Auto Title Transfers in Texas: How-it-Works and what YOU need to know

Houstonians love their cars and trucks and need them to get around our big city! Houston Notary Solutions works with many car sellers and buyers, notarizing important documents that will be needed for title registration.

This post aims to share some common knowledge for sellers and buyers of used automobiles, and we recommend using this information as a guide to your title registration.

What the Texas DMV says

A title transfer is a process of transferring the ownership rights of a motor vehicle between two legal entities.

In most cases the title transfer process of a previously titled automobile, occurs at the time of sale. But the DMV reminds us that ” it may also be performed when getting a car as gift, inheritance or donation.”

What is an Auto Title and what purpose does it serve?

In the United States, the certificate of title for a vehicle is a legal form, establishing a person or business as the legal operator of a vehicle. Sometimes this is refered to as a pink slip. (credit: Wikipedia). In Texas, the TXDMV issues these to be used as ownership of the vehicle. Please note, the Department for Motor Vehicles is not the same as Department of Public Safety, as they handle issuances of driver’s licenses.

When and How to Transfer a Title

Title transfer is mandatory when individuals are:

  • Buying or Selling a vehicle
  • Receiving a vehicle as a gift
  • Inheriting a vehicle

Certain documents will be required to transfer the title depending on what the circumstance is. According to the Texas DMV website, the following documentation may be required at time of title transfer:

  • Texas Motor Vehicle Transfer Notification (form VTR-346)
  • Certificate of title assigned to the buyer
  • Application for Texas Title and/or Registration (form 130-U)
  • Release of lien, if applicable
  • Power of attorney, if needed
  • Proof of liability car insurance
  • Vehicle Inspection Report (VIR), if a record of current inspection is not available
  • The DMV reminds too that a bill of sale may be required

How to Register?

Once the individual has collected the proper paperwork and documentation for the title transfer to occur, they must visit their local DMV branch. Commonly title transferring candidates will ask if it can be done in another county, and the answer is no. Find a location near you using the search option on the TXDMV site.

How can I find Forms for Car Title Transfers: Needed forms can be found online here.

Time Allowed?

How Much Time Do you Have to complete Transfer? Title transfers must take place 30 days within the date of the sale.

What to do if the title has been lost; can the TXDMV help a seller who has misplaced the title?

Yes. Things happen. The Texas DMV will absolutely help a seller replace a lost or destroyed title. The owner(s) must present valid identification to obtain a replacement. Replacement requests can be made by US Mail, or, in person. For lost titles, complete the Application for a Certified Copy of Title, found online. If more than one owner exists, please note that each owner will need to provide information.

What about title transfers for circumstances as a gift or inheritance? The title transfer application will be the Beneficiary Designation of a Motor Vehicle.

What Else Should I know about the Title Transfer?

1) Make sure you have the most recent Vehicle Inspection Report. The TXDMV site states: “The Vehicle Inspection Report (VIR), which is proof of inspection, also must be provided if a record of current inspection is not in the state database. Ask the seller for a copy of the latest VIR if it is available.”

2.) Title application processing time is generally 20 days, and the Texas DMV suggests contacting them to check on the title transfer if more than 30 days have passed.

3.) Be prepared for the sales tax that will be due at time of registration. When buying from an individual expect a motor vehicle sales tax of (6.25 percent). Your county tax office can help you estimate the fees, but at time of registration the title, registration and local fees are also due.

In Conclusion

Also, keep in mind, in order to maintain the integrity and validity of your title be sure:

  • That you do not use pencil or marker to sign or write on your title. ONLY blue or black ink is allowed.
  • Never cross out or strikethrough text or writing on the title.
  • Additionally, never try to use white-out or any similar product. This will negate and void your title. Handle with care.
  • This is an important document. Do not rip, tear, or use glue or apply tape to the title.

Houston Notary Solutions can help you with your notarized documentation. Call us today at 713-357-1924.

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