Title procedures differ by state. Most states, however, offer a section for the vehicle's titled owner to sign and date. Other state titles may require additional information, such as an odometer disclosure, sales price statement, a lien release section or damage disclosure. Read your title over carefully before making any changes to avoid having to order a replacement because of a mistake.
Signatures of Buyer and Seller
A signature is required on a title to transfer vehicle ownership. Identify this section by reading over your entire title before determining where to sign. Look for the title's "Seller" section. It often includes an area to also print your name and address.
If a co-owner exists on the title, meaning another person's name is also on the front on the title, that person must also sign. If no "Co-owner" spot exists, the person must sign next to your name. Some states require notarized signatures.
Odometer, Price and Damage Information
States differ on necessary forms, price, damage and odometer statement requirements. Some state titles require detailed information on the title, while others do not because of additional required forms.
Read the title over to determine which other information you must include. Most states require an odometer statement, but you may not have to complete the section if the vehicle is more than 10 years old. This document includes important information about the transferor and transferee along with vehicle details like the year, model, make and vehicle ID number. The statement also has a place where the seller signs off that they've provided truthful information about the mileage to the best of their knowledge.
If an area doesn't exist for the vehicle's sales price, you likely have to provide additional documents. Call your state's motor vehicle department to find out if you must provide additional forms to the buyer.
Proof of Lien Release
Many states do not allow title transfers when a lien holder is listed on the front of the title. Even if you paid off your loan, you must acquire a necessary lien release letter or obtain a proper bank signature. Some state titles offer a spot for the lien holder to sign on the title, which releases the vehicle's lien.
In states that don't offer this section, a valid lien release is required. Call your lender to find out how to obtain the release. You may have to visit a local branch to obtain it or wait to receive it by mail. Give your buyer the original lien release, not a copy.
Considerations for Filling Out Title
Even if you've signed your title in all the right areas and provide additional documents, your title will become void if you alter it in any way. Mistakes that void the title include scribbling out errors or using a permanent marker. Do not write over printed information to change it or try to fix mistakes, such as names or addresses.
Many states offer additional forms to supplement odometer or damage disclosure sections if you do make a mistake. Contact your state's motor vehicle office if you are unsure if the title needs replacement.
Shanan Miller covers automotive and insurance topics for various websites, blogs and dealerships. She has extensive automotive experience, including auction, insurance, finance, service and management positions. Miller has worked for dealer sales events around the United States and now stays local as a sales and leasing consultant for a dealership.