your paperwork.

Complete a Lien Release Letter

After identifying your lienholder, you’ll need to complete a request for a lien release letter or non-interest letter to the lienholder agent. In most states, this form needs to be notarized by a certified public notary. Most lenders will have a public notary on staff, but it’s important to check with your lender prior to sending your request for lien release. This form must be sent to the lienholder by certified mail and cannot be sent electronically or requested via phone. 

In this letter, you must certify that the lien against the vehicle has been satisfied and provide the following information: VIN, year, make, model, owner name, and lienholder information. If you submit a request for lien release with missing information, your request for lien release will not be approved.

Sending your Request for Lien Release

Once you’ve identified your lienholder and have the proper documents completed and notarized, you’re ready to send off your request for lien release for your lienholder’s signature. Compile all of your documents and send them to at least three addresses via certified mail. Your lienholder will review your documents, ensure that the balance has been paid, then will release the lien or contact you if the proper documentation is missing. 

The best practice for vehicle lien releases is to complete the paperwork for your lienholder. If you send incomplete documents, you won’t get your lien release or it could take months to get resolved. Need assistance with your vehicle lien release documents? Order your professionally prepared vehicle lien release documents here.

How To Obtain a Vehicle Title

The process of obtaining a car title can be confusing, especially if you recently moved or you’re missing ownership documents. Many buyers simply choose to not transfer their title to avoid the stress and hassle. We’ll discuss the basics of what an automotive title or vehicle title is and how you can obtain it for your vehicle. 

A vehicle title is a legal government document. They’re only issued by a government agency, you cannot buy one online, you can’t download one from the internet, and no company can even sell you a title. They can only be issued by the government agency in your state that handles titles and registrations. Normally, that agency is the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) or sometimes the Secretary of State, or the Department of Transportation. Different states have different names for these organizations that issue vehicle titles, but typically it’s the DMV.

What these organizations do is issue title documents for vehicles and not only does it reference the actual vehicle but it also defines the ownership. For example, it’ll have the vehicle identification number (VIN),  year, make, and model of the vehicle. It’ll state the name of the owner for example Joe Schmo at 123 Main Street, so it’s not only referencing the actual asset but the owner of the asset as well.

That’s important because if your name is not on the title, you’re not the owner.

Even if you have the title in your hand and the vehicle in your possession, you’re not the owner. The only way to become the owner and to get a new title with your name on it is to take the old title with the name of Joe Schmo that’s been signed over to you by that prior owner to the DMV. If you don’t have the title properly transferred from the prior owner, the DMV is not going to issue you a new title simply because you cannot be identified as the proper owner.

You can’t get a title with just a bill of sale which is just a receipt with a copy of the registration. Some people think because they have the VIN number that they have possession of the vehicle and can get a title. Unfortunately, titles don’t work that way. Titles are not bearer instruments meaning that just by having the vehicle and yourself available won’t you get a title. In addition to that title document, there is also a title record meaning that the DMV will have this information on file in their system. That is important because if the title document is lost they will issue a replacement or duplicate title but the only person who can apply for that is the person who’s named on the front of the title. So, if Joe Schmo is named on the title and he loses his title document he’s the only person that can go to the DMV and request another title. They’ll verify his identity, look at his ID they’ll make sure it’s really him because they will not give the title to anyone else

If you have a vehicle you’ve acquired and you don’t have the proper title signed over to you, it’s not as simple as applying for a duplicate title or applying for a lost title. You have to go through some other processes and there are various methods that you can use to get a title when you’re in that scenario. They’re not as simple as calling up the DMV or bringing them a bill of sale, there are some hoops to jump through in order to obtain a new title. Those different titles are called title recovery. It’s when you lost the title or don’t have one and you need to get a new one if your name. 

A couple of the common methods are

Each one of those methods has certain documents and forms that need to be filled out and signed by certain parties. The other thing about government agencies like the DMV or title offices is they don’t do things online or by fax or email or phone. In almost every case you’re going to need to submit to them an actual paper document with your ink signature on it. The reason is that again they want to verify the identity of the person who is obtaining this title, this legal document. Another way to think about it is if you have a vehicle title, that is equally as valuable as a birth certificate, passport, driver’s license, or other government documents.

In fact, it’s almost like currency or paper money. Whoever has their name on that title and has the title owns the value of that vehicle. If the vehicle is worth $4,000, the vehicle title is equivalent to $4,000 cash. The vehicle title is worth the value of the vehicle. Whoever has that title in their name is the rightful, legal owner of the assets so asking the DMV for a title for a vehicle that’s worth $4,000 is like walking in and asking them to give you $4,000 in cash, that’s how seriously they take it.

