Many car owners need to transfer a title at some point. And while the process is not complicated, it differs from state to state. New Hampshire has its own procedure that you must follow to make certain that your transfer is legal. If you carefully follow the prescribed steps, though, you have nothing to fear.

When You Buy From a Private Seller

When you buy from a private seller, the title transfer in New Hampshire is quite simple. The seller signs the title over to you at the time of sale. They will fill in your name, address and current odometer reading, sign it and give the title to you.

You cannot end the process there. You need to notify the state of the transfer to avoid problems if the vehicle is ultimately abandoned or some other issue arises. For instance, the last owner of record will be held liable for costs if the vehicle is ultimately abandoned. If you are the new buyer, you should apply for a new registration and a new title as soon as possible.

Exempt Vehicles

New Hampshire is considered a titled vehicle state, but some vehicles have exempt status, so by state law, they do not need a title. For example, any motor vehicle with the model year of 1999 or before does not need a title. Other vehicles on the exempt list are:

  • Mopeds
  • Boats
  • Snowmobiles
  • Motorized wheelchairs or tricycles for the disabled
  • Mobile homes
  • Trailers ender 3,001 lbs.

The exceptions to the 1999 rule are heavy trucks with three axles or more and truck tractors weighing over 18,000 lbs. These vehicles must be titled no matter their age.

Vintage Chevrolet truck parked near a building.

Selling an Exempt Vehicle

If you are selling an exempt vehicle, you need to complete the following steps:

  • Although the vehicle does not require a title, you may have one. If so, transfer ownership by filling out the information required on the reverse side.
  • Give the buyer a bill of sale and a completed Verification of Vehicle Identification form.

Your bill of sale needs to contain the date of the sale and the vehicle’s description. Include the make, model, color, VIN, year and number of cylinders. You also need to include the name, signature and legal address of the buyer as well as your name, signature and legal address.

Buying from a Dealership

When you buy a vehicle from an NH dealership, the dealer completes the title application and sends it to the DMV, including the $25.00 fee. The dealer will also give you a carbon copy of the application which you must bring to the town or city clerk to complete the registration of the vehicle.

When you are buying from an out-of-state dealership, you may have to take care of the title application yourself. The dealer will give you a Certificate of Origin or the title. You then must apply for a new title in your name at your town or city clerk’s office and register the vehicle. You will have to pay the $25,00 title fee and any registration fees. In this case, you may also have to provide a VIN verification, a form that can be completed by NH authorized inspection stations, NH authorized vehicle dealers or an NH law enforcement officer. You may have to pay a fee for this service.

Multiple cars parked inside of a car dealership.

Applying for a New Title

Even when the title of a vehicle is transferred to you, you will need to apply for a new title. If you have purchased your vehicle from a private owner, the town or city clerk will fill out an application when you register your vehicle. The application is sent to the DMV, and you should receive your new title in 40 to 50 days. The title will be sent directly to you unless you request it be mailed to a third party in a notarized statement.

In addition to the town and city clerk’s office, you can apply at New Hampshire licensed automobile dealers or New Hampshire lienholders.

New Hampshire residents need to apply for a new title in the following instances:

  • Moving to NH with a vehicle registered in another state
  • Purchasing a new or used vehicle from an in-state or out-of-state dealer.
  • Purchasing a vehicle from a private party
  • Transferring ownership to another person
  • Refinancing your vehicle

Remember, a license transfer is not enough. You need to apply for a new title in your name after the vehicle purchase is completed.

Explore Listings on PrivateAuto

Use PrivateAuto to search listings, negotiate a sale and e-sign a bill of sale as you prepare to transfer a title. Learn more about safely buying a car in New Hampshire with PrivateAuto.