How to Transfer an Auto Title in North Carolina

by Jenni Wiltz

All auto title transfers are handled by the North Carolina Department of Transportation's Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Check the DMV's website for PDF copies of all necessary forms as well as a complete copy of the North Carolina Title Manual. To transfer a title, you'll need to have several documents notarized---look up notary offices in your city before meeting with a buyer and you'll save time and hassle.

Locate your official copy of the title. Look over the vehicle information as printed on the title to make sure everything is accurate (VIN, make, model, year, etc).

Get an emissions inspection in North Carolina before selling the vehicle. Electronic inspection results are automatically transmitted to the DMV. Without proof of an emissions inspection, the new owner cannot get a new license plate issued.

Make sure any liens are removed and signed off on by the lien holder. Liens are listed on the lower left side of the title's front page.

Meet with the person to whom the title is being transferred. He must bring a Title Application form (MVR-1).

Visit a notary. The seller and buyer must sign the back of the title in the presence of the notary. The seller must also sign the buyer's Title Application form in the presence of the notary. If the vehicle is registered to two owners, both must attend this meeting and offer their signatures.

Fill out the Odometer Disclosure on the back of the title, required for all vehicles less than 10 years old.

Fill out the Damage Disclosure Statement (MVR-181) for all vehicles five years old or newer.

Give the notarized title and the Damage Disclosure Statement to the buyer. He will then take these forms to the DMV and apply for a new title in his name.


  • close If the person you're transferring the title to does not submit his application and supporting materials within 28 days of the sale date or notary date, you could be fined. As of April 2010, the fee was $15.

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About the Author

Jenni Wiltz's fiction has been published in "The Portland Review," "Sacramento News & Review" and "The Copperfield Review." She has a bachelor's degree in English and history from the University of California, Davis and is working on a master's degree in English at Sacramento State. She has worked as a grant coordinator, senior editor and advertising copywriter and has been a professional writer since 2003.

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