buying a car with no title
I have had fourteen years experience buying used cars from private owners. When it’s time to finish the transaction I ask the seller “Where is the title?” The seller is usually confused and doesn’t know what I’m talking about. Sometimes, the seller thinks the registration can act as the title. Some private sellers know what the title is but lost it. A lot of private sellers think they can just sell you the car with no paperwork or just a bill of sale. However, this is not true. The seller has to have the vehicle title. If the seller doesn’t have the “actual” title you will have to download a duplicate title and fill it out. I’ll explain more later. A car title is a legal document which provides proof of ownership for a vehicle. The seller signs off on the title releasing interest in the vehicle so that the new owner can register the vehicle in their name.
clean title meaning
Be careful and look in the upper right hand corner to see if the vehicle has a “clean” or “salvaged” title before going any further. A clean title is a title that doesn’t have any salvage history. A salvage title is when a vehicle that is considered a “total loss” gets restored. A vehicle can have a salvage title for a number of reasons. Some of the most common reasons for a salvage title are major accident, stolen vehicle, flood, deployed airbags, etc. You want to make sure you know what you are buying. Make sure you run a carfax history report. You will not know if a car has had salvage history while using a duplicate title. Think of it this way. Driving a salvaged car is like sitting on a chair that has had all four legs broken.
how to get a title for a car with no title
In California, If the seller doesn’t have the title you will have to download a Duplicate Title and fill it out. The REG 227 Duplicate title can be used to register a vehicle in place of the “actual” title. In California, You will be charged a $21 Duplicate Title Fee when registering the vehicle with a duplicate title.
buying a car without a title
When you are using a duplicate title in place of the actual title, you will have to find out if there is a lien on the vehicle. A duplicate title doesn’t provide you with that information. You can find out at the DMV.
Lien is another name for loan. When a vehicle is being financed, the financial institution or lender puts a lien on the vehicle which places them as the legal owner until the loan is paid off. The same goes for a title loan. With a title loan, your vehicle is the collateral. On an “actual” CA Title you can see who the lien holder is on the bottom left hand portion of the title.
The lender will sign off on the bottom right corner if the lien has been satisfied (loan has been paid off.)
If you go to the DMV to register the vehicle with a duplicate title and there was lien on the vehicle you will have to get a lien release form otherwise known as a lien satisfied. The DMV will not let you proceed further until this is done.
how to get a lien release
The DMV will either provide you with a lien satisfied form or you can download one from the DMV. The lender will have to fill the title lien release form out and the auto lien release form must be notarized. This is all you have to do as long as the loan has been paid off. If the loan hasn’t been paid off and there is still a lien on it the seller can not sell you the vehicle. Either the seller will have to pay off the loan or you will.
Try your best to have the seller bring you the title to avoid all these pitfalls. Also make sure the vehicle is in the sellers name. It could be in someone else name and the seller of the vehicle isn’t aware of it.