How to Transfer a Title in New York

A certificate of title is an official document that proves ownership of a car, and transferring it correctly when a car changes hands is essential. Here’s how to transfer the title correctly when buying or selling a car in New York.
From how to fill out the actual fields in the title certificate to what to do at the DMV after you have the title, this title transfer guide covers everything you need to know about transferring a car title in New York.
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Transferring a Used Car Title In New York

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

1. The seller and buyer meet in person. The buyer pays the seller for the car. Both parties fill out the physical certificate of title and sign it. From that point on the buyer is the legal owner of the car.
2. The buyer registers the vehicle and formally transfers the title into their name with the New York Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).
The first step (the seller and buyer meeting) is the most important. The second step is a required formality.

As the seller, you’ll formalize the whole transaction when you transfer ownership of the car by signing the title over to the buyer. You’ll remove the license plates from the car and be done with the vehicle.
As the buyer in a private car sale, you become the legal vehicle owner as soon as the seller transfers the title to your name. You’ll finalize with the New York DMV to get title and registration in your name. You’ll also get new New York license plates as well as used car insurance.

Signing a NY Vehicle Title

It's time to transfer ownership to the buyer. This is an important step in the process of buying a car, right after the buyer pays for the car. When signing a New York title, there are multiple important factors to consider.

Always keep the following information in mind while filling out the certificate of title:

Write neatly.
Never use nicknames.
Never use white-out or erase anything.
Any spelling mistakes void the document.
Only use blue or black ink. Any other color ink will void the title.

Front of Title

On the front of a New York vehicle title, there is a place for lienholders. The lienholder will fill out the required information.
New York Title Front

Back of the 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 NY title.
New York Title Back
1. In the red rectangle marked “1,” the seller enters the exact odometer reading.
2. The seller marks whether the car has been wrecked or not in the red rectangle marked “2”.
3. In the teal box marked "3," The seller signs and prints their name, enters their street address, city, state, and zip code, then the date.
4. The buyer enters their street address, city, state, and zip code, then enters the date and signs their name.

DMV Title Transfer

When buying a used car from a private seller in New York, you will have to complete the title transfer at a local NY DMV location.

To apply for a vehicle title transfer in New York, you need to:

Visit your local New York DMV office
Provide the certificate of title
Provide a Bill of sale
Provide proof of identification and date of birth (drivers license or insurance identification card)
Provide proof of insurance
Complete a statement of transaction (Form DTF-802)
Complete a vehicle registration/title application (Form MV-82)
Pay the $50 vehicle title and registration fee, and used car sales tax

New York Title Transfer Fees

Vehicle title fees may vary depending on the New York county you reside in. Standard fees for vehicle titling in New York are as follows:

Vehicle title application: $50.
Duplicate title fee: $20.

New York License Plates

Some states allow the license plates to remain with the car when sold. Unfortunately, New York requires that the plates be removed from the car. As the buyer, you’ll apply to the DMV for new license plates and pay the $25 New York license plate fee.

New York Emissions Testing Requirements

Emission and smog certificates are one of the documents needed in New York that many other states don't require. Before going to register your vehicle, you'll need a New York smog inspection unless your vehicle falls into one of the following exempt categories:

Cars less than 2 model years old
Cars more than 25 model years old
Diesel-powered vehicles that are model year 1996 or older
Electric-powered vehicles
Vehicles that have historical license plates

If the car that you are buying does not meet any of these criteria, find a New York DMV-authorized smog check station and proceed with the test.

If your car fails the test, you will be granted a 10-day extension to fix your emissions and get the vehicle re-tested.

New York Bill of Sale

New York requires a bill of sale for a private-party car transaction. In addition, a bill of sale is always recommended for legal protection. In case either party ever wants to contest the transaction, the bill of sale proves that it was legal.

These are the components that must be in a bill of sale:

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

PrivateAuto includes a bill of sale as part of our standard in-app transaction process. At the appropriate stage in the transaction, both the buyer and seller will be encouraged to e-sign the NY bill of sale in our app.

The whole deal, including the bill of sale, can be done in just a few minutes when you meet to test drive the car and agree to buy it. It’s fast, simple, and convenient. You will always have the electronic bill of sale accessible in your PrivateAuto account as proof that the transaction was legitimate.

Make Sure to Have Car Insurance

New York 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.

Buying a Car with PrivateAuto

PrivateAuto simplifies the process of buying a used car from a private seller. We keep your personal info secure and private, we allow you to make offers on used cars for sale, and we allow you to pay for the car instantly with PrivateAuto Pay (with no fees). Whether you’re shopping for a Ford Ranger, a Tesla, or a family SUV, we’re here to give you a better car-buying experience.

Shop used cars for sale.

Selling Your Car with PrivateAuto

Buy Or Sell a Car Online With PrivateAuto
PrivateAuto makes selling your used car safe and easy. The sales process consists of a few simple steps:

Create a profile on PrivateAuto and get verified
List your car
Set your own terms
Look through incoming offers
Choose the buyer
Schedule a test drive
E-sign documents
Get paid instantaneously
Transfer ownership

Sell your used car with PrivateAuto today!

New York Title Transfer FAQ

How to request a duplicate vehicle title in New York?

Online duplicate title

Duplicate title application by mail

How to transfer an out-of-state title?

How to transfer a car title when the owner is deceased?

Where can I go to transfer a car title in New York?

What safeguards should you take when buying a car privately?

What is the safest method of payment when selling a NY car?

How much does it cost to register a vehicle in New York?

Further Reading

What Paperwork Do I Need To Sell A Used Car In New York?

What Is a Salvage Title?

Our Ultimate Guide to Buying a Used Car in Vermont

How Can I Transfer a Title To a Family Member?

What Size Are License Plates?

Transferring A Car Title in New Jersey

How To Sell a Used Car in Pennsylvania?