How to Transfer a Car Title in New Jersey?

A title certificate is a document that establishes ownership of a vehicle. When selling or purchasing a used car in New Jersey, transferring the title is one of the most important steps of the whole process.
A vehicle title transfer needs to be a safe and legal process, especially in private car sales. Our New Jersey title transfer guide gives you all the details you need to know when signing over a car title in NJ.
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New Jersey Vehicle Title Transfer Process

A car title transfer establishes the buyer of the vehicle as the new owner. There are two phases to a title transfer:

1. Seller and buyer meet in person. The buyer pays the seller for the car. Both fill out the physical certificate of title and sign. The buyer is now the legal owner of the purchased vehicle.
2. The buyer registers the newly-bought vehicle with the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) and MVC updates their records to establish the buyer as the titled owner.

The first step (seller and buyer meeting) is the key moment of the car-buying process. The second step is just a necessary formality.

As the car seller, you will formalize the transaction when you transfer ownership of the car by signing the title over to the buyer. You’ll take off your license plates and finally be done with the car.
As the buyer, you become the legal owner as soon as the seller transfers the title to your name. You will finalize with the NJ MVC to get title and registration in your name. You’ll also get new New Jersey license plates and vehicle insurance.

Sign the New Jersey Title Correctly

When signing a NJ certificate of title, always keep the following in mind.

Mistakes make the document invalid.
Do not erase anything or use white-out.
Only use black or blue ink. Any other color will void the title.
Write neatly.
Only use legal birth names.

Front of the New Jersey Title

The front of a New Jersey title has a section for lienholders. If there is a lien on the title, the lienholder will need to release the lien in the green-colored section shown below.

Back of the New Jersey Title

The back of the title has sections for the seller (red), and the buyer (teal). Here is the process for filling out the back of a New Jersey title.

In the red rectangle, marked “1”, the seller enters the exact odometer reading.

1. The buyer prints their name, driver's license number, and address in the blue field marked “2”.
2. In the blue rectangle marked “3”, a buyer enters the name and address of the lienholder to appear on the new title (if applicable).
3. The seller prints their name, address, date of the sale, and the sale price in the red-colored rectangle.
4. The seller prints and signs their name and enters the date of the odometer statement in the red field marked “5”.
5. In the blue rectangle, the buyer prints and signs their name.

Congrats! You’ve completed an NJ title transfer. Pretty simple, right?

Finalize Ownership Transfer with New Jersey MVC

You’ve done the deal and are the proud owner of a new-to-you vehicle. Your work is not yet done. There are still steps you need to take to finalize the title transfer with the State of New Jersey. You also need to acquire new license plates and register the car with the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC).

You will need to submit the following documents to your local MVC office:

Driver’s license or another form of ID
New Jersey insurance card or insurance company name and policy number
Lien holder information and financing statement if the vehicle is leased or financed

Payment fees for registration will differ depending on the type of car purchased, while license plates are included in the price of registration.

To avoid paying a late fee or penalties, make sure you are registering the car right after transferring the title.

Perform Emissions Testing

In order to complete a title transfer in New Jersey, you will need to perform emission testing.

Emission Check Exemptions in New Jersey

Vehicles model year 2013
New vehicles for the newest five model years
Historic vehicles
Collector vehicles less than 25 years old
Electric vehicles
Diesel vehicles

If the car that you are buying does not meet any of these criteria, find a local NJ MVC-authorized emissions check station and proceed with the test.

For locations of smog check stations visit the New Jersey MVC website.

For most cars, the fee for performing this test will be $50.

New Jersey Bill of Sale

In New Jersey, a bill of sale is not required if purchasing a vehicle from a private seller. Even though it’s not required, we recommend a bill of sale, because it provides legal proof of the transaction and purchase price.
Here are the necessary elements in a bill of sale:

Your full name and notarized signature
The other party’s full name and notarized signature
Price of the car
The make, model, and year of the car
A description of the car
A warranty disclaimer stating the car is being sold as-is
Date of the transaction

PrivateAuto includes a New Jersey bill of sale as part of our standard in-app transaction process. At the appropriate stage in the transaction, both you and the seller will be prompted to e-sign the bill of sale within their mobile PrivateAuto app.

The whole transaction, the bill of sale included, can be completed in a few minutes when you meet for the test drive and approve the car. It’s very fast and convenient. You won't have to keep track of all your paperwork: you will always have the electronic bill of sale accessible in your PrivateAuto account to prove that the transaction was legitimate.

New Jersey Title Transfer

In the state of New Jersey, transferring the car title and registering your vehicle will be done at the same time. When purchasing a used car, you will need to provide your local NJ motor vehicle commission office with additional paperwork:

The vehicle title with your signature and driver's license number
Proof of a valid New Jersey car insurance policy
Payment for the car title transfer fee of $60
Payment for NJ vehicle sales tax unless the car is exempt

When you purchase a car from a private party, you will be required to complete the title transfer within 10 business days. If you don't meet that deadline, you will have to pay a fee of $25.

Make Sure to Have Car Insurance

New Jersey requires liability insurance at a minimum. If you don’t have it, you won’t be able to register your car and legally drive it. Of course, you can opt for full coverage insurance if you want it. If you don’t have car insurance, get a quick quote here.

NJ License Plates

Different states have different requirements for dealing with license plates in a private-party used vehicle sale. Some states allow the license plates to remain with the car when sold. Unfortunately, New Jersey requires that the plates be removed from the car. As the buyer, you’ll apply to MVA for new license plates, and pay the $35 to $84 New Jersey license plate fee.

Buy and Sell Cars in New Jersey With PrivateAuto

Complete the sales process easily and legally with the help of PrivateAuto. Our technology-driven platform helps you find verified buyers and sellers, sign documents online, and receive state-specific steps to complete the sale. See how it works today to buy and sell vehicles privately in New Jersey.
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Steps for Selling Your Car through PrivateAuto

PrivateAuto makes selling used cars hassle-free. The sales process consists of a few simple steps:

1. Gather the necessary paperwork
2. Create a PrivateAuto account and get verified
3. List your car
4. Set your terms
5. Go over the incoming offers
6. Choose a buyer
7. Schedule a test drive
8. E-sign documents
9. Get paid instantaneously
10. Transfer ownership
11. Remove the license plates
12. Cancel your current car insurance

Interested in Purchasing a Used Car in New Jersey?

PrivateAuto makes buying a used car in New Jersey fast and simple. Whether you’re looking for Land Rovers, Jeep Grand Cherokees, Teslas, or Volkswagen Jettas, you’re sure to find a great deal on the ride of your dreams.

New Jersey Title Transfer FAQ

What is the safest method of payment when selling an NJ car?

Until PrivateAuto, cash was one of the best car payment methods. With PrivateAuto Pay, you can avoid the risks and hassle of dealing with large wads of cash. Payments of up to $1M transfer instantly from seller to buyer, 24/7/365.

By receiving your money through our integrated banking system, both buyers and sellers can stay safe while exchanging large sums of money, as they don’t have to share their contact or banking information during the car buying process.

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