What is a Title Transfer?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 06 September 2019
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A title transfer is the process that is used to move the ownership of a given property from the original owner to a new owner. This term is most often used in conjunction with the transfer of titles associated with motor vehicles. In many nations, the title transfer is the final process that must take place before the sale is considered to be truly complete, and all ownership records registered with a local probate office or other government entity are updated to recognize that sale.

With a car title, the title transfer process begins when the seller provides the buyer with the car title itself. While the exact configuration of that title will vary from one jurisdiction to the next, most will provide space on the document to note any new changes in the ownership. For example, there will be certain fields that the seller will complete on the document, indicating that he or she is acknowledging the sale and wishes to transfer the title or ownership of the vehicle to the buyer. The buyer will also fill out specific fields, providing all the data needed to update the governmental records related to the ownership of the car or truck. Once filled out, the old title is presented to a clerk with the local government agency, the information is recorded, and an updated title is issued to the new owner, often in less than a calendar month.


In some jurisdictions, a form known as a title transfer application may be required in order to complete the title transfer. This document essentially provides a statement from the previous owner that he or she has the authority to sell the vehicle in question, and chooses to do so willingly. The buyer also provides information such as name, physical address, mailing address, and any other data required by the jurisdiction in order to update the records. Once the document is submitted, the information is reviewed. Should the application be in compliance with all local regulations, it is accepted and the ownership records are updated accordingly.

Since the actual process of a title transfer for a car, truck, or even a piece of real estate may vary somewhat from one area to the next, it is important to identify the submission process required by local laws. Probate offices and similar government entities can provide information on what type of forms are necessary to complete the transaction, and the kind of data that must be included on those forms. In most cases, transferring a property title is not a difficult process, provided all instructions are followed to the letter.


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