How to Obtain a Change of Ownership Form for a Car

Written by smokey yokems
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How to Obtain a Change of Ownership Form for a Car
It's all yours, after the paperwork! (key image by Fantasista from Fotolia.com)

Vehicle ownership is tracked for safety and tax purposes by each state's Department of Motor Vehicles. The change of ownership form (sometimes referred to as the "title transfer application" or "transfer of ownership application" ) is the clerical mechanism that documents your financial responsibility for the vehicle. The only fees required are normal registration fees and taxes. No third party is required.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Vehicle title, signed over by previous owner
  • Bill of sale for purchased vehicle
  • Your driver's license

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Call your state's Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and ask if a notary signature, smog emisions data or any other special details are required to complete a transfer of ownership application in your state. Also ask if it is possible to download the form in advance via the Internet.

  2. 2

    Collect the bill of sale and the orginal title of ownership from the previous owner. Be sure that the previous owner has signed the title over to you using the form provided on the back of the title. If possible, download the transfer of ownership form from your state's Department of Motor Vehicles website and fill in the necessary information before visiting the DMV offices.

  3. 3

    Visit the DMV, taking with you the bill of sale, the original title of ownership and your driver's license. If the transfer of ownership form was not available online, request and complete the transfer of ownership form at the DMV.

  4. 4

    Go to your city or town tax collector's office to complete the final registration process and pay required excise taxes.

Tips and warnings

  • There are third-party transfer of vehicle ownership services offered on the Internet that require a fee. These are unnecessary and likely illegitimate. The only transfer forms you should complete are those that are acquired directly from your state's Department of Motor Vehicles.

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