Last Updated on May 18, 2023 by Sell The Car USA
Transferring the title when selling a non running car or truck
If you own a car, you need to have a car title. Colloquially referred to as a pink slip, the document establishes legal vehicle ownership of an individual or business. Everyone knows this. You can’t sell a non-working van or car – or a car in perfect working order for that matter – without this proof of ownership.
What is somewhat lesser known is what you need to do to transfer a car title from one person, one business, to another. You can agree on a price, even transfer funds, and exchange keys, but without transferring ownership from one party to another, in the eyes of the law, you still own the car – and are responsible for it. If the new owner crashes, or breaks the law in any way, the police could turn up on your doorstep.
Filling out and signing a title transfer releases ownership of the vehicle, including all future obligations and liabilities related to that vehicle. Also, don’t forget to check with the DMV or BMV that there aren’t any liens against your vehicle. You’ll have to pay them off before a title transfer can be completed.
But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. When you come to sell any car, even if you sell a broken car, there’s a couple of things you need to know to legally transfer a title. Interested in learning more from Sell The Car USA? Read on.
How to Transfer a Car Title When Selling a Non Working Car
Simple Car Title Transfer
The good news is that transferring a car title is straightforward. The seller will release their ownership of the car by signing the existing car title. Some states ask for additional information, such as the car’s odometer reading, the buyer’s name and contact information, or sale price.
If the car’s title is in two people’s names, both are required to sign the title. Some states ask that the signatures are witnessed by a notary. Some don’t. This is the same whether you sell a non-working car or one that’s in perfect working order.
Once the owner (or owners) of the car have signed the title, the buyer can then take the document to the relevant state DMV or BMV who will issue a new title in the new owner’s name.
More Complicated Title Transfer
Now, some circumstances are more complicated. Don’t worry, nothing will ever be so complicated that you’ll find yourself tearing your hair out in frustration, but they’re still worth knowing.
As mentioned above, if you have a car loan, it’s possible that the lender is holding the car title. To complete the title transfer when you come to sell a used car, on a vehicle in any condition, most states require you to include a lender affidavit.
A lender affidavit demonstrates that the lender is aware of the change in ownership. As above, you’ll need to pay off the loan in full before the car title can be transferred. Until this has been completed, according to the law, you’re still legally responsible for the car.
The one exception to this is when you’re selling a car to a dealership (for instance, when you trade your existing car in for a new one). Now, state rules do vary, but generally the dealer will not immediately take the title in their name. Instead, they will ask you to sign the title, then hold onto it until it can be processed, and the new buyer legally owns the car. In most states, buyers have between 30-45 days to apply for a car title.
We advise you get a quote from us before considering other ways of selling your non working car: Sell The Car USA pays more and picks up your old non-runner as part of the service.
What You Need
Whether you want to sell a non-working car or a brand new shiny car that you’ve just bought, what you need to bring to the DMV to complete the process is different in every state – sometimes different in every municipality.
To transfer a car title into a new party’s name, it’s best for buyers to have:
- – A bill of sale
- – Additional information about the vehicle
- – Money for the title transfer and/or sales tax on the car sale
You can save yourself an extra trip by calling the DMV/BMV or checking online ahead of time to make sure you’ve got the right documents. If unsure just call Sell The Car USA and we will be happy to advise, because we love buying non-working cars, trucks and bikes.
Transferring a Car Title Doesn’t Need to be Difficult
For most of us, once we’ve bought and sold a car or two, knowing what you need to do to transfer a car title comes from memory or experience. It doesn’t need to be difficult – so long as you have all the relevant documentation.
If you’re the one who has chosen to sell your damaged car, or a car in tip-top shape, once everything is signed, the sale can be completed. This is the same if you’re selling a car to a car buyer like Sell The Car USA, a dealership or privately.