Title Transfer New York

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To transfer ownership of a vehicle in New York, both the seller and the buyer need to complete a title transfer. This can be done at your local DMV for a baseline fee of $50 with additional charges that vary by county. 
The transfer process typically occurs when someone buys or sells a vehicle. In New York, it begins with signing the back of the title and ends with the new owner registering the vehicle in their name. 
An important note: you will need a New York State car insurance plan before you proceed with registration.
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What is a title transfer? 

A title is used to assign ownership of a vehicle. When a seller—or current owner—completes a title transfer, they are transferring their ownership to the new owner. 
The transaction involves separate steps for each party:
  • The seller releases ownership by signing the title
  • The buyer, or new owner, takes the signed title to the DMV where the state will issue a new title and registration
The process varies by state. In New York, the seller and buyer may need to fill out more forms depending on the nature of the transfer and the age and condition of the vehicle. 

Who does the title transfer? 

If you are buying (or selling) a vehicle from a dealership—the dealership will handle all the paperwork and issue the title from the state DMV to you by mail. 
If this is a private purchase or gift, the paperwork is the responsibility of the buyer and seller

Reasons for a title transfer 

The most likely reasons for a title transfer are buying or selling a car or changing residency
However, there are several other reasons why a title transfer may take place:
  • Vehicle was donated
  • Vehicle was gifted
  • Vehicle was inherited 
  • Vehicle loan was paid off
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Car title transfer in New York

In New York State, the current owner must complete the “transfer by owner” section on the back of the title to officially transfer ownership to the buyer, or new owner. 
If this section has already been filled out—or if there are any cross-outs, alterations, or erasures of any kindyou must obtain a new title before you can transfer ownership
Note: if the title is from Alaska, Arizona, Hawaii, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Washington, Wyoming, or Puerto Rico the transfer section must also be notarized
During this process, the seller must:
  • Complete and sign a Vehicle Bill of Sale form
    • If the vehicle was a giftsection 6 on page 2 of the Statement of Transaction must be signed
    • If the vehicle was inherited from a deceased owner—the NY DMV has published this checklist to follow
  • Provide a lien release to the buyer if the vehicle was previously on loan
    • This form is filled out by lienholders once loans are paid in full 
The buyer must then bring to the DMV:
  • Proof of ownership 
    • This includes the title and title transfer documents 
      • Note—the buyer must also sign the Vehicle Bill of Sale form
    • This may also include the original lien release 
  • Proof of identification
  • Valid New York State insurance 
  • Payment for fees
If the vehicle model is 20 years old or newer, the Odometer Disclosure Statement must be filled out in the transfer section, as well. The Damage Disclosure Statement must be completed regardless of the vehicle’s age. 
Once the transfer paperwork has been signed, the seller must remove the old license plates and registration stickers from the vehicle. The license plates must be returned to the NY DMV. 
Key Takeaway: The seller must fill out and sign the transfer section on the back of the title, as well as a Bill of Sale form or Statement of Transaction. They must provide the buyer with the original lien release if the vehicle was previously financed.

Registering a car in New York

The new owner must obtain new license plates and register the vehicle in their name in order to legally drive on the streets
In New York, the cost of registration begins at $26 for vehicles under 1,650lbs and increases $1.50 for every 100lbs after. This is a biennial fee. Other fees include:
Title Certificate Fee$50
Sales TaxvariesAmount depends on purchase price and locality
Vehicle Use Tax$30/2 yearsOnly applicable to Bronx, Kings, New York, Queens, and Richmond counties
Metropolitan Commuter Transport District (MCTD) Fee$50/2 yearsOnly applicable to the 12 MCTD counties
County Use Tax$10-$20+/yearAmount depends on county and vehicle weight, only applicable to counties outside of New York City
The process will vary for those moving to New York with an out-of-state vehicle. Remember—you must register your vehicle within 30 days of becoming a resident or you may face late fees. You must also get a New York state driver’s license within 30 days.  

Finding insurance for your vehicle

You need a valid New York State insurance policy to register a vehicle in the state. But finding insurance can be stressful and time-consuming. 
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You will likely need to contact your lender to see how this transaction can be handled. The state typically does not accept title transfers with liens unless a lien release is provided, as well.
On the back of your title, there is a section labeled “transfer by owner.” This needs to be filled out by the seller and signed by both the seller and the buyer on the designated lines. If this section has been previously filled out or is marked in any way, you need to request a new title from the DMV.

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