This publication takes you through how to get a title for a car with a bill of sale in Texas. Without a title, you cannot legally drive a car Texas, like any other state, will not allow you to operate.
If you have only a bill of sale and no title or lost the title and cannot contact the seller, there is an option of using the bonded title procedure to transfer ownership.
The steps may be tricky since you only have a bill of sale but can be done, then you can claim the car as yours.
A bill of sale is not a solid proof of transfer, but the DMV overlooks it when applying for a bonded title. It is merely a receipt that can be forged but that you should have for personal records.
Note that a bonded title allows you to legally sell the car in Texas if the buyer accepts the terms.
How to get a title for a car with a bill of sale in Texas
Follow the steps below to claim the vehicle with only a bill of sale:
Check your eligibility
To qualify for this procedure, you must be:
- A Texas resident, or
- Military personnel stationed in Texas
The car without a title must not have a salvage title or be considered junk. However, the car does not have to be operational but needs to be a complete vehicle with a frame, body, and motor.
If you meet the requirements, take (in person) or mail the following to the Texas DMV (Department of Motor Vehicle) Regional Service Center:
- Bonded Title Application (Form VTR-130-SOF)
- Bill of sale, invoice, canceled check, etc. (for car payment proof)
- Your valid photo ID
- $15.00 administrative fee
Note that TxDMV accepts cash, money orders, and checks.
Obtain vehicle inspection report
If you bought the car out of state, and you are a Texas resident, you need to have the VIN (vehicle identification number) verified by a certified Safety Inspection Station in Texas.
You will be issued a Vehicle Inspection Report after completing the VIN inspection successfully. This procedure checks if you are trying to get a Texas title for a stolen car with a bill of sale.
Go for vehicle identification number inspection
If the car has never been titled/registered in Texas, and you are a Texas resident, you will go for a vehicle identification number (VIN) inspection from an auto theft investigator on the Law Enforcement Identification Number Inspection (Form VTR-68-A).
Find out with your local law enforcement agencies, including the sheriff’s office or police department to know the date and location they offer these inspections.
Note that this VIN inspection is not offered by the TxDMV. After completing this inspection, you will be Form VTR-68-A by the inspecting officer.
Obtain Notice of Determination for a Bonded Title or Tax Assessor-Collector Hearing
The next step is to obtain a Notice of Determination for a Bonded Title or Tax Assessor-Collector Hearing (Form VTR-130-ND) after your documents are verified and approved.
This form will state the amount of the bond you must purchase. Typically, the bond amount is equal to one and a half times the value of the car with no title.
Texas DMV will determine the value of the car using:
- The Standard Presumptive Value (SPV) from the TX DMV website.
- If an SPV is unavailable, the department will use the National Auto Dealers Association (NADA) reference guide.
- If SPV or NADA is not available, the car value will be appraised by an insurance adjuster or any licensed motor vehicle dealer on Motor Vehicle Appraisal for Tax Collector Hearing/Bonded Title (Form VTR-125) offered by Texas DMV.
If your car is 25 years old or older, the value is set at $4,000 if appraisals show the value of the car as $4,000.
Buy a Texas surety bond
Take all the documents and Notice of Determination for a Bonded Title or Tax Assessor-Collector Hearing (Form VTR-130-ND) issued to you by the Texas DMV Regional Service Center to an auto insurance or any licensed agency that sells vehicle Surety Bonds in Texas.
Note that you must purchase a Surety Bond in the amount shown on the notice within one year from the purchase date. Otherwise, you will be required to get a new notice and bond.
If the car has a lien of less than 10 years on it, the surety bond company will ensure that the lien has been satisfied or released.
Complete your bonded title application
After purchasing the bond, you have 30 days to take the original Notice of Determination for a Bonded Title or Tax Assessor-Collector Hearing (Form VTR-130-ND), and other documents issued to you by the Regional Service Center to your county tax office.
You will also need:
- Completed Application for Texas Title and/or Registration (Form 130-U)
If the car was initially registered or titled in Texas, you do not need:
- Law Enforcement Identification Number Inspection (Form VTR-68-A) completed by an auto theft investigator.
If the car has an out-of-state title, you need:
- Vehicle Identification Report (VIR) completed by an authorized Safety Inspection Station.
If it is a truck, you need:
- Weight certificate
If the records show that you imported the car, you need:
- Customs documents that show the car was properly imported and is compliant/exempt from all Federal safety regulations.
You may watch Buxton Auto dealer’s video before also explaining the possibility of getting a bonded title with just a bill of sale in Texas:
Read also: do you return old tags in Texas?