So you try to sell a car but you don’t have a title. Normally, this would be a cause for alarm. But sometimes there is a perfectly logical explanation: the car title is lost, stolen or damaged; the vehicle has been abandoned on your property or invoices are due; a lender has a lien on the vehicle; you never named the vehicle when you first bought it.

Or the car could be stolen, in which case you should report it to the police as soon as possible.

Although purchase or selling a vehicle without proof of ownership is illegal in most jurisdictions, there are ways to sell a vehicle without a title. How you go about it depends on your specific circumstances, as well as the state in which you are doing business when selling an untitled car.

Check out these tips to help you sell an untitled vehicle.

1. Replace title

Contact your local motor vehicle department – or the DMV where you purchased the vehicle – and ask how you can get a replacement for a lost, damaged, or stolen title. You can also check the DMV website for more details, including the cost of the replacement / duplication fee (they usually aren’t expensive in the grand scheme of things).

Keep in mind that if the odometer reading number or any other part of a title has been changed, the document will not be considered valid by most DMVs and will need to be replaced.

RELATED: Guide to car titles: everything you need to know

2. Explore other titration options

Again, every state is different, but some have ways of titling an abandoned vehicle or car with unpaid repair bills stacked on it.

In Virginia, for example, you can file a mechanic’s lien for unpaid invoices if you provide the proper documentation. You can also file an abandoned vehicle title. This is a process in which the state uses the vehicle’s VIN to attempt to contact the last known owner of the vehicle to give it some kind of right of first refusal.

3. Write a bill of sale

Some states did not issue titles until 1975, so it makes sense to sell the untitled car when it is so old. In this case, a deed of sale may constitute adequate proof of ownership. If so, check your state’s regulations regarding the presentation of the bill of sale. Some states require sellers to use a state form as a bill of sale.

Most states have a bill of sale that you can print out or pick up at a DMV branch, and these are generally better than a hand-written bill of sale.

4. Be frank with your buyer

If you don’t have a title and can’t get one – this is sometimes the case with older project vehicles or parts – make sure the buyer knows up front that you don’t. not have all of the documentation required to make a legitimate sale.

If you owe money on the car, most lenders will require you to pay off the note before you release the title. However, you may be able to arrange a transfer through the lender if the buyer is willing to pay or collect your payments.

5. Get a notary

Some states require a bill of sale to be notarized, but that’s not a bad idea in general. Having a state official witnessing the signing of the ownership of a vehicle can legitimize the transaction when selling an untitled car.

Again, regulations vary from county to county and state to state. Make sure you know the laws that apply to you.

6. Keep copies of everything

Even after you’ve sold the vehicle and it’s been around for a long time, be sure to keep copies of all documents associated with ownership. You can’t be sure that the new owner will give title to the vehicle, and you don’t want to be held responsible for anything that might happen with that vehicle in the future.

Plus, if there are questions about the property later on (if you’re contacted by someone making an abandoned vehicle claim, for example), your bases will be covered.

7. Inform your status of the sale

When you sell a car, make sure that the state the vehicle was in knows that you sold it. Notify the DMV as soon as you have signed the deed of sale. In this way, you will avoid the assessment of taxes and additional charges.

8. Register your vehicle in Vermont

This is a secret weapon for the untitled, but only for vehicles 15 years of age or older. Vermont wants (no, needs) your money, so if you provide a bill of sale and state fees and taxes for registration, you can register your vehicle there. Since Vermont only requires registration as proof of ownership for vehicles over 15 years old, this document will work as proof of ownership in the other 49 states.

The bill of sale can be typed or handwritten, and it does not need to be notarized. All you need is the vehicle identification number, the price and date of purchase, as well as the details of the buyer and seller. If your car is less than 15 years old, it won’t work. But you should probably have a title for it anyway.

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