Title transfer is a necessary part of the process once you're finalizing the sale of your car. Depending on your situation (do you have your title in hand or do you need to apply for a duplicate?), you'll need to fill out the correct corresponding forms to complete the vehicle title transfer to the buyer.
If you don't have the title, you can still legally sell it. You’ll need to complete a Certificate of Title or Application for Duplicate or Paperless Title - REG 227, which must be signed by both the seller and the buyer.
You can expect a couple of fees when you transfer your title:
There are a number of additional fees associated with title transfers, though not all of them will apply to you. Read each item carefully, so you're not surprised when you go into the DMV.
The Vehicle Transfer and Reassignment Form (REG 262) is a single-page, multipurpose form that combines odometer disclosure, bill of sale, and power of attorney. REG 262 is needed for more complicated vehicle sales and simplifies the amount of paperwork needed for the transaction.
For instance, if there’s more than one transfer for the same vehicle, i.e. from Tom to Jerry and then to Spike, there will only be space for Tom and Jerry, and no Spike. This form is then needed to show the transfer from Jerry to Spike.
If either the buyer or seller has trouble going to the DMV to take care of the paperwork, this form can also be used to give either the buyer or seller the power of attorney, meaning they can legally speak for one another depending on who was granted the power of attorney.
The smog certificate is a bit tricky because if you have completed the bi-annual test, you must try to sell the car within 90 days. If the 90 days have passed, you will need to smog the car again.
It is the seller’s legal obligation to provide a valid 90-day smog certificate or to have completed the smog test prior to selling. Remember, a smog certificate is necessary if the car was produced between 1975 - six years prior to the sale.
Signing the title can be a bit confusing because there are a lot of places for signatures but not all of them apply.
Fortunately, the DMV provides diagrams of where to sign on the title. It also has a list of applicable fees you may need to pay, though not all will be applicable. Watch out for the lien holder signature. If you sign that when it’s not needed, you will have to complete the statement of erasure we talked about earlier.
As always the process of selling a car is made much easier by having everything in order, especially when it comes to title transfer. If there are multiple owners on the title, you’ll need to have all of the signatures.
You must complete the title transfer in person, as it cannot be processed online. If a mistake is made on the title, you will need to return to the DMV to have it corrected, so it’s best to know what you’re doing and to be patient when you read it.
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