Whether a vehicle's title was lost or damaged, or if you never got the vehicle's title in the first place when it was sold or given to you, you may find yourself in the position of needing to sell a car without a title. While it is illegal in the state of Texas to sell a car without a title, it is possible to first obtain the necessary documentation and proceed with the sale.
Selling Vehicles in Texas
The Texas Department of Motor Vehicles website provides guidance on the legal requirements for buying and selling vehicles in Texas. The sale requires a correct title, which must be transferred to the buyer's name within 30 days from the date of sale of the vehicle. Responsibility for parking tickets, toll violations and similar fines or misdemeanors falls to the vehicle's titleholder, so it's a good idea to make sure the title is promptly transferred to the buyer. A seller could even be held responsible for crimes committed using the sold vehicle if the title is still in their name.
Video of the Day
To execute a legal private sale of a vehicle in Texas, provide the buyer with a properly signed title and a signed Form 130-U. This is the Application for Texas Title and/or Registration, and it must clearly show the car's sale price. The form also asks you to record the odometer reading, whether it's actual, exempt or exceeds mechanical limits.
The odometer and date of sale must also be included on the signed title. The Texas DMV strongly recommends that the buyer and seller go together to the county tax office to ensure the vehicle title application is filed properly.
Sell a Car Without Title
You may need to sell a vehicle that you possess but for which you do not have a copy of the title. A title is required for all legal vehicle sales in Texas, but you can get a copy of your title or a bonded title.
If you have previously possessed a title for the car in Texas or the vehicle has been registered in your name in Texas, you may be able to get a certified copy of your title from the Texas DMV.
This can be done either by mail or in person, though appointments are strongly encouraged if you're applying in person. In both cases, you must submit an Application for a Certified Copy of Title (Form VTR-34) and the payment for the fee, which varies by method of application. All recorded owners of the vehicle must sign the form and provide a copy of their photo ID.
Proving the Vehicle Is Yours
You will need to follow the steps outlined on the Texas DMV page for those who have bought a vehicle without a title. While your intent may be to sell a vehicle in your possession, you must first be able to prove to the state of Texas that the vehicle is yours to sell.
By following the steps on that page, you can purchase a surety bond and apply for a bonded title. This means that an insurance company has done some investigation and is reasonably sure that you are the legal owner of the vehicle. This type of title is sufficient to meet the legal requirements for selling a car in Texas.
Consider also: Requirements for Texas Commercial Vehicle Insurance
- Texas Department of Motor Vehicles: Buying or Selling a Vehicle
- Texas Department of Motor Vehicles: Application for Texas Title and / or Registration
- Texas Department of Motor Vehicles: Get a Copy of Your Vehicle Title
- Texas Department of Motor Vehicles: Application for a Certified Copy of Title
- Texas Department of Motor Vehicles: Bought a Vehicle Without a Title?