This publication explains how to sell a car without title in Texas. Selling a car with no title is typically challenging but can be done legally or unlawfully.
The common acceptable logical explanation for this is that the title is either damaged, lost, or stolen or you cannot find the previous owner. It is, however, unacceptable if there is no title for the car at all, and, perhaps, the car was not even registered in Texas. Do not even think of selling it with a fake title – that is crossing the line.
But with a proof like a bill of sale, you may be able to get away with it. Have in mind that a bill of sale is not foolproof and can be faked.
How to sell a car without title in Texas
In this section, you will discover both legal and not-so-legal ways to sell your vehicle with no title:
Inform the police
Your intention is to sell this car but if you do not want to somehow do anything illegal, report the vehicle to the police.
It is advisable to tell the police if the car is a barn find, was abandoned on your property or you accidentally bought it with a fake title.
Unfortunately, the police will take the car from you if they determine it was stolen or the owner is traceable.
Request a replacement title before the sale
If the title is lost, damaged, or stolen, you can request a replacement from TxDMV. If you bought the car from someone, let them know they can request a replacement title to sign over to you.
If you cannot contact the previous owner for whatever reason, but legitimately purchased the car within or out of state, consider the next alternative.
Obtain a bonded title and sell the car
You can obtain a bonded title for a car in Texas. If the car is an out-of-state car never registered in Texas, you will need to complete a VIN with a certified Safety Inspection Station in Texas and an auto theft investigator such as the police. You will also obtain certifications from them upon completion.
If the car was registered in Texas, you do not need the inspections above. You only need the bill of sale or any related sales proof, your photo ID, and a Notice of Determination for a Bonded Title or Tax Assessor-Collector Hearing (Form VTR-130-ND). The TxDMV may request other documents, after which you buy a surety bond from auto insurance or any licensed agency in Texas.
Bonded titles typically last for 3 years but you can sell the car with a bonded title. However, the buyer must be willing to continue with the bonded title for the remainder of the 3 years.
Register the car as an abandoned
You can first obtain a title for the car, claiming that it was abandoned on your property. This may be risky if the vehicle was not indeed abandoned on your property.
Refer here to know what Texas defines as an abandoned vehicle.
You can apply for authority to dispose of the motor vehicle. TxDMV will make a notification to any owners and lienholders they can identify by First Class Mail.
If TxDMV cannot locate a motor vehicle record, they will post the notification on this webpage. If the owner(s) and lienholder(s) do not show up after 20 days to claim the car, the department will issue a certificate of authority is issued on the 21st day after the notification is mailed or posted on this page.
You can then apply for authority to dispose of a motor vehicle by completing the Application for Authority to Dispose of a Motor Vehicle to a Demolisher (Form VTR-71-2).
You will also pay a $2.00 application fee. Texas DMV accepts checks or money orders, and fees are non-refundable. Note that the DMV does not accept credit or debit cards and temporary checks.
Register and sell the car as assembled
In Texas, an assembled car is one assembled from component parts such as body, motor, and frame. An assembled car can be custom, street rod, replica, or glider kit.
You cannot title an assembled car by merging two or more vehicles classes but can use parts from certain passenger cars, pickups, panels, and vans. You can also use the frame or body of a nonrepairable motor vehicle.
Texas tends to give priority to people with assembled cars. However, ensure to book an appointment via the TxDMV website first before visiting a TxDMV Regional Service Center (RSC). You need to submit the following documents to the Regional Service Center depending on the assembly type:
- Application for Texas Title and/or Registration (Form 130-U)
- A valid photo ID
- Photographs of the assembled car (front, rear, and side views). If replica, include a photograph of the car you are replicating
- Evidence of ownership for component parts, including motor, body, and frame
- Proof of an Automotive Service Excellence safety inspection
- A copy of the Automobile and Light Truck certification
- Vehicle Inspection Report
- Rebuilt Vehicle Statement (Form VTR-61)
- Certified weight certificate
- Vehicle identification number (VIN) verification document
- A Law Enforcement Identification Number Inspection (Form VTR-68A)
- Notice of Assigned or Reassigned Identification Number (Form VTR-68-N)
- Certificate of Origin if VIN assigned by the maker of the kit used to construct the car
- Manufacturer’s Certificate of Origin if VIN is assigned by the manufacturer of the replica, custom vehicle, street rod, or glider kit
After presenting all the required documents, the RSC will give you a letter listing the verified documents. You will present the list to your local county tax assessor-collector’s office to process the title application and registration.
On the “make” section of the title application, enter ASVE instead of DFKC. Since you have no title, you need to fill the donor VIN in one of the forms.
The disadvantage of this method is that you need to prove that the car is homemade. You have to show a receipt for the parts to convince the RSC. You may have to fake them, which is illegal.
Get a title out of state if the car is old
In a state like Vermont, you can get a title for the car if it is 15 years or older. You only need a bill of sale, fees, and the required taxes for registration.
You can then use the document back in Texas to sell the car. The bill of sale does not have to be notarized. You will need the vehicle identification number, purchase price and date, and buyer and seller details for the registration.
Sell the car online
Some people may be willing to pay for the car at a reduced value. They may need it for purposes of their vehicle construction project, or find a way as listed above to get a title for it, and sell it for a higher value.
Of course, expect annoying lowballing from interested buyers. Ensure to also specify in your ad that the car has no title.
They will not junk it since most state laws require junkyards to have a title for the car. Some junkyards still take the car with just the bill of sale, and signature from the seller to protect them from legal actions arising from the vehicle.
Chop and sell in parts
If none of the methods above is something you can do, consider chopping and selling the car in parts. You will have to erase the VIN on parts with VIN, or not sell them at all. You could as well sell it to scrap – no title is required since it is chopped.