Selling car to person out of state?

Joined
Oct 28, 2008
Messages
1,688
Location
MD
I am in the process of selling a car to a person who claims she will be registering the car in an adjacent state. I had said that I wanted to complete the papers at a local DMV in Maryland, but she said that she had a Pennsylvania license and would be registering it there. I thought it sounded a little funny, so I called my insurance company. They said that as long as I filled out the title properly and had a bill of sale, everything should be fine. I'm still wondering a little. Under this scenario I would not know when or if the title was transferred. Am I missing something?
 
Joined
Jun 3, 2002
Messages
8,233
Location
MI
I sold my last mini van about 9 years ago in a similar fashion. The buyer never took the title to the DMV and he installed license plates from another vehicle on my van for his elderly mother to use (illegal, maybe not insured??). Much to my surprise, when she tried to sell it a few years later, it turned out that is still showed up at the DMV under my name. I got everything straightened out and a lawyer I contacted said that if something had happened during this time I would have not been liable (I had a sales receipt). Still, it caused me some anxiety.

I would never do that again for liability reasons. Call your DMV and get advice.
 
Joined
Feb 14, 2017
Messages
108
Location
Michigan
I bought a car last July in DC and i still have yet to transfer the title. The seller was stupid enough to leave the plate on and it expires in June. I figured what the hell blame it on COVID for failure to register.
You will be fine.... Just don't forget to remove the plate. It's an expensive tag BTW.
 

ET16

Thread starter
Joined
Oct 28, 2008
Messages
1,688
Location
MD
That's the sort of thing I'm worried about. It sounds like it not worth the hassle, if a buyer cannot complete the sale at a local DMV.
 
Joined
Aug 22, 2009
Messages
5,226
Location
Pittsburgh,PA U.S.A.
Go to a good large local notary who deals with vehicle titles every day and talk to them before the customer comes to buy the vehicle. And then use that same notary to sign the title over to the new owner and have them buy short term plate right then and there so they can drive it legally. Tell the customer that is what you will be doing, and they will have to pay for the short term plate, and prove insurance.

If they will be bringing a tow truck and towing the vehicle back then arrange the proper title transfer with the notary for that condition.

If you use a good notary, you should be well covered regarding not having any future liability and or ownership of that vehicle.

This kind of transaction is what notaries are for.
 
Joined
Mar 20, 2008
Messages
12,202
Location
USA
PA makes it very easy to buy a used car since they have these private tag agencies, some of which are even open on Sunday.

It's easier to buy from a private seller in PA than in your own state because you can get a temp tag and drive home immediately. Just present your license and insurance card, along with their fee, and you can drive the car home the same day. I wish every state would copy their system.

For example, if you were the buyer, and the seller was in PA, you could get a PA temp tag and drive it to MD as soon as you pay the seller and the tag office.

Even though you're the seller in MD, the PA buyer also has a very easy process for getting the car registered in PA with no problem. If the buyer is close enough to the MD border, you could always drive the car to the closest tag office just past the border, and the buyer can register it in PA.

While I share some of the concerns of you and others who have replied, PA makes it very very easy to register a car as soon as you buy it. So even though you'd normally give pause for this, you can give a PA buyer a pass since it's the next state over, close, and the process is very easy :)

Texas is another state that makes it easy to buy a used car, whether you're in TX buying a car in or out-of-state from a private seller, or if you're from out-of-state buying a car from a TX seller. They actually let you buy a temp tag online and print out immediately. It can't get any easier than that :D
 
  • Like
Reactions: GON
Joined
Apr 27, 2010
Messages
8,025
Location
Suburban Washington DC
That's the sort of thing I'm worried about. It sounds like it not worth the hassle, if a buyer cannot complete the sale at a local DMV.
What do you mean, complete the sale? And what hassle? Maryland won't let any nonresident title their car here so no use in going to local DMV. You need an appointment anyway, no walk-ins. The way it normally works is buyer hands you the cash and then you fill out and sign the back of the tile and hand it over to him as well as take off your tags. What happens with the car after that is not your problem. Of course keep insurance on it until you turn in the tags or transfer it to another car. If he brings a tag from another car to drive it home with, not your problem. If you want to be nice, you could offer to drive it to his home if he gives you a ride back.

Just 2 weeks ago a guy from West Virginia picked up a car I sold and drove off with NO tag on the back. I told him I'd drive it to his place if he brought me back, but he said no thanks I'll be fine.
 
Joined
Mar 2, 2004
Messages
2,957
Location
Kentucky
Pretty much every state I've ever lived in (except my current one), you just create a bill of sale, sign the title over, and take your plates off the vehicle. New owner takes bill of sale and title into DMV and gets new plates. I've bought and sold lots of vehicles this way, never any issues.

Here in KY it's customary for both parties to go to the DMV together to complete the transfer, and the old plates typically stay on the vehicle with the new owners. First state (out of about a dozen) I've lived in where this is the norm.
 
Joined
Aug 22, 2009
Messages
5,226
Location
Pittsburgh,PA U.S.A.
a title is a title, who cares

if they want a bill of sale i’ll be more than happy to sign over
Ya gots to get it out of your name or you are still libel if it get in an accident, and even if you sold it, you do not need the legal hassle of someone going after your assets, and you having to proving that you sold it to someone else before the accident. Lawyers charge by the hour, and good lawyers charge a lot by the hour. So what ever the legal system is in your state, follow what has to be done to be sure is is no longer in your name.
 

