Are you buying a vehicle in California? If your answer is yes, follow these vehicle title transfer steps to get your new vehicle title in the Golden State.
Unless you bought your new car from an auto dealership, the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) requires drivers to transfer the title in their name.
Buying a vehicle from a private seller
The CA DMV requires drivers to transfer the title in their name within 10 days after the purchase date of their vehicles. During this procedure, the seller should provide buyers with the required documents and signature to accelerate the title transfer.
Buyers should go to a local DMV agency and present the following items:
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- A completed Certificate of Title with the Seller section filled and signed.
- The odometer mileage added on the title. This applies to vehicles that are under 10 years old.
- Proof of smog certification (the seller should give it to the buyer to complete the transfer).
- Payment for the vehicle title transfer fee that accounts for $15 and use tax fees.
It looks easy but consider the following items if applicable:
In the certificate of title, buyers must outline any lien releases on the appropriate lines (if applicable).
If the title was lost, buyers need to fill in an Application for Duplicate or Transfer of Title. Both, buyers and sellers, must sign the document.
If the title was lost, complete the Lien Satisfied/ Legal Owner/ Title Holder Release form to specify any release of lienholder. Note that this form must be notarized before submission.
Sometimes the seller is not the person listed on the title. In this situation, buyers must include all bills of sale to show the changes in ownership leading up to the final transaction.
It could also be that buyers don’t have enough space on their title to record the mileage. Here buyers and sellers need to complete and sign a Vehicle /Vessel Transfer and Reassignment Form.
Buyers are also exempted from giving proof of smog certification if they bought a vehicle that is equal or less than 4 years old. All they have to do is pay an $8 smog transfer fee instead.
As you can see on the list of requirements, this procedure has some fees that buyers must pay to obtain their new title in California. Note that the DMV accepts cash, debit/credit cards, and cashier checks or money orders.
Transfer your California title online now
Title transfers is an important procedure that serves to demonstrate individual or business ownership of a vehicle. The requirements vary from state to state, and it’s the buyer’s responsibility to fulfill all those requirements.
At the same time, the sooner a buyer transfer the title, the better for both parties (the buyer and the seller). It’s in your best interest to be aware of this procedure for your own protection.
Did you know that eTags offers California vehicle title transfers online? It’s fast, easy, and hassle free.