Virginia Title Transfer

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To transfer vehicle ownership in Virginia, you’ll need to transfer the title. This can be done in person at your local DMV for a fee of $15.
When you buy or sell a vehicle, there are a few more steps involved than just handing over a set of keys. To make the transaction official, the car title must be transferred to the new owner.
While the process isn’t complicated, there are some details you need to pay attention to. Otherwise, you may not be compliant with the state DMV and the law. To help you get started, the car insurance comparison and broker app Jerry created a guideline on what you need to know about title transfer in Virginia.

What is a title transfer?

The car title indicates who the official owner of the car is. Therefore, to transfer the ownership of the car (e.g. after a sale), you will need to transfer the title. 
Transferring the title is a two-step process that involves the buyer and the seller:
  • The seller must 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 exact process may be different among states. For example, you may be required to provide additional paperwork, such as a bill of sale or transfer of ownership form, to complete the process. Some states may also require you to provide vehicle information like the sales price and current odometer reading.

Who does the title transfer?

Depending on where the vehicle is purchased from, you may be responsible for completing the title transfer. 
If the sale was done privately, the buyer and seller would need to complete the title transfer process. On the other hand, if you purchased the vehicle from a dealership, they will handle the transfer and mail you the vehicle title from the state DMV.
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Reasons for a title transfer

You may need to complete a title transfer for a vehicle for a variety of reasons. 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 Virginia

In Virginia, the vehicle buyer can complete a title transfer in person through the DMV. It must be done within 30 days of the transaction.
To apply for a title transfer, you will need to do the following:
  • Have valid inspection sticker
  • Have your Virginia Certificate of Title—if your certificate title is lost, stolen, or damaged, you’ll need to complete an Application for Replacement of Substitute Title form VSA 67
  • The seller must complete the Assignment of Title by Owner and include the odometer reading
  • The buyer must complete the Application for New Owner Certificate of Title and Registration
  • Have the following information available:
  • Proof of the sale price from the seller
  • A completed Transfer of Certificate of Title with Lien IF the seller's lien is being transferred to the new owner
  • Proof of your VA address, such as your pay stub, utility bill, or bank statement dated within the last two months
  • An Affidavit of Vehicle Purchase Price if you paid more than $1,500 below the vehicle's trade-in value and the vehicle is no more than five years old
From there, follow the instructions from the Virginia DMV. The title transfer fee is $15 plus 4.15% Motor Vehicle Sales and Use Tax (SUT).
If you’ve purchased a car from a Virginia dealership, they will usually handle your title and registration paperwork for you. If not, you will need all the paperwork from the dealer to complete the DMV title transfer yourself.
Once you’ve submitted all the required documentation, the DMV will issue a new electronic or paper title within seven calendar days.
Key Takeaway The DMV will help you through the title transfer process from start to finish. You can choose to receive a paper or electronic title when you are done!

Registering a car in Virginia

Once the title has been transferred, you’ll need to register the vehicle. Your vehicle registration verifies that you can legally drive on the streets. The registration validity can be for one year or multi-year (based on eligibility).
You can renew your registration online, through the mail, or at any DMV Select or mobile office. However, there is a $1 discount if you register online.
In Virginia, registering your vehicle costs $40.75 per year for vehicles less than 4,000 pounds and $45.75 per year for vehicles over 4,000 pounds. In addition, you’ll need to pay the following:
Electric Vehicle Fee$64Additional cost if you are driving an electric vehicle
Other fees may apply based on the type of vehicle, license plate type, county of residence, or driving record. A $1 per year discount is offered for multi-year registrations, up to three years

Finding insurance for your vehicle

Before you can start driving your newly titled and registered vehicle, you’ll need car insurance to legally drive on the roads.
Using Jerry, the car insurance broker app, can save you the hassle of finding the best coverage at affordable prices. Jerry will present you with customized quotes from over 50 brand-name insurance carriers so that you can pick the policy that works best for you. Jerry will then handle the rest of the paperwork and phone calls so that you won’t have to worry about it.
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If you have a loan on your vehicle, the title transfer process may be more complicated. Contact your lender to find out what the proper procedure is to sell a car with a loan and how the transaction should proceed.
The title will have a line that says “seller’s signature.” If two people are on the title, then both will need to sign on the same line. There is a separate line for the buyer’s signature.        

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