How to Sell a Car in Maryland

by Scott Krohn

Getting to an agreement between the buyer and the seller on the price of a vehicle is just the first step of selling a car in Maryland. The documentation that will be required to legally transfer and record ownership from one private party to another includes the certificate of title and a bill of sale. Additional forms may be necessary if the car is being purchased at a discount to market value or if there is a lien holder on the title.

Required Documentation

The primary document required to sell a vehicle in Maryland is the certificate of title, which will be used to transfer ownership from the seller to the buyer. The second required document is a bill of sale that is signed by the buyer and the seller, which is used to record the purchase price of the vehicle. A Maryland Bill of Sale with notarized signatures from both parties is required if the vehicle is 7 years old or less, was sold for at least $500 less than book value and the buyer wants to pay excise taxes based on the purchase price instead of book value.

Transferring Title

Ownership of the vehicle is transferred with the signatures of the seller and the buyer in the Assignment of Ownership section on the back of the certificate of title. Additional information that is required in the Assignment of Ownership section includes the buyer’s name and address, the mileage displayed on the odometer, the purchase price and the date of the transaction. The buyer can then complete the Application for Title and Registration section on the title to record ownership with the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration. In Maryland, the seller can either transfer the plates to a replacement vehicle or turn them in to an MVA office.

Releasing a Lien

If the purchase of the car was financed, the institution that provided the funding will release the lien once the loan has been paid in full. This step is required before the title can be transferred. In Maryland, the lien holder can assign ownership of a vehicle either by completing a Maryland Security Interest Filing or drafting a letter on company letterhead which includes information that identifies the vehicle, confirmation of the release of the lien, and the signature of an authorized officer. The Maryland Security Interest Filing form can also be used to release mechanic’s and storage liens as well.

Where to Go

Title transfers can be executed at any of 16 full-service MVA offices in locations across the state. Paperwork can also be submitted via mail to the main office of the MVA. For more information on selling a car and transferring ownership, visit the MVA website or call 410-768 7000.

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About the Author

After working for 21 years as a licensed adviser specializing in corporate and private finance, Scott Krohn began his writing career in 2008 covering a variety of topics including business, personal finance, health, and IT. He graduated from Cal State University, Long Beach with Bachelor of Arts degree.