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Private Vehicle Sales

Right now car values are skyrocketing thanks to a strong demand and shortage of supply. You might decide to buy or sell a car privately to avoid dealer pricing. We have had clients run into legal problems when doing this though, so it needs to be done the right way.

When you sell a vehicle privately, you should provide a signed title and a completed Application for Title Transfer (that has to be notarized). There are also other steps you need to take to protect yourself. The State of Texas requires the title transfer to be completed within 30 days. If the buyer doesn't do this, the seller could be held responsible for tolls, tickets or even crimes committed with the vehicle. But sellers can (and should) submit a Title Transfer Notification through the DMV. Make sure you keep information on the buyer: their name, address, phone number, the vehicle's VIN number. Create a receipt of sale and have the buyer sign it, even if it is just a handwritten receipt. Then you have proof of the transfer of ownership.

For more information and access to the forms needed, visit the Texas DMV website:

When buying a vehicle privately, be sure the title has no lien against it. Do a title check through one of the DMV approved vendors:

Get a signed title and Application for Title Transfer. Make sure the seller has signed the Application and that their signature was notarized. Keep a written record of the sale including the name, address, phone number of the seller. Be sure to apply for the title transfer within 30 days of the sale. You will have to pay 6.25% of the sales price or standard presumptive value of the car at the tax office. If the sale takes place on a Saturday or Sunday and the seller chooses to keep the license and registration, get a vehicle transfer permit online through the DMV (this is good for 5 days). Also ask the seller for a copy of the latest Vehicle Inspection Report if available. The vehicle will have to have a valid inspection to be registered.

For more information, visit the DMV website:

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