The Easiest Way to Transfer a Title when Selling a Car
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The car title may be the most important document you have during your ownership of a vehicle.
Issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles, your car's title proves you're its legal owner and allows you to either sell or trade it in. Additionally, a vehicle title contains essential information about your vehicle and what makes it unique.
When you're ready to get behind the wheel of something new to you and sell your old vehicle, you'll need to transfer the title to the new owner.
What does a title look like for a car? How do you transfer a title?
Let's explore the subject of car titles and the easiest way to transfer a title when you sell your old vehicle.
How to sell or trade in a vehicle
When it's time for a new car, you'll probably want to sell or trade in your old one.
Though either option gives you some money to put toward your next vehicle, they differ in significant ways. And the choice that appeals to you may depend on whether you're after top dollar or convenience.
Though selling your car to a private buyer typically brings a higher price than trading in, it can be a time-consuming process that takes weeks or even months. When you sell a vehicle privately, you have to take multiple photos from different angles, post advertisements, and answer questions from potential buyers.
And even with those tasks complete, you'll need to agree on a purchase price, meet the buyer in a public place, and sign necessary paperwork like the title transfer or bill of sale. While you may net more money than trading in, selling your vehicle privately may prove to be a hassle.
However, trading in a car is quick and easy and can take as little as a few hours. All you have to do is contact your preferred resellers, field offers, then use the money as a down payment on your new vehicle.
When you trade in, the down payment not only lowers your loan principal and monthly payments, but you can also save money on sales tax. Many states only charge sales tax on the remaining total after subtracting your trade-in from the purchase price. This vital benefit can save you thousands of dollars, keeping essential funds in your bank account for other necessary obligations.
Where can you go for convenience and a great price when you need to sell your old vehicle? At Shift, all you'll have to do is enter the make, model, year, and mileage on our easy-to-use website, and you'll instantly receive a purchase offer that's valid for seven days. You can get a fair offer, better than any dealership, driven by powerful machine-learning algorithms and tons of data. And when you sell your vehicle to Shift, there's no need to spend the extra time waxing and washing the car. A little dirt will not affect the quote, and we fully detail the cars ourselves anyway before listing them for sale.
What does a title look like for a car?
Your state DMV issues your car title, which contains vital information about you and your vehicle.
Typically printed on paper, a vehicle title lists the make, model, year, VIN, license plate, odometer reading, and the owner's name.
Several categories of car titles exist, corresponding with the vehicle's financial or mechanical status.
A clean certificate of title denotes a vehicle's sound mechanical condition, with no major accidents requiring a significant rebuild.
When a car has a clear title, it's fully paid off, with no lienholder holding a claim against it.
If an insurance company considers a vehicle totaled after an accident, it receives a salvage title. While a car with a salvage title may be available for purchase, you probably can't obtain insurance for it.
A rebuilt or reconstructed title signifies a previously totaled vehicle repaired back to drivable, roadworthy condition.
Though buying a used car can save you thousands versus purchasing or leasing a new one, where can you find a pre-owned vehicle that stands the test of time? Shift offers best-in-class service contracts at a fair price without sales pressure. You get the great price and value of a used car with the bumper-to-bumper protection of a new car.
With a Shift Vehicle Protection plan, not only are essential components covered, but you also receive roadside assistance if you run into trouble. Wherever you happen to be in the continental U.S., Alaska, Hawaii, or Canada, help is just a phone call away, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Shift's website has a large selection of fully inspected cars located across the country that are ready to go. The website is user-friendly, and you'll be able to find various makes and models to suit your needs and budget.
For extra reassurance, any car you buy from Shift has a seven-day refund policy. In case you aren't fully satisfied with your purchase, you're able to return it with no questions asked.
Transferring title of car
Whomever you sell or trade your vehicle to, you'll need to transfer its title to the new owner.
When it's time for a vehicle title transfer, the buyer and seller both have their own responsibilities.
First, the seller must sign the title, signifying a release of ownership.
Next, the buyer takes the signed title to the local DMV, who then issue a new one along with the updated vehicle registration.
Depending on where you live, you may also be required to sign a bill of sale or a transfer of ownership form.
And when you haven't paid off an auto loan, a lender holds a lien against the title.
In that scenario, the lender's name is also listed on the car title and remains there until you make your last monthly payment. But before a vehicle changes hands, the title must be clear, with the loan paid in full.
With a financed vehicle, it's still possible to complete the title transfer process. You can settle your obligation and transfer ownership by contacting your lender, paying off your loan balance, and obtaining a lien release
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The easiest way to transfer a title
Transferring a title is a relatively straightforward process, and paying attention to details will ensure a smooth transaction.
By visiting the website of your state DMV, you can find out where to sign your title, along with any other documents that might be required.
It's essential to make sure you sign in the right place and don't erase anything. You'll need to submit a form noting the mistake or apply for a replacement title if that happens.
Once you sign your title, you can release ownership to the buyer, who must take it to their DMV for processing. After that, usually, the DMV issues a temporary registration before mailing the new title.
Remember, when you sell your old vehicle to Shift, all you have to do is sign the title, and we take care of all the other paperwork for you. Get a quote for your vehicle using our free estimate calculator, where you can also book an at-home evaluation, no strings attached.
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April 15, 2022
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