Since all cars that are being used on the roads must be registered, can you register a car with a bill of sale and no title?
You cannot register a car with a bill of sale and no title because a car title establishes a person as the rightful owner of the car. Therefore, the only way you can register a car with a bill of sale and no title is by obtaining a bounded title and afterward claiming the car as your own.
So for those wondering if it is possible to register a car with just a bill of sale and no title, the answer is NO
Table of Contents
What Is a Bill of Sale?
A bill of sale is the proof of sale, it shows the record of transactions, and it can record the purchase of vehicles, motorbikes, airplanes, houses, and pets, among other things.
A bill of sale is used in situations where there is a transfer of ownership to a new owner.
In more clear terms, a bill of sale is the official documentation of the transfer of ownership, asset, or assets from one party to another, it cannot be used when performing services, but can be used in other situations like the exchange of goods when gifting out properties or mortgage to get loans.
A bill of sale is necessary to avoid disputes that can arise from the sale of the asset in the future.
The bill of sale also shows the condition of the goods when they are sold so there can be no argument, this protects the seller, it gives the seller proof of the condition of goods when sold so the buyer can’t come back to claim extra damage that wasn’t there at the moment of sale.
Some of the content of a bill of sale include (this varies from state to state):
- The names of both the buyer and the seller
- Payment for the good
- Purchase date
- Condition of good at the moment of purchase
- Signatures of the buyer, seller, and a witness
What About Car Title?
Car title on the other hand is one of the most important documents of a car, as it establishes a person as the rightful owner of the property.
A title includes the following information (this information can have some slight variation depending on the state of registration):
- Owners name and address
- Vehicle identification information such as VIN number, make, model and year
- License plate number
- Odometer reading at the time of the sale
- Technical information such as weight
- Lienholder information if the sale is financed
There are different types of car titles and their names vary depending on the state, below are some of them
- Clean or Clear Title: This means that the vehicle has no record of damage or any major repair, does not mean it has never been in any form of accident, it just means it wasn’t a total loss and all past owners can be accountable for.
- Branded Title: a vehicle is given the branded title if it had been involved in an accident that happens to be a total loss, or once subjected to flood damage or an inaccurate odometer. When you buy a branded title car you risk buying with problems however, they come at a cheaper price compared to the clean title
What Does It Mean for A Car to Have a Bill of Sale and No Title?
The bill of sale is the legal document that shows payment of a good while the title is the legal document that shows ownership of the good.
So if you have a bill of sale and no title, what that simply means is that legally you have purchased the goods but you don’t have the legal backing as its owner.
To put it in a lame man term, the bill of sale shows the transactional details of the purchase while the title shows ownership, without the title you have no legal claim to the car as its owner.
It’s like getting a fairly used video game from a friend of yours, after payment, you know the video game is yours but as far as the law is concerned, your friend owns the videogame.
This is the same for a car bought with a bill of sale but no title, as far as the law is concerned, just think of yourself as a caretaker
Can You Register a Car with a Bill of Sale and No Title?
NO, you can’t register a car with only a bill of sale and no title because the title is a major requirement for the registration of a vehicle.
However, if you find yourself in this situation, fret not, there is a way out
How to Register a Car with a Bill of Sale and No Title?
To register a car with just a bill of state and no title, you should:
1. Get your Car Details
For you to get a title there are certain details that you will need, so it’s best to do your homework beforehand to avoid unnecessary wasting of time.
These details include your Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), the make and model of the car, the year of manufacture as well as the odometer reading.
The Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) can be found at the bottom right of the windshield right in front of the passenger’s seat.
2. Visit Your State (DMV) to Check Eligibility
The requirements vary from state to state, in some states this is handled by the secretary of state and in others, you would need to visit the DMV.
However, the vehicle must not be part of any form of ongoing legal investigation. Hence the need to visit your DVM if your state requires it as only the DMV can clear your vehicle for a bonded title.
3. Purchase a Surety Bond
If your eligibility checks out with the DMV congratulation, you are a step closer. You will be given a bill of insurance by the DMV, this bill of insurance will indicate the plan of insurance you need to make to secure the car.
You are to take this bill to an auto insurance agency or any agency that is licensed to sell vehicle surety bonds in your state.
4. Apply for a Bonded Title
After getting a surety bond, start working on getting a bonded title that indicates your ownership. This bonded title is given by your state’s secretary of state after confirming the letter from DMV and your surety bond correspond
5. Proceed to Register the Car
After getting the bonded title, you can proceed to register your car, getting a plate number as well as insurance. Registering a car is important as you cannot drive a car that has no registration for a very long time.
Pros of Buying a Car with a Bill of Sale and No Title
There are not many advantages to buying a car with no title except for a possible decrease in price. And when this is compared to the disadvantage, it’s not worth taking
Cons of Buying a Car with a Bill of Sale and No Title
- It’s illegal: In most states, it is illegal to buy a car without a bill of sale. In situations whereby you are stopped by the police and proof of ownership is required, failure to provide one could arouse suspicion you might have a true story but the cop could care less and this can ultimately land you on the other side of the law.
- No Plate Number: When you buy a car with no title you deny yourself the right to have a plate number as you need a title before you can get a plate not to talk of your ineligibility for a car loan and insurance.
- Exposure to Scam: Buying a car with a bill of sale and no title exposes you to numerous scams and exposes you to a lot of danger, the origin of the car is not clear, could be a stolen vehicle or involved in an ongoing investigation.
The bill of sale is a very important document as well as the title but their work varies and one cannot perform the function of the other, the bill of state shows payment while the title shows ownership.
When buying a car, ensure that the car has a title if not, the seller should get it before selling the car, and if you must buy without a title for whatever reason, ensure your seller is trustworthy and the history of the car is known.