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Can you sell a car without a title?

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Do you want to sell your vehicle, but don’t have a title? 

There are plenty of reasons why your car may not have its title handy: it has been lost, stolen, or damaged, it’s an abandoned vehicle, or it’s an old vehicle that never needed to be titled. 

Luckily, you do have some options. 

Can you sell a car without a title?

It depends. 

Technically, yes, you can sell your vehicle without a title. 

However, your options for selling it will be limited. And, without a title, the buyer will typically have a harder time getting the vehicle registered and titled in their name (in most cases). 

In some states, selling a vehicle without a title may be illegal. Check with your state’s laws before proceeding. 

Selling a car without a title means that your options are limited to private sales only. Rellers, dealers, junk yards, and corporate car buyers will require a valid title to buy a car off of you. 

So, if you want to sell a car without a title, you’ll need to find a private party buyer. 

In many cases, trying to sell your vehicle without a title is going to reduce your pool of interested buyers and reduce the price you’ll be able to get for the vehicle. 

But, there are exceptions. 

Some states, like Vermont, don’t issue titles for older vehicles (older than 15 years old). In these cases a Bill of Sale and/or old registration documents can typically serve as proof of ownership. 

(How to Get a Title from a Bill of Sale)

In other states, like California, you can complete a title transfer and request for a replacement title at the same time. 

Learn more about how to sell your car

How to Sell your Car Without a Title

Since the vehicle title serves as legal proof of ownership, it’s an important document to have and it will make selling your car much easier. 

The easiest way to sell your car when it doesn’t have a title is to first get a duplicate title. 

Most states make it easy to get a replacement title if you’re the owner on record. In many cases, you can do it online, by mail, or in person at your local DMV office. 

Next, whether you can get a duplicate title or not, be sure to provide your buyer will all the necessary documentation, including:

Basically, you need to be able to prove that you are the rightful owner of the vehicle you are selling. Failing to do so can get you in trouble. 

Be sure to make copies and retain them for your own records as well. 

How to Buy a Car Without a Title

If you’re buying in a sale where the vehicle doesn’t have a title, you’ll want to be sure to protect yourself. 

First, you should confirm that the person selling the car is the true owner of the car. Some of your options include:

Once you complete the transaction, it will be your responsibility to get the vehicle titled, registered, and insured. 

You’ll definitely want to make sure to get a signed bill of sale from the seller as well as any other documentation they may have. 

Next, you’ll need to apply for a title and registration through your state DMV. 

If the title is missing because the state doesn’t issue titles for older vehicles, you should be able to register it with the bill of sale. 

However, if the vehicle does require a title, you’ll likely need to take the steps to get one before you’re able to title and register it in your name. If the seller is able to request a duplicate during or before the transaction, you’ll have a much easier time. 

Need more information? VINvaquero.com has the resources you need when buying or selling a car, truck, motorcycle, or other vehicle: