How to Sell a Car Without a Title?

Normally, this rings alarm bells. It’s often assumed that the car is stolen; there is a lieu on it and whatnot. Not to mention that it’s a less-discussed topic too. The lasting takeaway is that it’s usually not easy to sell a car without a title. So, how do you sell a car without a title?

Honestly speaking, your options depend on the state you reside in and several other variables. Yes, all states have different rules for it. For instance, some states allow you to apply for a duplicate title if the original title is lost, destroyed, or stolen. Believe it or not, the age of the vehicle also matters.

Some states do not issue titles for vehicles older than fifteen years. This obviously makes it difficult to sell old cars without a title. In short, losing a title can turn out to be a serious issue, preventing you from selling your car. In rare cases, you might have to sell your car for scrap value.

Scrap Yards Will Need a Title Too!

Keep in mind that not all scrap yards accept cars without a title. Some will, on the condition that you provide substantial proof of ownership. When you have a choice, it’s always better to apply for a new title. As expected, cars without a title often fetch a low price in the market.

How Do You Get a New Car Title?

First and foremost, determine that the title is actually lost. Recheck all the places where you can possibly find it. If it’s truly lost, you can start the process of a new title application. To apply for a new title, you will have to visit the local DMV office and provide proof of car ownership. Frankly speaking, expect a lot of paperwork to be involved.

As hinted before, the process varies slightly from one state to another. The fees might also vary from one state to another. Depending on the criteria involved in your state, you might have to visit the DMV office more than once to complete all the formalities. Of course, expect some more trouble if there is a lien against your vehicle.

Will The New Title Be As Good As The Old Title?

Gladly enough, the new title will be as good as the old one. In other words, it will be as valid as the original title that you lost. This should tell you that once you procure the new title, you will be able to sell your car as you please without any hiccups. Keep in mind that some states also allow you to complete the duplicate title process through the state’s DMV website.

Important Notes And Tips:

  • Once the duplicate title is issued, the old one becomes void automatically. The point here is that there is no point in digging out the old title at any given point. In other words, it won’t be of any use once the duplicate title is issued in your name.
  • The entire process of title transfer can take up to 30 days. Some states allow a quick transfer for an additional fee. In fact, a few states also issue the title on the spot. Usually, the paperwork involved in the transfer process is driver’s license, Social Security number, DMV title number, and vehicle identification number.
  • If you can’t visit the local DMV office in person, you can mail them the forms. If you approach a dealer for the lost title, the dealer will take care of all the formalities on your behalf. Of course, this will involve more expenses because the dealer is bound to charge you for this type of service.

Are There Any Other Options?

Ownership Transfer

Some states allow the transfer of car ownership without a title. This option will work only if a duplicate title is under process.

Bill of Sale

A bill of sale will normally work for old cars that are not issued a new title. It serves as adequate proof of ownership. You can take a print of it or pick it up from the local DMV branch.

Obtain a Notary

Some states require the bill of sale to be notarized to legitimize everything. This also makes the registration process easier than usual for the new buyer.

Speak to the Buyer

If there’s an amount due on your car, you may not hold the car’s title. In such a scenario, be upfront with the buyer. Check if he is willing to pay the outstanding sum on the vehicle. Of course, the lender should co-operate as well. Ideally, the lender should not have any problems as long as he is paid in full. Usually, the title will be released as soon as the full payment is made.

Notify your State

Once you have sold the vehicle, make sure to notify the state in which the car is titled. In this manner, you can avoid any further taxes or expenses associated with the car. It’s important to note that things can get tricky if the new buyer lives outside of your state. As you might know by now, the rules vary from one state to another, which can further complicate the car selling process.

Forget selling a car without a title; you shouldn’t even buy one without a title. If an officer pulls you over in the middle of an ordinary day, he/she may not buy your story. Let’s face it; the law needs facts and not your personal stories. Not to undermine the fact that ‘no title’ inevitably means no plates, no insurance, and no loans.

Yes, you won’t even get a traditional car loan without a title. Even the insurance companies won’t entertain a car owner without a valid car title.

Final Notes About Selling a Car Without a Title

Once the car is sold (with or without the title), make sure to keep all the documentation associated with it in a safe place. After all, you don’t want to be held liable for something involving the vehicle once it’s sold. So trying to sell a car without a title isn’t the end of the world. However, you should be aware of the exact protocols, which can vary from one state to another. Look for the old title. If it’s not found, explore the options given above.