After you have an accepted offer for your used vehicle in Texas, all that’s left is to transfer the title. The Texas Department of Motor Vehicles, or TxDMV, has specific steps required to transfer a car title in Texas. Explore the necessary documents and steps to complete the transfer and legally sell your vehicle.

Valid Texas Title

The first thing you need to transfer a car title in Texas is a certified copy of your title. A vehicle title can be a certified duplicate, but it must be some form of valid copy in the state to start the transfer process. Here are some steps to take to verify the title is valid:

  • Check the VIN
  • Verify your name is on the title
  • Review other information

Don’t attempt to buy or sell a car without having a valid title and going through the proper steps to legally transfer it. Otherwise, you may not be able to properly insure it. If you sell a car without transferring the title, you may be legally responsible if the new owner is involved in a crime or collision. You may also be sent parking tickets and other fines, which are difficult to dispute if you haven’t legally transferred the title.

Signed and Dated Title

A Texas car title must be signed in two places. The front and back of the title both have places that must be signed and dated for the transfer to be valid. Review the title and transfer process with the new owner to avoid an incorrect step in the process.

While some states require the signatures to be notarized, Texas doesn’t. You can have your signatures notarized if you wish, but this isn’t a required step to legally transfer a title in your state.

Odometer Reading

In the past, any vehicle that’s less than 10 years old needed to have an odometer disclosure form. As of January 1, 2021, however, an odometer reading is now required for any vehicle that’s less than 20 years old, according to TxDMV.

If your vehicle is older than this at the date of sale, then you don’t need to include the odometer disclosure. This process is used to ensure an accurate reading. It’s also important to note if there are any known issues with an odometer. You can sell a vehicle in Texas if the odometer is damaged, but you must indicate that the reading is not the actual mileage and make this known to the buyer.

Picture of a cars odometer.

Application for Texas Title

After verifying the title and odometer reading, it’s time to fill out an application for Texas title transfer, or form 130-U. This application is required whether you’re transferring an original or duplicate title. Here are some of the basic points of information you’ll need to include on the application:

  • Vehicle Identification Number
  • Vehicle make, model, and other information
  • Your name and address
  • Valid ID information
  • Vehicle purchase price

There is some other paperwork you may consider filling out for your personal records or personal safety. For example, a bill of sale isn’t required in Texas, but this form can help verify that you did sell your car.

Proof of Insurance Under the Buyer’s Name

Drivers in the state of Texas must have valid car insurance. Your buyer needs to provide proof of liability insurance in order to have the title transferred. The insurance must be currently active and in the buyer’s name. This helps ensure you won’t be liable for any accidents or other issues with the buyer. If the title isn’t properly transferred and the new owner doesn’t have insurance, your policy may be required to cover any damages or injuries that occur.

ID for Buyer and Seller

Both the buyer and seller must verify their identity during the title transfer process. A valid driver’s license is an acceptable form of ID, and there are other forms of ID that count as well. This step helps prevent both the buyer and seller from committing fraud during the transaction.

Proof of Inspection

While not required by every state, a vehicle inspection report is required to transfer a car title in Texas. There are two types of inspections that may be required in your county at an inspection station:

  • Safety standards inspection
  • Emissions inspection

A safety standards inspection is required annually for all vehicles with vehicle registration in the state. There are also 17 counties that require emissions testing to ensure vehicles meet federal clean air requirements. You’ll need to show proof that your vehicle is up to date on its safety inspection and, if applicable, its emissions inspection as well.

Mechanic doing a car inspection.

Title Transfer Fees

The title transfer process involves several fees. These include the registration fee, title transfer fee, tag fee, and sales tax. You may also need to pay an emissions fee or gift tax, depending on your location and the transfer situation.

These fees vary depending on the sale price, the original value of the vehicle, and your county. Some counties, for example, charge around $28 for title fees, while other Texas DMV county locations charge $33.

Power of Attorney Documentation, if Necessary

You can act as power of attorney and legally transfer a title in the state of Texas. You simply need to obtain the necessary documentation that proves you have power of attorney and are capable of acting on behalf of the owner of the vehicle. These forms, and your legal ID, allow you to sign off on a vehicle you’re selling or buying on behalf of another individual.

Lien Release Form, if Necessary

If you still owe used car financing on the vehicle you’re selling, or it was originally financed, then you may need to include a release of lien to transfer your title. This proves that the lienholder releases the vehicle for sale to a new owner.

Sign Appropriate Affidavits

Some unique situations require further documents to be signed. You may need an affidavit of motor vehicle gift transfer or affidavit of heirship if you’re selling or gifting a vehicle during one of these situations.

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