A car title is important because it’s the legal document that proves ownership. However, there comes a time when you need to sell, gift or trade-in your vehicle which means transferring the title to the new owner.

If this sounds like a situation you’re in, chances are that you’re here to know the procedure to follow in Texas. Luckily, this is what we cover in our blog post today.

Before delving into the details, it’s important to mention that the process varies slightly depending on your reason for transferring the vehicle title. You’ll be required to follow each step carefully to ensure that the transfer goes on smoothly.

Please note, we are not attorneys. This article is for informational purposes only. Please consult with your local DMV or attorney for current information.

When to Do a Car Title Transfer in Texas

You’ll need to do a car title transfer in Texas when:

  • Selling a vehicle
  • Buying a vehicle – from a dealership or a private owner
  • Gifting or donating a car
  • Receiving a vehicle as a gift or inheriting it from someone
  • You’ve just moved to Texas from another state

What do You Need for a Successful Car Title Transfer in Texas?

No matter your reason for seeking a car title transfer, there must be the required legal documents. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • The vehicle title itself
  • Form 130-U
  • The VIR (Vehicle Inspection Report)
  • Lien release (where necessary)
  • Proof of insurance coverage

Other than the documents mentioned above, you’ll also need to pay a fee for vehicle title transfer and inspection if the car hasn’t been inspected.

Selling a Vehicle to a Dealership

If you are selling your car to a dealership, there isn’t much to do. The car dealership will take care of most of the legalities.

The best used car dealers in TX will always go the whole nine yards to maintain their reputation, so don’t fret much about the steps when dealing with them.

Nonetheless, this doesn’t mean you should ignore making sure the transfer has been successful. All you have to do is submit a Vehicle Transfer Notification with the Texas DMV. This should be done within 30 days of the sale.

Selling a Vehicle to a Private Owner

Before anything else, be sure you’re on the same page with the buyer regarding the transactional costs. Although not required, it’s recommended to accompany each other to the DMV offices to complete the vehicle title transfer.

You’ll be required to sign your Vehicle Title before giving it to the buyer. Additionally, you must complete and sign the Texas DMV Form 130-U, which is the state’s vehicle title application form. It helps the buyer apply for a new vehicle title.

Also, don’t forget to release the lien to the buyer and always have the VIR (Vehicle Inspection Report) with you.

Once again, it’s essential to notify the Texas DMV of the vehicle title transfer. This should be done 30 days after the buy-sell transaction.

Note that if you do not (or forget to) notify the DMV of the transfer, you may find yourself in hot water if the buyer gets tickets or is in trouble with the law.

If the 30 days have gone by, and there’s no official notification to the DMV, then you’ll be held responsible for any legal issues with the car.

When Buying a Vehicle

As we stated earlier, if working with dealerships, there’s nothing much to do as regards to the legal work. However, if you’re buying from a private owner, you’ll need to do the following:

  • Complete the Form 130-U, which you can download here
  • Make sure the owner has signed the Vehicle Title. Check the back of the vehicle title and confirm that the “Signature of Seller/Agent” section has been signed.
  • Request proof of coverage (the car’s insurance)
  • Get a copy of the recent Vehicle Inspection Report
  • Don’t forget to get a lien request

Since you’ll be doing most of the work, unlike buying from dealerships, have the transfer fees ready as you’ll be spending at the Texas DMV.

When Moving to Texas

Texas gives you 30 days to transfer the Vehicle’s Title to the state. A full vehicle inspection will be required, which you can do at your nearest station. Make sure you get the VIR (Vehicle Inspection Report).

Note that an emissions inspection is mandatory in some counties which may cost you a bit more money. Once the inspection is complete, you’ll need to go to the Texas DMV with the following:

  • A Filled out Form 130-U
  • The vehicle’s proof of insurance
  • Proof of sales taxes paid
  • Proof of Odometer reading (if the vehicle is less than 10 years old)

Transferring the Title in Texas if it’s a Gift or Donation

The process isn’t much different from selling or buying a vehicle, as outlined above. The only major difference is that you won’t be paying standard taxes. However, the recipient of the vehicle will have to incur a $10 gift tax.

At the same time, both the donor (the one gifting the vehicle) and the recipient will be required to fill the Affidavit of Motor Vehicle Gift Transfer.

How to Transfer the Car Title in Texas If Inheriting from Family

Compared to the other reasons for transferring a vehicle title, inheriting is a little more complicated. If there is an official will, then the vehicle title’s transfer process relies on the executor. This is because the vehicle is part of the probate process.

On the other hand, if there isn’t a will, and the surviving spouse or family member (or any other qualifying heir) is available, he or she will be required to fill the Affidavit of Heirship for a Motor Vehicle.

What’s the Cost of Transferring a Title in Texas?

Besides all the paperwork associated with a title transfer, you’ll additionally need to pay several county and local fees. The transfer fee itself will cost you between $28 and $33, depending on which county you’re selling the car from.

In addition to the title transfer fee, you may have to pay an additional $7 for a new inspection if needed. There will also be other miscellaneous charges that could set you back up to $20. This brings the total cost of transferring a title in Texas to around $60. These fees are an approximation and are based on the year 2021.

Can I Sell a Car Without a Title?

You need a title to sell a vehicle in Texas. If you have lost yours, you can obtain a duplicate from your local Texas DMV.

Be sure to submit the VTR-34 form to your local DMV offices to make this process a simple one. A $2 fee will be applied if you send the title request by mail or you’ll pay a $5.45 fee if you do it in person.

Sell Your Car to Motors on Wheels

If you’re looking for a faster way to sell your car in Texas, Motors on Wheels is your answer! We buy cars throughout Houston, Austin, and San Antonio. All we need is your car title to prove that you are the legal owner and we’ll take the wheel from there.

You don’t have to worry if you’ve lost your car’s title. You can easily request a duplicate title and proceed with the car sale. Fill out this form to get an instant quote for your vehicle or call us on (713) 660-8666 for more information.