All of these other title methods magistrate title, VT transfer, prior owner contact, deceased owner title, mechanic’s lien, abandoned vehicle title, each one of those will have very significant requirements for you to go through in order to get that new title issued in your name. 

One of those methods is the bonded title and bonded title process goes something like this:

You fill out some affidavits to say you are the legal owner of the vehicle. You describe how you obtained the vehicle, and you sign an application for title. Then, you are going to present that to the DMV. However, with this method, you’re asking them to take your word for it that you are the owner. Luckily, most states are going to say “okay we’ll take your word for it!” however, they want some backup. Additionally, you’ll need to obtain a surety bond from a bonding company. The one we recommend is and once you obtain that surety bond from any bonding or insurance agent, you attach that to your application and submit it to the DMV. Then, they’ll issue you a new title with your name. That title will say bonded on it to notify you and anybody else to who you might want to sell the vehicle that was obtained using a bond. That reference will remain on that title for between three and five years depending on what state you’re in and what the value of the vehicle is. After a point in time, bonded will drop from the title, it’s not like a salvage title that will stay there forever. A bonded title will go away at some point. The surety bond guarantees to the DMV that they’re not gonna be on the hook for that vehicle if what you’re saying is not true or if somebody else attempts to claim the vehicle. 

There are some legalities to check to know what you’re getting into with a bonded title. Almost all states allow for a bonded title. There are about eight states that do not, including, but not limited to, Ohio, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Oregon, and South Carolina. Be sure to check with your state to make sure it accepts bonded titles. For a list of states that accept and decline bonded titles, click here.

If you’re in a scenario where you have a vehicle that you don’t have the title for, you may have no choice you may have to use a bonded title to get proper ownership documents for your vehicle. Again, it’s one of several methods that you could use. In future podcasts and clubhouse rooms, we’ll talk about some of the other methods but consider this as a first choice. The reason why is because it’s usually the fastest and cheapest method to get a title. In most states, you can get a bonded title in a few days. The cost is minimal and you have to pay regular title fees. For most vehicles, the cost of the surety bond is about $100 as long as you don’t have an exotic high-end vehicle.

There are other methods you can use to title your vehicle and the bonded title method is likely the most direct route to consider. Check out our website to learn more about title methods. If you have questions about your scenario or want more details, you can reach us at 256-448-4853 or by email at [email protected].

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Beware of Companies Getting Replacement Titles Through Mechanics Liens

At, we always use 100% researched and legal methods to get your replacement title. Companies using methods that they may or may not be aware are illegal will end up getting you into trouble. Here’s an example of why it’s important to trust our expertise and experience:

Recently, we have been made aware that the “mechanics lien” process is being offered as a solution to vehicle owners who have titling problems. While there are legitimate processes available for vehicle owners to recover titles, the mechanics lien process is not intended to obtain a title for a person in possession of a vehicle with no title.

Misuse of the process can subject the applicant to criminal and civil liability, and may subject the title to being revoked. In most jurisdictions, the “mechanics lien” process goes something like this:

A repair facility works on a vehicle for an owner.
The cost for the repairs are not paid by the owner.
The facility holds the vehicle for 30 to 60 days.
The facility is required to send certified mail to all owners and lienholder on the vehicle.
The facility is required to advertise a notice of public auction in local newspapers.
The facility conducts a PUBLIC AUCTION offering the car for sale to the HIGHEST BIDDER.
The facility submits official notarized paperwork with a sworn signature that all of these conditions were met.
A copy of a signed repair bill is attached to the title application.
The facility receives a title in the name of the auction buyer, to transfer to that person.

A prime example is this Wisconsin towing company caught using a fraudulent mechanic’s lien scheme.

In situations where a mechanic or towing company uses this process to get a title for a person who does not have legal documents, many of these conditions are not being met. First of all, there is no actual repair charges for the car since it was never in the shop for work. In addition, there is no offering to the public to bid on the car. The process bypasses the auction and it is “sold” directly to the person who already “owns” it.

Government and state DMV’s are aware that this process is ripe for abuse, and even fraud. The repair affidavits and garages and tow firms are regularly audited when they send in multiple title applications. If the paperwork is found to be fraudulent, the applicant can run into issues.

Urgent: Police departments nationwide are aware of this scam. Many people have been arrested and convicted for using “mechanics liens” to get car titles. We recommend staying FAR AWAY from this process. Do it right the first time and you’ll be able to maintain clear title to your vehicle.

States take giving away a vehicle title very seriously. A clean title is what ensures the owner of a vehicle that their possession is legal and will not be challenged later. Using a legal process to recover a missing title is the only way not to worry about liability or risk.

Find out more about converting a mechanic’s lien into a legal title.

Get more information regarding the mechanics lien scam by watching our free videos!

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