What is a car title? A car title is a document that tells the ownership of a car. It is a legal document that the State’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) issues to the vehicle’s owner. So, if someone wants to buy or sell a car, they must transfer or change the name on the document from the old owner to the new one.
How to sign over a car title?
In a private purchase of a vehicle, the car’s current owner will sign the title to release the ownership. The soon to be the owner(buyer) will now submit the signed title to the State’s Department of Motor Vehicles for the registration process. During this process, DMV will transfer the vehicle’s ownership to the buyer. Because the transfer is not immediate, the buyer will be handed over a temporary registration by DMV. Within a month, the new title is given to the buyer. The title transfer is not free, and a registration fee is associated, which the buyer has to bear.
The vehicle title document has many blank lines. If you are buying or selling a car, make sure you or the owner signs the correct line to release the vehicle’s ownership. In case, the owner signs the wrong line or make corrections, the transfer process could be delayed, or other complication could occur. However, this can vary according to the rules of each state’s DMV.
For ownership transfer, some states require additional documents, such as a bill of sale. A bill of sale is a document that shows the amount the vehicle was bought for. Once DMV has issued a new title, the ownership changes officially.
What if the car has an outstanding loan?
It is straightforward to transfer the ownership of a vehicle having a single title. But what if the car has an unpaid loan? In such a case, the loan lending company will be listed on the vehicle ownership list. To transfer ownership to the new buyer, the seller must first pay back the loan. Without that, the ownership will not be released to the new buyer. In case you are buying the vehicle, ask the seller for a document of proof that states all loan dues are cleared.
If you are selling your car, before you sign over a car title, make sure there is no outstanding amount, or the buyer can be in trouble because of you. If there is any confusion regarding the transfer procedure, you can always call your lender and ask for assistance.