The title to a car is perhaps the most important document associated with it because it denotes the right of ownership to it. When people sell their cars, simply receiving money for the car and handing over the keys to it does not completely turn over ownership of the vehicle. Another very important step must be completed, and that is the step of signing over the title of the car to the purchaser of it. Although the specific process for signing over a car title to someone varies from state to state, the basic procedure is relatively the same in each state.
Locate the Current Title
The owner of the vehicle must locate the current title of it. Without a valid title of a car, the car cannot legally be sold. Car owners who have lost their titles or their titles became damaged can apply for lost titles for a fee from the Department of Motor Vehicles where the original car title was issued to them.
The sale details for the sale that was made must be documented. Some states have provided blanks on the titles themselves to accommodate for sales that transfer ownership, whereas other states might require that buyers and sellers present a bill of sale and a signed document containing information about the car sold and the transaction. Bills of sale can usually be obtained at DMV offices, generic ones can be found online or people can simply draw up their own. Some of the information that must be contained in such documents includes:
- The names of the seller and the buyer
- The vehicle identification number
- The price the car was sold for
- A description of the car
- The odometer meter reading of the car
If the car was given as a gift, then the price of the car would simply be denoted as $0.
Signing Over the Title
The last step to signing over the title requires that the current owner(s) of the car and the future owner(s) of the car all sign the document transferring the title. Some states may require that the document be signed in front of a notary. Once the title has been signed by all parties involved and notarized (if applicable), then ownership of the car has been properly transferred.
Signing over a car title to someone is relatively simple. However, before doing so, people should ensure that they have received payment for the vehicles because once the title is signed over, then the other party owns the vehicle.
To learn more about car titles, check out How to apply for a lost car title.