How to Transfer a Car Title

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When buying or selling a vehicle, most states require the people involved in the transaction to transfer the car title between them. While this is simple to do, car buyers need to make sure to provide the proper documentation and pay the required fees. Car buyers also need to determine how much time they have to complete a title transfer in their state, as failure to do so within the required timeframe can lead to extra fees.
This article details the title transfer process and reveals how much a title transfer costs by state.

What Documents and Information Do I Need to Transfer a Car Title?

In order to successfully transfer a title, you need to provide certain information. While this varies by state, the following list details some of the more common information you need to complete a title transfer:
  • Application for title and/or registration
  • Notice of Transfer of Ownership of a Motor Vehicle (required in some states)
  • Odometer reading of the vehicle at the time of the sale (entered on the title upon sale)
  • Purchase price paid for the vehicle
  • Driver’s license or other state-accepted ID
  • The old title (signed by both parties)
  • Valid vehicle registration in the state
  • Proof of car insurance
  • Verification of Vehicle Identification Number form (required in some states)
  • Any inspection, smog check, or emission check paperwork as required by the state
  • Bill of sale (required in some states or counties)

How Much Does It Cost to Transfer a Car Title?

The cost for transferring a car title varies by state, with many states also imposing registration fees and taxes on top of the cost of the title transfer. Also, keep in mind that many states impose a time limit on transferring a title when purchasing a car. Failure to transfer the title within this time limit can result in late penalties. Timeframes usually range from 15 to 90 days.
The following chart with information from DMV.org details the costs for a title transfer in different states and the agencies responsible for handling title transfers:
Title Transfer Fees and Responsible Agency by State
State Cost to Transfer Title Responsible Agency
Alabama $16.50 Alabama Motor Vehicle Division (MVD)
Alaska $15 Alaska Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV)
Arizona $13.50 plus taxes Arizona MVD
Arkansas $10 Arkansas Office of Motor Vehicles (OMV)
California $15 plus taxes California DMV
Colorado Fees vary by county Colorado DMV
Connecticut Varies by weight and value Connecticut DMV
Delaware Varies by weight and value Delaware DMV
D.C. $26 plus taxes and fees D.C. DMV
Florida $77.75 plus fees Florida DHSMV
Georgia $38 plus taxes Georgia Department of Revenue (DOR)
Hawaii Fees vary by county Hawaii County Registration Office
Idaho $14 plus fees Idaho DMV
Illinois $95 plus taxes and fees Illinois Secretary of State
Indiana $15 plus registration fees Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV)
Iowa Fees vary by county Iowa County Treasurer
Kansas $10 Kansas Division of Vehicles
Kentucky Fees vary by county Kentucky County Clerk
Louisiana $68.50 plus fees Louisiana OMV
Maine $33 plus taxes and fees Maine BMV
Maryland $100 plus taxes Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA)
Massachusetts $75 plus taxes and fees Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV)
Michigan $15 plus tax Michigan Department of State
Minnesota $46.25 plus taxes Minnesota Driver and Vehicle Services (DVS)
Mississippi $9 plus fees and taxes Mississippi DOR
Missouri $11 plus taxes Missouri DOR
Montana $12 Montana MVD
Nebraska $10 Nebraska DMV
Nevada $29.95 Nevada DMV
New Hampshire $25 New Hampshire DMV
New Jersey $60 New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC)
New Mexico $5 plus taxes New Mexico MVD
New York $50 plus fees and taxes New York DMV
North Carolina $52 plus taxes North Carolina DMV
North Dakota $5 plus taxes and fees North Dakota Department of Transportation (DOT)
Ohio $15 plus taxes and fees Ohio BMV
Oklahoma $10 plus taxes and fees Oklahoma MVD
Oregon $77 Oregon DMV
Pennsylvania $53 plus taxes and fees Pennsylvania DOT
Rhode Island $51.50 Rhode Island DMV
South Carolina $15 plus taxes South Carolina DMV
South Dakota $10 plus taxes and fees South Dakota DMV
Tennessee $1 plus taxes Tennessee County Clerk
Texas $28 or $33 plus fees Texas DMV
Utah $6 plus taxes Utah DMV
Vermont $35 plus taxes Vermont DMV
Virginia $10 plus taxes Virginia DMV
Washington $12 plus fees Washington State Department of Licensing
West Virginia $15 plus taxes West Virginia DMV
Wisconsin $69.50 plus taxes and fees Wisconsin DMV
Wyoming Fees vary by county Wyoming County Clerk
* Check with your local agency for up-to-date fees.

The Title Transfer Process

The title transfer process is relatively quick and easy. As long as the seller and buyer fill out the old title correctly following a vehicle sale, there should be no problems.
Step 1: Sign and fill out the title. Both the buyer and seller need to sign the title for the car. Information to fill out on the title includes the purchase price, VIN, make and model of the car, the odometer reading, and the names of both the buyer and seller.
Step 2: Request a new title. In order to receive a new title for the car, the buyer needs to visit the local office for the agency that handles car title transfers in their state. This allows state agencies to verify who exactly purchased the vehicle. While at the office, the new owner needs to also pay any title transfer fees and taxes.
Step 3: Wait to receive the new title. Most often, car owners can expect to receive their new title in the mail within 10 days. For a fee, most state agencies can expedite this process so that a car buyer receives the title sooner.
States require a clear line of vehicle ownership in the form of a car title. This allows the proper assigning of fault if an accident happens. Properly transferring a title usually requires you to provide certain information, including proof of insurance.

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