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How to Transfer a Car Title in Maryland

  • 3 min read

Are you looking to purchase a used vehicle in Maryland? One crucial step in the process is transferring the vehicle title, which establishes your legal ownership and allows you to register the vehicle under your name. To ensure a seamless and successful title transfer, it is important to familiarize yourself with the necessary documents and follow the required steps. In this blog post, we present a comprehensive, step-by-step guide on transferring a vehicle title in Maryland.

Step 1: Gather the Required Documents

Before starting the title transfer process, make sure you have the following documents on hand:

  • Properly assigned title certificate: If the vehicle’s current title was issued in Maryland, it could be used as proof of ownership. However, if the vehicle is from a state that does not issue a title, you can submit a registration document and a bill of sale instead.
  • Application for Certificate of Title (VR-005): Fill out this application form, providing all the necessary information. Ensure you include your proof of liability insurance details, which must comply with Maryland’s minimum requirements.
  • Bill of Sale (VR-181): Prepare a bill of sale that is signed by both the buyer and the seller. If the vehicle is less than 7 years old, and the purchase price is at least $500 below the book value, the bill of sale must be notarized. This requirement applies if the new owner wants the excise tax calculation to be based on the purchase price rather than the book value.
  • Proof of purchase price: Provide documentation that verifies the purchase price of the vehicle. This can be the bill of sale mentioned above, indicating the actual price paid.
  • Odometer disclosure statement (if applicable): If the vehicle has an odometer, complete the Odometer Disclosure Statement (VR-197). This statement records the odometer reading at the time of the transfer.
  • Lien release form (if applicable): If there is a lien on the vehicle, obtain a lien release form from the lien holder. This can be a completed and signed Maryland Security Interest Filing or a signed letter from the lien holder specifically stating that the lien has been released.

Step 2: Submitting the Application

Once you have obtained all the necessary documents, follow these steps to get your Maryland vehicle title:

  • Obtain inspections, as directed: Some vehicles may require inspections, so make sure to comply with any instructions given. However, transfers between spouses or parents and children typically do not require inspections.
  • Visit your nearest MVA office: Take all the required documents and visit the nearest Maryland Vehicle Administration (MVA) office. Submit your completed Application for Certificate of Title (VR-005) and pay the applicable fees and taxes.
  • Receive your new title and registration: After submitting your application and paying the fees, the MVA will process your request, and your new title will be mailed to you. If you choose to register the vehicle simultaneously, you will also receive your registration card, expiration stickers, and license plate immediately.

To successfully transfer a vehicle title in Maryland, it is crucial to gather all the essential documents and diligently follow the provided instructions. These include obtaining a properly assigned title certificate, completing the application form, having a bill of sale, providing proof of insurance, and including any additional documents, such as the odometer disclosure statement or lien release form, if applicable. By ensuring you have all the necessary paperwork, you will be well-prepared to navigate the title transfer process smoothly.