Title Transfer Wisconsin

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If you want to transfer vehicle ownership in Wisconsin, you’ll need to transfer the title. This can be done in person at your local DMV for a fee of $164.50.
After a vehicle is sold, the title of the car must be transferred to the new owner to complete the transaction officially.
While the process is quite simple, you still need to prepare a few documents and will need to have some information handy to ensure the process goes smoothly. Some forms also need to be filled out correctly to be compliant with the state DMV and the law. 
To ensure you don’t miss anything, the car insurance comparison and broker app Jerry has consolidated the key points to help you get started with a title transfer in Wisconsin.

What is a title transfer?

Car ownership is proven by the name on the car title. In other words, if you want to transfer the ownership of the car, you must transfer the title to the new owner.
Transferring the title will require the following:
  • The seller needs to sign the title to release ownership of the car
  • The buyer then takes the signed title to the DMV to get a new title and registration issued by the state
The process differs among states, depending on their laws and requirements. As an example, some may require additional documents, such as a bill of sale or transfer of ownership form. Some states may also require more vehicle information like the sales price and current odometer reading.

Who does the title transfer?

If the transaction was a private sale, the buyer must immediately apply for a Wisconsin car title transfer. If the vehicle was purchased from a dealership, the dealership will typically handle the transfer and mail you the vehicle title from the state DMV.
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Reasons for a title transfer

Many circumstances require a title transfer, the most common reasons are a change of residency or buying or selling a car
Other reasons for a title change include:
  • Donating a vehicle
  • Gifting a vehicle
  • Inheriting a vehicle
  • Paying off a vehicle loan

Car title transfer in Wisconsin

In Wisconsin, the vehicle buyer can complete a title transfer in person, online, or by mail through the DMV. It must be done immediately after the transaction.
To apply for a title transfer, you will need to submit the following to the DMV:
Online and by mail
  • Available for cars, trucks up to 8,000 pounds, SUVs, and Motorcycles
  • You will need the vehicle title with all assignment information completed by the seller and you, including:
    • Odometer reading (for cars less than 20 years old)
    • Lien release if a previous loan has been paid in full
  • Visit the WI DMV eMV Public page to start your application
  • You will need to provide:
    • The last four digits of your Social Security number
    • Driver's license information
    • Date of birth
  • Print your receipt and mail it, along with the title, payment for the title transfer fees, and any other related documents, to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT).
In person
  • For those who cannot use the online or by mail application, you can apply for the title transfer in person at a DMV office location 
  • You will need to submit the following:
    • Current original title, assigned to you by the seller
      • Your name and address
      • Odometer reading (if the car is less than 10 years old)
    • Completed Title/License Plate Application
    • Valid ID
    • Plates to transfer (if applicable)
    • Payment for fees and taxes
    • Completed Application for Certificate of Title
    • Notarized Bill of Sale form if the car was sold for less than 50% of current book value
      • Include a copy of the buyer’s and seller’s driver’s license
      • The price on the bill of sale must match the sale price listed on the title certificate
      • Without the bill of sale for a vehicle with a purchase price under 50% of the current value, you will pay the full sales tax based on the current value
    • Proof of identification
    • Proof of Wisconsin auto insurance
    • Letter of lien release (if applicable)
    • Payment for the title fee and sales tax
From there, follow the instructions from the Wisconsin DMV and have your vehicle inspected within three days. The title transfer fee is $164.50.
If you buy a car from a dealership in Wisconsin, the dealer is required to submit all titling paperwork, title fees, and sales tax payments for you.
Key Takeaway The WI DMV offers multiple ways to apply for a title transfer, including online, by mail, and in person!

Registering a car in Wisconsin

You’ll also need to register your vehicle within 60 days at the DMV after transferring the title. The registration is renewed annually. 
In Wisconsin, registering your vehicle costs $75 for passenger vehicles. In addition, you’ll need to pay the following:
Wheel Tax-Assessed for vehicles 8,000 pounds or less
Electric Vehicle Fee$200Additional cost if you are driving an electric vehicle
Hybrid Vehicle Fee$100Addition cost if you are driving a hybrid vehicle
Other fees may apply based on your vehicle type and weight, location, plate type, and more. 
Finding insurance for your vehicle
Before you drive off in your new vehicle, you’ll need to have valid car insurance. 
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If there is a loan on your vehicle, you will have a few extra steps to transfer the title. Contact your lender for the proper steps to sell the car with a loan.
The car title is the proof of ownership and you should not purchase a vehicle without receiving a title signed by the previous owner. The seller will need to get a title replacement to complete the sale properly.

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