How to Sell a Car without a Title

Wondering How to Sell a Car without a Title?

If you need to know how to sell a car without a tile, the answer is you can’t. A title indicates to the Department of Motor Vehicles who the owner of an automobile is, so if you don’t have a title document, you shouldn’t try selling your car. Instead you need to file a “lost title” form, so you have a proper government-issued title document.

What Is a Car Title?

A vehicle title is a legal document which establishes a person as the legal owner of an automobile. The car title is sometimes known as an auto title or pink slips, while some people even call car titles “pinks”. When obtaining a car title, the proper authority is an individual state DMV, or Department of Motor Vehicles.

Car Title Information

Car titles differ slightly from one state to the next, but most of them contain similar information. Below is a list of common pieces of information on a vehicle title. Once you see the information conveyed, you’ll see what you can’t sell your car without a title.

  • License Plate Number
  • Vehicle Identification Number
  • Car Make
  • Year of Manufacture
  • Gross Vehicle Weight
  • Purchase Price When New
  • Motive Power
  • Taxation Regime
  • Legal Owner or Lienholder

Remember that many people require a loan to buy a car. Until the buyer pays off the loan, the creditor is considered the legal owner of the car, and they hold the title. When you sell a car you don’t own, you need to be able to pay off that loan.

How to Pay Off a Car Loan?

This is a special case that some people might be talking about when they ask the question, “Can you sell a car without a title?”

Imagine you took out a car loan in order to pay for a new car. Then imagine you want to sell the car, but you owe more on the car than the car’s worth.

In this case, you’ll need to look in a Kelly Blue Book or other auto price guide to determine the difference you own. (Read more about this at how much is my car worth?) Figure out how much more money you owe on your loan, then figure out how much the car is worth, then use this to determine your selling price. Hopefully, if you do this, you’ll be able to get this value when selling the car to a new owner.

In either instance, agree to the price of your sell. Contact the holder of the title (the lender) and let them know you’re selling the auto, and you need the car title. This is going to take a few days, because most banks keep their vehicle titles in a central location away from the local office.

Fill out paperwork that transfers the title to the new owner. You’ll be paying off your car loan, which transfers the title to you (temporarily), which then gets transferred to the new buyer.

Paying off Your Car Loan

How To Sell a Car Without a TitleOnce you have the money from the sale of your car, you’ll need to make up the difference out of pocket. If you have the money in savings, this is best, since you won’t owe interest. If not, you’ll need to talk to a local bank or credit union about getting a loan to pay off the old loan.

This might sound ridiculous, since you’re borrowing money to pay off other borrowed money, but the car loan is bigger and the interest is likely higher, so it saves you money to establish a smaller loan to pay off your car loan.

Replacement Car Tips

Now that you’ve paid for the privilege of getting out of your old car loan (and old car), you’ll need to buy a new car. You’ve already taken a bath on the car you just sold, so you might want to buy a cheap replacement car for a year or two, until you can save up a down payment on a new car. In this case, don’t pay more than a thousand or two-thousand dollars for the new car, and try to pay cash (to avoid paying interest again).

What Is a Title Loan?

Those researching whether you can sell your car without a title might have come across an unfamiliar term: “title loan”. A “title loan” is a loan with the title of your auto as collateral. A title loan tends to be at least $1000 or more, and can go up to about 50% of the value of the car. State laws determine the exact amount you can get on a title loan, but the interest rate is usually higher than on most loans.

On the other hand, lenders don’t tend to view your credit history when offering a title loan, since the title of your car secures the loan. The owner of the auto must have full insurance on the car, but the lending process tends to be quick – sometimes as little as 15 minutes.

Replacing Lost Auto Titles

I mentioned earlier that you can’t sell a car without a title, because you have to prove ownership. People lose documents all the time, so every state has to have a process by which you can replace your car title. State laws are going to vary, but I wanted to include general tips for how to replace your lost car title.

Gather Ownership Documentation

Gather documentation to present to the Department of Motor Vehicles in your state. Below are items you’ll need to prove you are the owner of the automobile, so you’ll be able to sell your car after having lost your car title.

  • Photo ID, like a Driver’s License
  • Copy of Vehicle Registration
  • License Plate Number
  • Vehicle Identification Number, sometimes known as “VIN”

If you still owe on the car, you aren’t the legal owner of the vehicle. In this case, you need to contact to the lender who made your car loan, which needs to file for a lost title with their local DMV. When doing so, they’ll have to pay fees, so you may have to cover these costs.

If you haven’t paid off your car loan, contact your lender via phone or in person to learn their policy on replacing a lost car title.

Contact the Local DMV

Once you have your documentation ready, obtaining a replacement copy of a vehicle title is done at the Department of Motor Vehicles. Call ahead to see if your local state laws require additional documentation. While discussing these concerns, also ask about additional fees the DMV charges.

After applying for a replacement car title, wait anywhere between four days and a few weeks for your auto title to come through the mail.

Can You Sell a Car without a Title?

So you can’t sell your car without a title, but you can find ways to replace the title on your car. Losing your car title means might have to wait several weeks to sell your vehicle legally. When you make a purchase of your new vehicle, it’s better to take the title you get and place it in a home safe, so you don’t have to go through the process of replacing a car title.

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