How To Sell A Car Without A Title: Easy Steps to Take

Selling a car without a title is the process of selling a vehicle without the necessary paperwork that would normally be required to transfer ownership. 

A car without a title means that the car has no plates, no loans and most likely no insurance.

This can happen for several reasons, such as when the original owner has lost the title or it was never issued in the first place.

Selling a car without a title, especially in the USA, can be tricky and often requires special steps to ensure that all legal requirements are met. In this article, we will discuss what selling a car without a title entails and how to go about it safely.

Read also: How Does Trading In A Car Work?

Step-by-Step Guide For Selling A Car Without A Title

To sell an automobile, a title is required. The majority of lenders demand payment of the note before releasing the title if you owe money on the automobile. You may go to California or Texas, register your vehicle there for a fee, and acquire a title there for automobiles that are at least 15 years old without having to reside there. A title for an abandoned car is available in several states.

You’re attempting to sell an automobile, but you lack a title. Normally, this would be alarming. However, there is occasionally a completely reasonable justification: 

The vehicle was abandoned on your property, or payments are still outstanding on it; a lender has a claim on the vehicle; or you failed to title the vehicle when you initially bought it.

In the event that the automobile is indeed stolen, you should call the police right away. There are methods to sell a car without a title, despite the fact that most countries forbid buying or selling a car without ownership documentation. It implies you will have to put in more effort to obtain a new one.

When selling a car without a title, how you go about it depends on your specific situation as well as the state in which you’re conducting business. The following steps will guide you on how to go about selling your car without a title;

1. Make a Title Replacement Request

You must get in touch with your neighborhood department of motor vehicles to learn how to get a new title if the old one is lost, damaged, or stolen. For further information, including how much it will cost to replace or duplicate the title, you may also visit the DMV website.

Remember that most DMVs will not consider a title to be legitimate if the odometer reading number or any other element of the title has changed, and the paperwork will need to be reprinted.

2. Investigate Other Titling Options

Again, every state is unique, although some provide a means of titling an abandoned vehicle or a car with a stack of unpaid maintenance bills.

If the necessary paperwork is presented, you can, for example, file a mechanic’s lien in Virginia for unpaid debts.

 A title for a wrecked car can also be requested. In this procedure, the state makes an effort to get in touch with the last person who had the car in order to provide them with a right of first refusal. The VIN (vehicle identification number) is used in this process.

3. Put together a bill of sale

Selling a car without a title makes sense when it’s that old because some jurisdictions didn’t start issuing titles until as recently as 1975. A bill of sale could be sufficient evidence of ownership in that situation. Check your state’s laws governing the presentation of a bill of sale if this is the case. In certain places, the bill of sale must be on a state form.

The majority of states want a bill of sale form, which you may download or get at a DMV office.

4. Obtain a Notary

Even if you don’t need it, generally speaking, it’s not a terrible idea to get your bill of sale notarized. Selling a car without a title can be legalized by having a state representative witness the transfer of ownership.

Once more, laws differ from state to state and county to county. Make sure you are aware of the laws that pertain to you.

5. Be Honest with Your Customer

Make sure the buyer is aware right away that you lack the necessary paperwork to complete a legal transaction if you don’t have a title and are unable to obtain one, as may be the situation with an older project or parts car.

Most lenders demand that you pay off the loan before releasing the title if you owe money on the vehicle. However, if the buyer is prepared to settle your debt or take over your payments, you might be able to negotiate a transfer through the lender.

6. Always Make Copies of Everything

Keep copies of all ownership documentation even after you’ve sold the car and it’s long since vanished. You can’t be certain that the new owner will title the car, and you don’t want to be held responsible for any potential future events surrounding that car.

Additionally, you’ll be prepared if there are any ownership concerns in the future (say, if someone contacts you about a claim for an abandoned vehicle).

7. Give your state notice of the sale.

Make sure the state where the automobile’s title was issued is aware of the sale when you sell a car. As soon as you have penned the bill of sale, notify the DMV. By doing this, you can avoid paying additional taxes and fees.

8. Register your vehicle 

This is a sneaky tool for those without titles, but it only works on automobiles that are at least 15 years old. If you submit a bill of sale and pay the fees and taxes the state asks for registration, you may register your car in California or Texas because they want (no, need) your money. For automobiles older than 15 years, California or Texas just demand registration as evidence of ownership; thus, in the other 48 states, that document will suffice.

The bill of sale does not require notarization and may be typed or written by hand. The only information you need is the vehicle’s VIN, the date and price of the purchase, and the names of the buyer and seller. This won’t work if your automobile is less than 15 years old. However, you ought to give it a title nonetheless.

Read also: How To Sell Your Car On Craigslist Without Getting Scammed

What Documents Are Required to Sell a Car Without a Title?

In this particular case, you have to put together a bill of sale.

The most crucial document required to transfer a title is a bill of sale. To get a bill of sale template, go to the website of your state’s secretary of state, or DMV.

A bill of sale could be sufficient evidence of ownership in that situation. Check your state’s laws governing the presentation of a bill of sale if this is the case. In certain places, the bill of sale must be on a state form.

How to Fix Written Mistake on Car Title When Selling

Inform your DMV in writing that the title is incorrect by contacting them. This is critical; you can always write her a letter or send her an email.

have a duplicate title issued by the DMV.

Contact the prior owner if they are to blame for the title problem and ask them to accurately fill out the new car title.

Make any necessary changes to your alternative title to correct any errors.

People also read: Selling an Upside Down Car to CarMax

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can you go to jail for selling a car without a title?

Yes, in some cases, if the procedure is not carried out step-by-step as it should, you can be subject to fines and even jail time as well. You may even still be held legally liable for the automobile.

Can you sell a car without a title?

Generally, trying to sell an automobile without a title is prohibited. You must thus order a fresh replacement title for the automobile if you are trying to sell it without one.

How do I register a vehicle without a title?

You will need to buy a surety bond and submit an application for a bonded title to your state government if you don’t have a title to show that you are the owner of a car and can’t get in touch with the person who sold it to you. For information about what qualifies you for a bonded title in your state, visit the DMV website.
1.Check a DMV website for the requirements in your state
2. Contact the former owner.
3. Fill out the necessary paperwork together.

Is it legal to sell a car without a title?

It is not illegal. The difficulty increases. Depending on your state’s legislation, you may seek a lost or stolen title application.
Can you register a car with a bill of sale and no title in Washington?
After a car is purchased and sold, Washington requires a bill of sale to transfer the title and register the vehicle. Use the form that the state offers, or make your own.


What to Know About Selling a Car Without a Title has been explicitly discussed in the content of this article. However, it is always best when selling any car to have a recent, valid registration with the title. When you sell your car without a title, you are essentially trading in the old registration and title for cash. This can be done at most dealerships or over the phone with an individual who trades in cars.

It is important that you know that some states require that any vehicle sold without a title or registration have all safety inspections completed before being traded in. For more information on what specific steps will need to be taken, consult your state.

Several jurisdictions, notably Texas and California, offer titles for abandoned vehicles, even if you don’t live there. Learn how to obtain a new title by visiting the DMV website. If the odometer reading or any other aspect of the title has been altered, the majority of DMVs will not accept it as valid.



You May Also Like