How to Sell a Car Without a Title


So, you're ready to sell your vehicle, but you don't have the title. What now? Fortunately, there are a variety of options available to you.

Request a Duplicate

If you've simply misplaced your title, you can submit a simple Application for Duplicate Title to your state's DMV office. If there are other issues with your title, such as an incorrect name, you can quickly correct this through the DMV as well.

You can also request a replacement with an Application for Replacement Certificate of Title from your state. This form will be required if you plan to sell the vehicle to someone in another state. You can also use this form to assign ownership of your vehicle to the new buyer.

Lastly, you may need to request an Affidavit in Lieu of Title form to prove your ownership. They may require the past bill of sale or previous car insurance documents for proof of ownership. Several weeks after submitting this, you'll receive the title.

Does the Bank Hold the Title?

If the bank holds the title, you'll want to speak with the bank about what procedures they require for you to sell your financed vehicle. You'll also want to know what the payoff amount is, which your lender will likely refer to as the "10 day payoff amount." Once you sell the vehicle, you will want to use the proceeds to pay off the loan on the car.

The buyer may feel nervous about purchasing a vehicle that does not have a free and clear title. It's important that you are completely honest and do what you can to put the buyer's mind at ease so they feel comfortable purchasing the risky vehicle. If you don't let them know upfront, they may want to back out of the sale at the last minute.

If you don't have the title at the time of sale, to put the buyer's mind at ease, you can provide the buyer with a bill of sale and intent to get the title to the buyer. Autotrader also recommends having the buyer write you a check for the amount of the outstanding loan and a second check for the remainder of the proceeds. The bank will then send the title to the buyer or the buyer's bank.

Sell It for Quick Cash

Many services that pay cash for your junk car won't require the title at all. They may have some extra forms for you to fill out, but they won't need the title. They may also require that you prove ownership with the vehicle registration and your driver's license. You may not get much for your car, and you may need to sell it for scrap to a local salvage business, but you can still get quick cash for it in no time. If you do sell it for scrap or to a "we buy junk cars" company, you may only get $200–$300 for a vehicle that could sell in the thousands via traditional means.

How Old Is the Vehicle?

If your vehicle is more than 20 model years old, you may not need a title to sell your vehicle. Instead, you can fill out a Supplemental Assignment of Ownership form to indicate the seller and new buyer.

Are You Related to the Title Owner?

If the title is not in your name, but you know the owner, you may be in luck. Many car-buying services, such as, will allow you to sell the car as long as you have a copy of the title holder's driver's license.

Donate It

When all else fails, you can always donate your vehicle. Not every charitable organization will allow this, so you'll need to call your chosen charity and inquire about what they need. Many charities will take the vehicle without a title, as long as the DMV can verify that there are no liens against the car. Some will also accept a notarized signature if you don't have the title.

By donating your vehicle, you can feel good about what you are doing. You can also claim a tax deduction on the donation, which will help once tax time rolls around.

Ask the DMV

When all else fails, simply ask the DMV or visit your state-specific DMV site to see what your options are. They can give you clear instructions on where to go from there and provide you with copies of the forms you will need to fill out to safely sell your vehicle.

Have you ever sold a vehicle without a title? What was your experience like? Please share your thoughts in the comments!

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