Buying or selling a car doesn’t have to be stressful. Explore the legal steps required to safely transfer a title in the state of Delaware. Whether you’re buying a car for the first time or looking for a more convenient way to sell your next ride, PrivateAuto has the technology-driven tools you need.

Sign the Original Title

The Delaware Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) regulates the process of transferring a title between private parties. The process is slightly different if neither the buyer nor seller are residents of the state. Every state also has its own process, so be sure you follow the steps and requirements of your state for hassle-free title transfers.

For two residents, the first step is for the buyer to find the original title. If you can’t find the original, an official duplicate title will do. At this point, the buyer will find out about a salvage title, lien, lemon title, or other issues with the vehicle, so it’s always best to be honest about any car you’re selling.

Delaware titles have an Assignment of Certificate of Title section on the back. The seller should fill this out to transfer a title legally. This section asks for the following information:

  • Buyer’s name and signature
  • Buyer’s address
  • Purchase price
  • Date of sale
  • Odometer disclosure
  • Seller name and signature

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration requires most vehicle owners to fill out an odometer disclosure form before signing over a title. This can help prevent odometer fraud, which includes intentionally damaging or changing the odometer. The odometer statement should consist of the vehicle's current mileage and a signed statement from the seller verifying that they believe the odometer reading to be correct.

Close up picture of a vehicle title

Fill Out a Seller’s Report of Sale

The next section to fill out is the Seller’s Report of Sale, at the bottom of the Delaware title. Fill out the registration card and send it to the Delaware DMV to transfer a title. This form should include the following information:

  • Buyer’s name
  • Buyer’s address
  • Date and hour of the sale
  • Seller’s signature

The buyer also needs to complete the purchaser’s application portion of the title. This information will be used to create the new title, so it’s essential to complete it fully and accurately.

Consider a Bill of Sale

The state of Delaware doesn’t require a bill of sale or notarized signatures on the title. You may want to consider filling one out. A bill of sale is like a receipt to verify the vehicle was sold. If you don’t fill one out as a seller, then you don’t have any documents showing that you transferred ownership of the car after you hand over the title. You may be liable for an accident or other damage if the new owner doesn’t complete the title transfer process.

A bill of sale includes detailed information about the vehicle and the transaction. It should have the following information:

  • Description of the car, including its Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)
  • Buyer’s name, address, and signature
  • Seller’s name, address, and signature
  • Selling price
  • Odometer reading
  • Warranty and/or lien information, if available
Pen on top of Bill of Sale document

Visit Your Local Division of Motor Vehicles

You must go to a DMV location in the state of Delaware to transfer a title. A dealership can sign over a title outside of a DMV office, but a private-party transfer must be finalized in person.

The state recommends both the buyer and the seller meet at a local office to ensure the transfer is complete. As a buyer, be sure you bring the following documents to your DMV appointment:

Delaware residents may face a $35 late fee if they don’t transfer a title within 30 days. As a buyer, you should schedule a visit as soon as it is convenient. As a seller, make sure to remind the buyer of this and be available to meet at a DMV location soon after selling your vehicle.

Pay the Registration Fee

The fees for registering your vehicle vary depending on its weight, value, and age. The seller is typically responsible for covering these costs. Here are some of the fees you may have to pay during your DMV meeting:

  • $35 for a title without a lien or $55 for a title with a lien
  • Document fee of 4.25% of the sale price or NADA Appraisal Guide trade-in value for older models
  • Yearly registration of $40

These fees apply to most passenger vehicles under 5,000 pounds. Heavier vehicles, commercial vehicles, and trailers require different fees. Your DMV office will calculate the total costs of registration, which can be paid during your visit.

Close up picture of multiple one-hundred dollar bills

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PrivateAuto offers self-service solutions to selling or buying a car privately. From verified users to our integrated banking option, PrivateAuto Pay, we give you peace of mind through the whole process. See how it works today to safely transfer a title and take the guesswork out of car sales.