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Car Seller Didn’t Notarize The Title – What Now?

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Buying a car is an exciting moment, but the paperwork and legal process can be daunting, especially if you're buying it from a private seller. For example, what do you do if the seller didn't have the title notarized before handing over the keys? First, let's take a look at your best course of action.

If the seller didn't have the title notarized before finalizing the deal, then you won't be able to have the vehicle registered in your name. In this case, you will need to go back to the seller and have them notarize the title with a notary. Only then will you be able to have the vehicle legally registered in your name.

There are advantages to buying a vehicle from a private seller, but there are some things to watch out for. In this article, we will take a closer look at the proper process of buying a car from a private seller. In addition, we will answer other frequently asked questions about vehicle title work, so keep reading!

Couple is buying new car and signing the contract, Car Seller Didn't Notarize The Title - What Now?

Car Seller Didn't Notarize Title — What Now?

If you're the buyer and the seller didn't have the title notarized before finalizing the deal, don't panic! You still have some options.

First, you can try to track down the seller and ask them to take the vehicle title to a notary to get it notarized. This is your best option if you want to keep things as smooth and straightforward as possible.

If the seller has left town for one reason or another, they can have a power of attorney signed and have someone sign on their behalf.

If the seller is unwilling or unable to do either of the above, you can apply for a duplicate title from the state. This process can be lengthy and may require additional paperwork, so it's best to speak with your local DMV office to get all the details.

Keep in mind that this may only work if you have a notarized bill of sale or a witness present at the time of purchase. However, if you don't have a bill of sale to back up your claim, then you may be out of luck. To avoid these headaches, let's take a look at how to properly buy a car from a private seller.

Businessman stamping with approved stamp on document at meeting

How to buy a car from a private seller

When buying a car from a private seller, there are a few things you need to keep in mind.

First, have a CarFax history report done on the vehicle. This will help you know if the car has been in any major accidents and could save you money down the road.

The most important thing is to make sure that the seller has the car's title in their name. This document proves that the seller is the legal owner of the car. If they don't have the title, it's best to walk away from the deal.

In addition, you'll want to get a bill of sale from the seller. This document proves that the seller has transferred ownership of the car to you. Without it, you may have a hard time registering the car in your name.

Notarize the title before taking ownership

Once you have agreed to terms and have both signed the bill of sale, it is time to have the title notarized. Do not take ownership of the vehicle under any circumstances before having proof that the title has been notarized. It is also is a good idea to have the bill of sale notarized, but it isn't a requirement.

You do not need to be present when the title is notarized, but it is a good idea to know who the notary is in case you have any questions. This document is an important part of the car buying process and will protect you in the event that something goes wrong.

Once the title has been notarized, the bill of sale has been signed, and money has exchanged hands, you can now take ownership of the vehicle. From there, you should go to your local DMV to have the vehicle registered in your name.

Be sure to bring the notarized title and bill of sale with you when you go to the DMV. If you follow these simple steps, you can avoid any potential legal problems and have a hassle-free experience when buying your next car.

Happy woman with car dealer in auto salon

Who is responsible for changing ownership of a vehicle?

The seller is responsible for changing ownership of a vehicle and ensuring that all the necessary paperwork is in order. This includes getting the title notarized and having a bill of sale signed by both parties. If the buyer doesn't have the title notarized, they may have a hard time registering the car in their name.

However, the buyer is responsible for ensuring that all the necessary paperwork is in order before taking ownership of the vehicle. This includes getting a CarFax history report and having the title notarized.

Both parties must take responsibility for their part in the transaction to ensure a smooth and hassle-free experience.

How to get a title notarized without the seller

In order to get a title notarized without the seller being present, you will need to provide a power of attorney to the notary.

This document gives the notary permission to act on behalf of the seller. A power of attorney can be signed by the seller or someone else who has been given authority to act on their behalf.

Can you register a car with a bill of sale and no title?

Unfortunately, a bill of sale isn't enough to register a car without the title. You will need to get the title notarized to complete the transaction.

The notary will verify that the seller has transferred ownership of the car to you. There is no legitimate proof that you bought the car legally without this document.

Vehicle registration with tag

What if the seller never signed the title?

If the seller never signed the title when they first had the car registered, then you technically don't need to have the title notarized. The reason is that the owner needs to sign the title as the final step of new vehicle ownership.

If they didn't, they could sell the car without having the title notarized, and the buyer could sign the title as the new owner.

The new owner can then take the title and bill of sale to the DMV and have the vehicle registered in their name. However, it is not recommended to do this process because if you lose the title or have it stolen, someone can claim the title by signing it as the owner.

How do you notarize a car title?

To notarize a car title, you will need to provide the notary with a copy of the title. The notary will confirm that you are the owner and will have you sign in the notary book and on the title to transfer ownership.

The notary will then stamp the title with their seal to show that it has been notarized.

Businesswoman puts stamp on credit documents at work desk

Does a bill of sale need to be notarized?

A bill of sale does not need to be notarized in most states, but it is recommended that you have it notarized to protect yourself in the event of a legal dispute.

For example, if you just bought the car and lose the title, then the notarized bill of sale will be enough for you to request a new title from the DMV.

Without the notarized bill of sale, you may have a difficult time proving that you are the legal owner of the car. Therefore, it is essential to also check with your state's DMV to see if they have any specific requirements for a bill of sale.

What is a salvaged title?

A salvaged title is a title that has been issued to a car after it has been declared a total loss by an insurance company.

This means that the car has had total damages costing more than the value of the vehicle's market value. Salvaged cars can be fixed and driven on public roads, but they can't be purchased with a car loan.

You will find cars that seem like incredible deals, but they have a salvaged title. If you have cash and feel comfortable that the car has been fixed correctly, then it may be a good deal for you. Always get a CarFax history report to know the car's whole story before buying it.

The CarFax report will tell you if the title is clean or not and when the accident happened.

Final Thoughts

When buying a car, it is important to make sure that all of the proper paperwork is in order. This will help to ensure a smooth and hassle-free experience.

Make sure to have the title notarized to protect yourself in the event of a legal dispute. If you are unsure of what needs to be done, consult with your state's DMV to see their specific requirements.

Before you go, be sure to check out these other posts:

Can You Add Someone's Name To A Vehicle's Title?

Do Motorcycles Have Titles?

How to Transfer a Car Title in California