At some point in your life, you will probably buy or sell a car. For some savvy shoppers, skipping the dealership and buying secondhand makes the most financial sense. When selling your car yourself, or buying one straight from the owner, you must keep in mind all the formal documentation work the dealerships usually take care of (and charge for), such as notarization.
So, how do you notarize the car title during the buying and selling process? First, it’s important to note that state requirements vary greatly across the board. Some states don’t require any notary involvement, while others require both buyer and seller signatures to be individually notarized.
Note that even if you’re not required by law in your state to notarize the title upon the sale of your vehicle, it might be a good idea anyway. Not only will this cover you in case you’re unsure of the law, but it will be legal proof that you’ve sold the vehicle and it can no longer be tied to you as a liability.
Here are some general guidelines to follow when getting your car title notarized.
Research the Requirements
During the planning phase, you should find out all you can about the requirements for notarization in your state. You can find these on the DMV.org website by simply selecting your state.
While researching the requirements, make sure you identify who must be present to sign the title. Oftentimes it is just the seller, but there are some states that require the buyer’s signature be notarized as well.
Gather All the Necessary Documents
Based on your state’s requirements, you will probably need a few different things with you, including:
- State-issued ID or military ID
- Car title
- Form of payment
- Separate application (if applicable)
- Proof of lien released (if applicable)
Some states require a separate application other than the car title itself, which must also be notarized. There are also instances where you might have to prove you have the right to sell the vehicle by showing there is no longer any lien on the title.
Find a Notary Near You
You might be surprised by how many notary officials are around you. There are often notary services available in local banks, post offices, or UPS stores.
One quick way to find notary officials near you is to visit Notary Rotary and simply type in your zip code.
Once you locate a notary near you, make sure to call and schedule an appointment to save yourself time. This will also be a good time to double check and make sure you have all the required documents.
Sign at the Notary Location
Arrive at your scheduled time with all the required documents and sign in front of the notary official. It’s very important that you do not sign until this time. That is the whole point of the notarization — validating that the signature is in fact yours.
If your state requires both signatures on the title, both individuals do not need to be at the same appointment. As long as the other individual follows the same steps as you to get their signature notarized, it can usually be done at a separate time.
Pay for Notary Services
After you sign, the notary official will stamp or seal your title, making it officially notarized.
Most of the time you will be charged a small fee; it shouldn’t be more than around $10.
That is the process of getting your car title notarized from start to finish. Although some of the steps may seem tedious and unnecessary, notarization is an important aspect of buying and selling a vehicle as it transfers legal responsibilities for the car to the other individual.