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Can You Sell a Car Without a Title

Can You Sell a Car Without a Title- BESTBID

Sooner or later, most vehicle owners reach the point where they are ready to part ways with their car, truck, or SUV. Whether selling to a private buyer or simply taking it to a dealership, there are always a few paperwork requirements for the seller to complete. Among the most important paperwork requirements is the transfer of title.

But what happens if you can't locate the title? Can you sell a car without the title... and if so, what are the steps involved? The short answer is that determining how to sell a car without a title will depend very much on the state in which you live.

What is a Car Title?

When it comes to vehicle ownership, the title is really the most important legal document. In most cases, the state where the car is registered issues the title, which proves ownership of the car, truck, motorcycle, or motorized vehicle in question.

The title lists the owner's name and address and a description of the vehicle, including its make, model, year, and vehicle identification number (VIN). The titleholder transfers the title to the receiving party when they privately buy or sell a car. If the seller of a car doesn't have the title, it's a red flag that the vehicle could be stolen or otherwise illegally obtained.

It's important to note that the title and the bill of sale are not the same thing, though they are often conflated. Indeed, the title is both separate and essential, not least because it's necessary to register a vehicle and establish car ownership in case of a car accident or legal dispute. A bill of sale is insufficient for these activities.

How to Sell a Car Without a Title

As for how to sell a car without a title, there are a few steps that vehicle owner may consider.

Request a Duplicate Title

A car owner can request a duplicate vehicle title through their local DMV office if the original title is lost, stolen, or damaged. The DMV may require additional documentation such as proof of purchase or a signed affidavit stating that the original title was lost or damaged.

Apply for a Local Exemption Title

Vehicles that are 15 or 25 years old are often title exempt. A bill of sale is required if a vehicle qualifies as title exempt. It is essential to prove ownership of a car less than 15 years old. Some states require a bill of sale for cars at least 15 years old. Contact the Department of Motor Vehicles or the Bureau of Motor Vehicles to determine the specific requirements.

How to Sell a Car Without a Title in California

For those who live in the Golden State, it's really not too complicated to sell a car without a title. If the original title is lost, stolen, or damaged, simply complete and submit a REG 227 Replacement or Paperless Title form to receive a duplicate title.

If the seller is applying for a duplicate title and transferring the car to a new owner, the DMV requires both the seller and the buyer's signatures.

Complete the REG 227 in California

If the seller is applying for a duplicate title and transferring the car to a new owner, the DMV requires the seller and the buyer's signatures.

1. Application for Duplicate or Transfer of Title (also known as REG 227)

Information Needed to Complete this Document:

- Registered owner's full name and address

- Owner's driver's license number

- The vehicle's license plate number

- A statement of what happened to the original title

- Pay the fee with a check, credit card, or money order

- Damaged title, if applicable

Pay the Duplicate Title Fee

After submitting the form and required documents, you'll have to pay for your title copy. Fees vary depending on vehicle type.

- If you request an express title or have it printed on-site, you'll need to pay an additional fee.

- The CA DMV website will list the duplicate title fee.

You may apply by mail, in person, or online.

Pay By Mail:

Department of Motor Vehicles

Vehicle Registration Operations

P.O. Box 942869

Sacramento, CA 94269


Apply in person at a nearby DMV, but remember to bring a valid California driver's license for ID purposes. Alternatively, the online appointment portal makes a DMV appointment quick and easy.

Need further instructions? Check out this step-by-step guide on how to apply for a replacement California Certificate of Title.

How to Sell a Car Without a Title: Special Circumstances

What about vehicle owners who need to sell a car that no longer runs, a car that's been abandoned, or a car with a lien on it? Consider a few guidelines.

Ways to Sell a Non-Running Car Without a Title

Salvage yards frequently purchase cars without titles to sell for scraps and parts.

However, they typically pay less than a private sale.

Also, a car owner can advertise the sale of car parts through an ad on Craigslist, eBay, or Facebook Marketplace.

Ways to Sell an Abandoned Vehicle Without a Title

Cars are often left abandoned on another person's property for long periods. Even though people frequently park on other people's land without permission, they typically don't intend to leave their vehicles.

Getting an abandoned vehicle title requires a fee and is an involved process. It takes 60-90 days to complete its research and there is no guarantee of receiving a title. The DMV requires a VIN, vehicle photos, and paperwork when registering an abandoned vehicle.

Selling a Car Without a Title-That Has a Lien

You may sell your car to BestBid if you do not have the title, but your lender does; BestBid can work with the lender to pay off the vehicle and get the title from them. All BestBid needs is a valid ID matching the vehicle registration name and the loan.

There are a number of reasons why a vehicle might have a lien on it, including:

- The vehicle loan is still outstanding

- Unpaid repairs or maintenance may be the culprit

- Someone used the vehicle as collateral in a separate transaction

The DMV requires a letter from the lender verifying the seller fulfilled the loan and no longer has an interest in the vehicle to get the title.

No Title? Sell to BestBid

Even if you don't have a title, it's still possible to sell your vehicle without too much hassle to BestBid. Sellers in California may wish to consider the easy process provided by BestBid. To find out more about BestBid's straightforward online process, feel free to contact us directly.

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