928

Joined
Jul 25, 2017
Messages
254
Location
Sacramento, Ca.
In California there is a form that you fill out releasing you from liability. It has the milage at the time of sale, (I always put 1 less mile- that way if the get in a wreck down the block after the sale, I'm covered) If you get the buyers info on it , make a copy & send it to the dmv you are good. The form is available at the dmv office- be sure you get a couple before you sell it. Don't let the buyer blow it off - no info, no sale
 
Joined
Jan 22, 2011
Messages
5,826
Location
Ohio
Do it right and go to your title bureau and see what they suggest. "Don't trust anyone". She may not transfer the title to avoid paying taxes at the present time and put plates on it from another vehicle. I once sold a beater car to a shady guy. He didn't transfer the title. About eight months later the car died on the interstate and he yanked the plates and abandoned it. Police had it towed to a impound lot. It sat there for many months. The VIN number traced it back to me. A police officer eventually shows up at my door to drop off a bill for accrued storage and towing charges. I had to screw around with a letter waiving all rights to the vehicle and some proof of sale. Then I had to mail it certified to the towing company where the car has sat. Sorry for the long story but was ridiculous to deal with because some idiot tried to avoid paying sales tax by not transfering the title.
 
Last edited:

ET16

Thread starter
Joined
Oct 28, 2008
Messages
1,688
Location
MD
Ya gots to get it out of your name or you are still libel if it get in an accident, and even if you sold it, you do not need the legal hassle of someone going after your assets, and you having to proving that you sold it to someone else before the accident. Lawyers charge by the hour, and good lawyers charge a lot by the hour. So what ever the legal system is in your state, follow what has to be done to be sure is is no longer in your name.
This is what concerns me. It leaves a worst case scenario open.
 
Joined
Apr 27, 2010
Messages
8,025
Location
Suburban Washington DC
Ya gots to get it out of your name or you are still libel if it get in an accident,
That's nonsense. You transfer ownership when your sign over the back of the title and he signs on the buyer line. Take a photo or make a copy of that to cover you. The buyer transferring title into his name is not your concern. What if he is buying it just for parts? Then he certainly wouldn't want to title it.
 
Joined
May 18, 2012
Messages
6,295
Location
Baltimore, Maryland, USA
Interesting since I have brought two cars into Maryland...
Second time I did it was from SC and I went to the DMV in SC and got temporary SC plates there to drive it back to MD.
 

ET16

Thread starter
Joined
Oct 28, 2008
Messages
1,688
Location
MD
I looked at the Maryland DMV website and this is what it says:

"you (buyer) must register the vehicle and obtain your license plates before you can drive the vehicle on the road.”

Am I responsible for the buyer meeting these criteria?
 
Joined
Sep 5, 2018
Messages
1,158
Location
Southeast PA
That's nonsense. You transfer ownership when your sign over the back of the title and he signs on the buyer line. Take a photo or make a copy of that to cover you. The buyer transferring title into his name is not your concern. What if he is buying it just for parts? Then he certainly wouldn't want to title it.
So if someone buys a car for parts and doesn't change the title to his name that car will still be in your name which I think it's stupid. I look it at it this way if I sold a car I want it off my name no matter if it will be driven on the road or used for parts but that is how the system works.
 
Joined
Jun 19, 2019
Messages
339
Location
Central US
I looked at the Maryland DMV website and this is what it says:

"you (buyer) must register the vehicle and obtain your license plates before you can drive the vehicle on the road.”

Am I responsible for the buyer meeting these criteria?
I am not a legal expert, but you should not be held responsible for the buyer registering what would then be "their" car.

Once complete the bill of sale, exchange money, and sign the title over, it then would not be "your" car and not your responsibility to register it.

Pull your plates off and let it go.

Keep a copy of the bill of sale in case your state requires you to submit a copy to their DMV (my state does) or in case the buyer gets into a situation between the time of sale and the time of them registering the vehicle in their name.
 
Joined
Jun 26, 2003
Messages
11,827
Location
Illinois
I sold my last mini van about 9 years ago in a similar fashion. The buyer never took the title to the DMV and he installed license plates from another vehicle on my van for his elderly mother to use (illegal, maybe not insured??). Much to my surprise, when she tried to sell it a few years later, it turned out that is still showed up at the DMV under my name. I got everything straightened out and a lawyer I contacted said that if something had happened during this time I would have not been liable (I had a sales receipt). Still, it caused me some anxiety.

I would never do that again for liability reasons. Call your DMV and get advice.
Illinois has a form you can have the buyer sign that indicates they bought the vehicle. When I sold my 1999 Grand Marquis last fall, I created a bill of sale, signed the title and had the buyer sign the form as well.


I believe there is also a little tear off "coupon" on the title where you can let the state know the name and address of the new owner. The new owner doesn't sign it, so it's up to the seller to collect that info and send it to the state. It has a barcode, so I suspect they might machine read it to flag the title/VIN/registration or whatever they might do.

It must work as after I sent this information to Springfield, they did not send me a renewal notice for my tags.

Of course, I also collected my tags, kept any registration, etc.

I provided the buyer a copy of the BoS, the signed over title, and a copy of VSD-703. I had it all printed up and ready to go and had the buyer sign as I counted the cash. Once I was satisfied, I handed over the title, the keys and wished him well.

Edited to add, my BoS form records mileage info, VIN, indicates the purchase is AS-IS, no warranties expressed nor implied, that the buyer has had opportunity to have the vehicle professionally inspected at his/her costs, etc. All manner of CYA stuff in case they want to come back and complain.

Never had a come back yet.
 
Top