How to Sell a Car Without a Title

Are you finding yourself with a car you want to get rid of but don’t have the title? In times when trying to sell a car can be more stressful than usual, Kelley Blue Book has some tips on how to sell your vehicle with no title.

Can I sell a car if I lost the title?

How to sell a car without a title
A New York State Department of Motor Vehicles sign | ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images

You can sell a car without the title, Kelley Blue Book says. Often, the car title gets stolen, lost, or damaged in one way or another. There are other reasons like finding an abandoned car, bills are owned on the title, or maybe you never got the title when you bought it. If your car title is stolen, it is a good idea to report it to the police.

There are various rules depending on your location and the set of circumstances surrounding the situation. If possible, call the local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and ask how to get a new one. The DMV website probably has more details, including the cost and stipulations in that state. If that doesn’t work, try to explore some other options.

Finding different ways to get a title in order to sell a car

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Each state will be different. For instance, to get a title in Florida, the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles says you must do five things. You must have proof of ownership, proof of identity, and proof of insurance. You must fill out the Application for Certificate of Title With/Without Registration (HSMV form 82040), and you have to pay the tax, title, and registration fees.

In California, you need a driver’s license, the last five digits of the vehicle identification number (VIN), and the license plate number. A similar application for title replacement needs to be filled out. Maryland requires proof of purchase price and an odometer disclosure statement. Plus, the vehicle has to be certified by the Maryland State Police to meet safety standards.

The DMV can also help track down the vehicle’s last owner for an abandoned vehicle. Each state does this process differently, but you can take possession of the car and get a title.

If the vehicle is pretty old, you can write up a new bill of sale. Kelley Blue Book says that some states didn’t issue a bill of sale until 1975, so some vehicles might not come with it. Most state DMVs have a form that you can print out to make a bill of sale in order to sell a car.

Get a notary involved and keep all of your documents

It is a good idea to get a notary involved. Not all states require a notarized bill of sale to sell a car, but it is a good layer of protection. Kelley Blue Book says, “Having a state official witness the signing over of a vehicle’s ownership can legitimize the transaction when selling an auto without a title.” Be sure to check your specific county and state regulations to know which laws apply.

If you successfully sell a car without a title, keep copies of everything. If something happens with the new owner and a new title is not produced for some reason, you don’t want to be held liable down the line. Should there be questions later, having documentation of everything is essential.

Don’t forget to notify the state if and when you sell a car. It is important to notify the state where the vehicle was titled upon signing the bill and sale. This will help you avoid paying more taxes and fees on it.

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