Transfer Vehicle Title

Every title transfer is a two-party transaction between the seller and the buyer. Texas is no different. To transfer vehicle title, both, seller and buyer, have the legal obligation to make sure the title transfer gets done correctly.

Otherwise, you do not have a sale. Any legally required part of the title swapping process that is left off can bring the legitimacy of that title transfer into question.

To avoid any future legal problems or disputes between the buyer and seller, both parties need to check each other’s work to make sure they come away with a legally binding agreement void of potential contentions.


What the Buyer Must Check

Since the buyer is the one taking on the new responsibility, he needs to make sure his half of the vehicle transfer requirement is completed correctly. He also needs to check the seller’s half to ensure that it too is correct.

If both, buyer and seller, check themselves, then each other, they can be fairly confident the transfer will withstand legal scrutiny.

The buyer must provide the required documentation of the title transfer within 30 days of the sale. Penalties await those who do not meet this strict deadline for recording the transaction.

The buyer must show proof of identity. Acceptable forms of personal identity include a government-issued ID with a personal identification number, like a social security card and a government issued ID with a photo the a driver’s license.

Both of these identity documents must be approved by the tax assessor. The assessor will decline to accept any suspicious identity documents at his discretion.

The buyer must present proof of insurance on the acquired vehicle. This insurance must satisfy the state’s minimum coverage of 30-60-25.

The buyer must sign the back of the title if the vehicle is less than 10 years old. Age is determined by model year and not necessarily calendar year.

For instance, 2018 models began appearing in dealership showrooms in the fall of 2017. They are not 2017 models; they are 2018 models. If the transferred title is for a vehicle made by 2008 or newer, the buyer should sign the title.

The buyer should also complete lines 9, 11, 13, 14, 14a, 15, 16, and 18 if applicable. Also on the 130-U form, the buyer completes line 24 only.

If the vehicle is a commercial vehicle, buyer should complete the first eight lines. The buyer has 20 days to transfer the title, not including weekends, which is equal to the 30 days mentioned above.


Buyer’s Side Summary

Provide two forms of state issued ID.

Show proof of insurance.

Complete and properly fill out all the above lines for recipient side of the title.

Sign the back of the title.

Take the time to write neatly and legibly. A title that cannot be read cannot be legally transferred. If your signature is unreadable, print your name clearly just above your signature.


The Seller’s Side

Make sure you record the buyer’s name exactly as it appears on his identification. Do not leave out initials or endings like Sr. or Jr. Do not use nicknames no matter how long you have known the buyer. Double check the buyer’s address to be sure you record it accurately.

Keep in mind that the person you are doing business with today may not be the same person you do business with later about this title transfer. People die, and their successors may or may not be as agreeable as the person you sold the vehicle to earlier.

Sellers, sign the back of the title. Use your full legal name, the same name all your other legal documents use. On Form 130-U, sign line 22 only.

Enter the sale price on line 21 of the 130-U. Make sure you provide the current registration information for the buyer. Make a copy of the title transfer to keep for your personal financial records just in case any issues arise later.

Be sure to accurately record the odometer reading. Yes, there is also a vehicle age limit as to whether the odometer reading should be recorded, but I strongly urge the seller to record it any way.

Even if the odometer is broken, record the miles, and that the odometer is broken at the time of the sale. Recording odometer mileage heads off a whole set of false claims later on.


Seller’s Side Summary

Sign the back of the title.

Sign line 22 of the 130-U, and complete line 21 of the 130-U, the sale price

Leave the buyer the registration.

Record odometer reading

Note broken odometer, if applicable.

Make a copy for your records.