Transfer A Car Title To The New Owner

It is vital when selling a car that you transfer the title, or certificate of ownership, to the new owner. If the title is not transferred in a timely manner, you can be held liable for the vehicle.


1. Maintain insurance on the vehicle until the sale takes place. Make sure the new owner will insure the car immediately after taking possession. The DMV requires proof of this insurance to transfer the title.

2. Find your title. If you have misplaced your title, contact the lending institution for another copy. If the lending institution no longer exists, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation can help you obtain a copy.

3. Visit the DMV with the buyer of the car to ensure you both complete the necessary paperwork. While the requirements may be slightly different in your state, you may be asked to show your driver’s license, proof of insurance, a bill of sale with the purchase price, the title paperwork, the VIN number and the current odometer reading.

4. Remit a transfer fee, which can range from $20-$300 depending on the state in which you reside.

5. Check with your state‘s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) for additional guidelines, since the process of transfering a title varies from state to state.