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New Jersey Selling a Vehicle

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What Are The Basics?

When you sell a car in New Jersey, you must comply with certain legal requirements to ensure the sale is properly documented and to avoid penalties. You must remove the license plates and sign the title.

How Do I Sign the Title?

You sign your name in the seller’s section of the reverse side of the title and give it to the buyer, along with a bill of sale. You will also provide a copy of the lien release, if applicable.

What if I’ve Lost the Title?

You cannot sell a vehicle without a title. If you’ve lost it, you’ll need to obtain a duplicate title from the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission. The best way to do this is to make an appointment with a local office. Sometimes you can obtain a new title through the mail, but that generally requires eight to 12 weeks. The commission charges a fee of $60 for a replacement title.

What Information is Included in the Bill of Sale?

  • Buyer’s name and address;
  • Date of sale;
  • Mileage odometer reading; and
  • Sale price.

Why do I need to Record the Odometer Reading?

New Jersey laws require you to provide an accurate odometer reading at the time of sale to show whether the vehicle has passed its mechanical limitations and is on a second or third cycle. If the actual odometer reading is inaccurate, you must estimate what you believe the reading should be.

Why do I Need a Bill of Sale?

A bill of sale records the information the buyer will need to title and register the vehicle in their own name. It also protects you from liability should the vehicle later be involved in an accident. The bill of sale also can settle legal disputes between you and the buyer should they arise later.

May I Transfer Plates?

License plates cannot be transferred to a new owner. However, you may transfer them to another vehicle that you own as long as the names on the registration are the same. This transfer must be done in-person at a full-service New Jersey Vehicle Commission office.

What if I Don’t Transfer Plates to a New Vehicle?

You return the plates in-person to a full-service New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission office or by mail to:
New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission P.O. Box 129 Trenton, New Jersey 08666-0129.
You will receive a receipt if you visit the office. To receive a receipt by mail, enclose a self-addressed, stamped envelope.

What if I Am Giving the Car to Someone Rather than Selling It?

If you are giving the car to someone, such as a relative, you still sign the title and remove the license plates. You note, however, by sales price that the item is to be a gift.

How Do I, As Executor, Transfer a Car to a Heir?

If you are an executor of a deceased person’s will, and you are transferring the car to the heir, you will still sign the title and remove the license plates. You note, however, that the car was inherited rather than purchased.

Selling a Vehicle in Texas 101 

As in any state, Texas requires you to follow specific legal requirements when you are planning to sell a vehicle to a private party or to a car dealership. This helps you avoid any legal ramifications and ensure that you have proper documentation for the sale of the vehicle. You have to first remove the license plates from the vehicle. You must also sign the title over to the party who is buying your vehicle.

How to Sign Over the Title to the Buyer 

Signing the title over to the buyer is a crucial part of the process, but thankfully, it is quite easy. However, in the state of Texas, a car dealer does not have to title the car in their dealership’s name if you sell or trade-in your vehicle to them. The vehicle remains titled in your name until the dealership sells it to another person, which can take some time. In this case, you should file a Vehicle Transfer Notification within 30 days of the date of the vehicle’s sale so the Texas DMV records that you sold your vehicle.

If you are selling the vehicle to another person and not a car dealership, you first have to provide them with a properly signed title. To sign a title properly, you sign your name on the seller’s section on the back side of the title and give that signed title to the person buying your vehicle. You also must include both the odometer reading and the date of sale on the signed title. In addition, you must give the buyer a signed Application for Texas Title and/or Registration Form . This form must clearly show the sales price of the vehicle.

Replacing a Lost Title 

Just like in any other state, you cannot sell a vehicle without a title. If you happen to have lost your vehicle’s title, you can get a certified copy of the title. If the vehicle has a lien, the lienholder should fill out the application for this certified copy of title or give you an original release of lien. You have to wait 30 days in between filing an application for a certified copy of title after the previous copy was issued in the state of Texas. 

You can apply for this copy by mail by completing the Application for a Certified Copy of Title, put in a copy of all owners’ photo ID, $2 mail-in fee by money order, cashier’s check, or check payable to the Texas DMV. The vehicle owner’s agent or lienholder’s agent has to include a letter of signature authority on an original letterhead, a copy of the agent’s employee ID, or a business card. You mail all of this to:

Texas Department of Motor Vehicles
1601 Southwest Parkway, Suite A
Wichita Falls, TX 76302

Transferring License Plates 

You cannot transfer license plates to another vehicle owner. However, you can transfer license plates between different vehicles that you own. You can also transfer license plates to a vehicle you purchased from a car dealership. Your local county tax assessor-collector’s office will help you with this process.

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Last Verified:
Jul 25, 2022