Can You Sell a Car that is Not Registered in Your Name?

Can You Sell a Car that is Not Registered in Your Name?

Can You Sell a Car Due to various reasons, you are likely to find yourself in possession of a not registered car under your name. However, you might be wondering if it is possible and legal to sell such a car? Of course, it is possible to sell a car not registered under your name. So without wasting time, let’s dive in and have a look at the various ways through which you can get to sell such a vehicle.

Can You Sell a Car that is Not Registered in Your Name?

In most states, you cannot sell a car that was not registered in your name. However, there are exceptions to this rule.

Get the Titled Signed

Getting the title signed is one of the simplest ways to sell a car not registered under your name. If the person or persons named in the title sign it, that effectively grants you a chance to verify your car ownership and sell it.

However, while it is feasible to sell a car to a buyer with just a signed title, doing so is prohibited and is known as “skip titling.” Once you obtain a signed title from the original owner, you must formally title the vehicle in your name through the state government. The state will thus be able to collect the fees and taxes owed to them due to your ownership. In addition, the rule only exempts those that have a car dealer license.

Selling a Car as an Agent

Many buyers avoid buying cars without the seller’s name on the title. If you’re selling a car on behalf of someone else, the easiest approach to finish the transaction is for you to allow the seller and the buyer to meet in the final stages. That will allow the vehicle’s titled owner to sign the vehicle over to the buyer directly.

Selling the car of a Deceased Person

It should be simple to sell a deceased person’s vehicle if you are the executor of their will. However, the law requires you to have proof of that.

Selling a Car with the Power of the Attorney

To sell a car, the vehicle’s legal owner can give you power of attorney, which is legally acceptable.

Abandoned car Titling and Selling

If you acquire an abandoned car, you can have it titled according to state requirements. In addition, acquiring a title under your name will give you the power to sell the car.

What to Keep in Mind when Selling a Car not Registered Under your Name

Even if it is feasible to sell a not registered car in your name, there are a few factors to consider. The last thing you want to be in is a position where you’re ready to close a deal but can’t.

The state you live in plays a key role. That is so since laws differ from one state to another. The other critical thing is the car’s history. Check to see if it is damaged and whether the insurance company has declared it a total loss. Let’s have a look at these and see how they might impact your completion of the sales

The state Regulations

When you finance an automobile, someone has to hold the title. In certain states, the owner retains possession, but in others, the lending institution that owns the lien holds the title. What difference does it make? A car title is a document that proves who owns the vehicle. It connects the seller’s name to the vehicle in question. If you try to sell an automobile without a title in your name, you lack the necessary authorization. If the vehicle in question has previously been paid off, that is, there are no outstanding loans on it. Then the title should already be safe in your possession. 

Below are some tips to ensure that your title does not get lost

  • Do not store your title in the glove compartment or anyplace other places in your car. If someone broke into your vehicle and stole it, they’d have all the information required to sign it over to someone else.
  • Always keep your title in a safe place, such as a safe deposit box or a fire-resistant container where you store other essential documents.
  • Get some photocopies of the title. That will make it easy to replace it if need be since you will have the vehicle’s license number and VIN.

However, so long as your car is old in some states, not having a title is perfectly okay. You will only be required to have a bill of sale to sell the car in such a case.

Vehicles with a Salvaged Title

If you own a car that the insurance company has ruled a “total loss,” then your title will be branded as salvaged. That means that the expense of repairing it is slightly higher than its value. In addition, selling such a car may be difficult since many buyers won’t feel safe about the sale. Even if you repair it to a like-new state, many dealers will still shy away from it.

Dangers of skip titling

Dangers to the sellers

If you happen to sell a car without changing the title into your name, you skip titling. It is a requirement in many states to transfer a title to your name within the specified duration. However, when one misses the period, they are still required to put their name in the title. Sellers who fail to do this before selling cars are not the legal owners of the vehicles. They risk fines, penalties, and jail time.

Dangers to buyers

If you buy a car not registered in the name of the seller, then you risk the following possible headaches:

  • At the DMV, you might experience trouble changing the title to your name.
  • Not knowing the number of people that owned the vehicle before.
  • Endless back and forth with the seller and the title owner of the car.

Final take

Having a car not registered in your name is not the end of the world. However, it does limit your options. If you want to sell a car not registered in your name, first visit the DMV offices and try to get a title under your name. A title may not be necessary for your older car, depending on the state you live in.


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