How to Sign Over a Car Title to Someone

by Alexander McMillin

If you are looking to sell your used car, you have a couple of options. You could sell it to a dealership. This is convenient and quick. However, dealerships will not pay as much as private buyers. This leads the majority of people selling their cars to sell to private parties.

This can be a hassle. It is often difficult finding a buyer who is willing to pay a decent price for your car. Once you have done so, the paperwork begins. The most important piece of paperwork is the car title. Signing the title over to another party is a relatively simple task. However, it is crucial that you do it correctly.

Find the Title

Hopefully, you have your title in a safe deposit box or fire-resistant home safe. Many people do not. They may assume that the title will be easy to find when they are selling the car -- and panic when they have accepted an offer and can't find the pink slip. Don't be one of those people. Have the title in hand before listing your car for sale.

Ensure the Title Is Current

If you have recently paid off your car, the title may still list a lien. This means that the department of motor vehicles thinks you still owe money on the car. If you sign the title over to someone, the motor vehicles agency will assume that this person is assuming the loan. This, obviously, is a big problem; avoid it.

Draw up a Bill of Sale

The next step experts advise car sellers to take is creating a bill of sale. This is a document that records the price of the car, date of the sale and names of people involved. This is not legally required in most states, but most sellers will want a copy for their records. The buyer will likely want a copy as well, as many department of motor vehicle forms ask questions about the sort of info that the bill of sale records.

Sign the Title

Once you've followed the first three steps, you can sign the title over. Titles vary slightly from state to state, but they are all similar. There will be a section at the bottom or on the back that is specifically for signing the title over. Read this section very carefully before filling it out. You wouldn't want to accidentally sign the title over to yourself. This will require either getting a new title, which is time consuming and expensive, or whiting out the mistake, which may raise questions at the department of motor vehicles.

Once you have read the instructions carefully, fill out the seller's portion of the form. This normally includes:

  • Your name
  • The make and model of the car
  • The mileage
  • The VIN

Sign and give the form to the buyer. Fill out the bill of sale and give him a copy of that as well.

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