Vehicles are required to be titled in the buyer's name within 30 days from the date of sale. Failing to properly transfer a vehicle into the buyer's name could result in the seller being held responsible for tickets, toll violations or even crimes committed with the vehicle. To ensure this doesn't happen to you, accompany the buyer to your county tax office to ensure a vehicle title application is filed.
A dealer is not required to title in the dealership’s name if you sell or trade-in your vehicle to a licensed motor vehicle dealer. The vehicle stays in your name until it is sold to an individual, which may take months or in some cases, years. To protect yourself, file a Vehicle Transfer Notification. When a vehicle transfer notification is received, TxDMV updates the motor vehicle record to show the vehicle as sold. When you file the notification within 30 days from the date of sale, you cannot be held responsible for parking tickets and toll violations that have been committed by the person who purchased the vehicle.
If buying from an individual, have the seller accompany you to the county tax office to avoid unwanted surprises. Before submitting the title application, a tax office representative can tell you if the title being signed over to you is correct and if it has any salvage or legal issues. You can also use Title Check to see if the title of the vehicle you are thinking about buying has any issues impacting its value.
In addition to the title, ask the seller to provide you with:
- The signed vehicle title
- Application for Texas Title and/or Registration (Form 130-U)
- Any other supporting documents, such as release of lien or power of attorney
Gifting a Vehicle
To give a vehicle as a gift to a relative or qualifying 501(c)(3):
- The signed negotiable title and completed Application for Texas Title and/or Registration (Form 130-U), must be provided to the county tax office to title the vehicle.
- The title application must be accompanied by Affidavit of Motor Vehicle Gift Transfer (Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts Form 14-317).
- The Donor and Recipient must both sign the affidavit and title application.
- Either the donor or recipient must submit all forms and documents in person to the county tax office.