How to Transfer a Car Title

Buying a new vehicle or selling a vehicle to another individual means that you need to transfer the car title. Transferring the title might sound complicated, but the process is not as hard as it might seem.

Transferring From a Dealer

How to Transfer a Car Title

If you buy a car from a dealer, then you will either pay in cash or obtain a loan to pay for the car. Taking out a loan means that you have lien on the car. When you take the title to the DMV and change it into your name, the title that you receive in the mail will state that you have a lien.

Regardless of whether you have a lien or own the car in full, the process of transferring the ownership of the vehicle is similar. The dealer will fill out the back of the current title with his or her information, the number of miles on the odometer and your information. If there is more than one individual on the vehicle title, then both names are filled out. The dealer will then sign the back of the title and you will sign it too, which is the initial transfer of ownership.

After the original title is filled out, go to the local Department of Motor Vehicles with the title from the dealer. Register the vehicle by filling out the paperwork provided at the DMV's office. You will receive a paper to transfer the title from one owner to the other. Fill out the document with the name of the previous owner and then your name as the new owner. Turn in the paperwork and pay any fees that are required. You will turn over the original title and the state will send a new title in the mail to your current address.

Transferring After a Move

When you move to another state, you will be required to transfer your title to the appropriate state at the time you register your vehicle and change your license.

The documents you will need after a move include:

  • The current title
  • A driver's license
  • A birth certificate
  • Another form of ID, such as a passport
  • The documents provided by the DMV

Change your driver's license first and then register your vehicle. When you register the vehicle, you will transfer the title from one state to the other. That means the previous owner section will still be your name. Put your name in that section of the paperwork as well as the section for the current owner. The state will send the new title when the paperwork processes.

Transferring When You Sell a Car

If you are selling the car to any other individual or you are trading it in at a dealership, then you will need to transfer the title. Fill out the back of the title and put the number of miles from the odometer in the appropriate space. According to, you will also need to fill out a bill of sale with the price of the vehicle. The bill of sale allows the DMV to set appropriate state taxes when the buyer registers the vehicle.

After you fill out the back of the title and bill of sale, your part in transferring the title to the buyer is complete. The buyer is then responsible for the remaining paperwork that is completed when the vehicle is registered.

Transferring a title is not hard, but it will vary slightly based on the situation. Whether you are transferring it to a different state, selling a vehicle or getting a title after purchasing from a dealer, the process is relatively simple.