Transfer Car Title in Washington

What Is a Title Transfer?Transfer-Title

The title indicates the vehicle’s ownership. Reasons for a title transfer include:

* Buying or selling a vehicle
* Inheriting
* Donating
* Gifting

The seller have five days to report the sale. The buyer has 15 days to report the transfer.

Selling a VehicleTransfer-Title

To make potential buyers more confident in your vehicle, consider purchasing a Vehicle History Report of your car.

Once you’ve made a deal, to transfer the title you must:

* Sign and date the back of the title and include an odometer reading if the car is under 10 years old
* Have the buyer sign the title
* Complete a Bill of Sale (the buyer will need it for a new title). The Bill of Sale covers you by proving you sold the car in case there are questions down the road or the buyer never turns in the paperwork.
* File a report of sale within five days. You can do this online or in person at a vehicle licensing office.

Buying a VehicleTransfer-Title

Buying a Vehicle
New cars: The dealer will take care of the paperwork for you. If you’re in the market for a new car, comparison shop online first to get an idea of the best prices out there.

Used cars: Used cars are more economical and you can shop online to save time. Once you have determined your budget, shop around for a good car loan. When you have a particular car in mind, order a Vehicle History Report – for one fee, you’ll get unlimited access to cars and will be able to information about the car’s part and title, like whether it is a flood or salvage title. Lastly, get insurance quotes on a few of your top choices.

When you’re made a deal:

* Have the seller sign an date the back of the title and record the odometer reading (if the car is younger than 10 years old)
* Sign and date the title as the buyer
* Get a Bill of Sale from the seller. This will be used to calculate use tax.
* Complete a Vehicle Certificate of Owner Application
* Get an emissions test if required by your county
* Take everything to a vehicle licensing office
* Pay $15.50 plus use tax fees
* Be prepared to register your vehicle at the same time

If you would rather mail everything, get your Vehicle Certificate of Ownership Application notarized and send everything to:
ATTN: Vehicle Licensing
Department of Licensing
P.O. Box 9909
Olympia, WA 98507-9909

You have 15 days to transfer the title. After that, you’ll face a fine of $25 plus $2 for each additional day, up to $100.

Removing a LienTransfer-Title

When you’ve paid off your loan, call your lienholder to find out if your lienholder holds your title electronically (paperless title) or on paper.


* Your lienholder will notify the Department of Licensing to say your loan has been paid off
* The lienholder will charge a fee, which will vary
* You will receive your physical title by mail in six to eight weeks.

Physical title:

* The lienholder will mail you your title
* Take the title to a Department of Licensing Office within five days to obtain a lien release
* Pay $19 fee

Gifting a VehicleTransfer-Title

Follow these steps:

* Have the giver sign and date the title and record the odometer reading, if the car is under 10 years old, as the "seller"
* Ask the gifter to provide verification that the sales tax has been paid if you have owned the car for less than seven years
* Ask the gifter to write a "Letter of Gift" stating his intent in addition to the vehicle’s description, your name, your signature, and the date.
* Bring all of the above to a vehicle licensing office and fill out a Vehicle Certificate of Ownership Application
* There will be no use tax because the vehicle is a gift
* Pay title transfer fee of $15.50 plus any other registration fees. Call the office for the exact cost and to see if you need additional paperwork or documentation

The vehicle can only be given as a gift every other time it changes ownershi

Donating a VehicleTransfer-Title

Donating a vehicle to a worthy charity is a good way to get rid of your car. You’ll be eligible for a tax break, too. You may want to contact a tax attorney to be sure you take full advantage of this.

Inheriting a VehicleTransfer-Title

If you are the rightful heir to a vehicle, provide the right documentation and go to a vehicle licensing office to claim the new title. If you have questions, it might be wise to contact a probate attorney. Do the following:

* Surviving spouses with joint ownership will need to bring a certified copy of the death certificate and the title to a vehicle licensing office
* If you were appointed the owner through power of attorney, also bring a certified letter of testamentary or letter of administration
* If you inherited the car through a community property agreement, bring a copy of the community property agreement, the title, and a certified copy of the death certificate to a vehicle licensing office
* If you inherited the car from an unadministered estate, bring the certified copy of the death certificate, Affidavit or Inheritance of succession, and the title to a vehicle licensing office
* Pay $15.50
* Prepare the registration paperwork as well, including proof of insurance

Making Name CorrectionsTransfer-Title

Changing a name:
* Provide proof of name change (the court order of affidavit of name change)
* Certified copy of divorce decree or marriage certificate, if applicable
* Complete a new Vehicle Title Application
* Bring these documents and the title to a vehicle licensing office
* Pay $9 transfer fee and a possible $10 subagent fee

You may also mail everything to:
Department of Licensing
P.O. Box 9909
Olympia, WA 98507-8500

Your new title will arrive in six to eight weeks. You can order copies of missing documents.

Adding or deleting a name:
* All parties involved must appear together at the vehicle licensing office with the title
* An employee will provide instructions for the paperwork
* Pay $9, plus $10 if you go anywhere besides a county auditor