Washington title transfers for cars are common procedures that must be completed through the state Department of Licensing (DOL) on each occasion the possession of a motor vehicle is passed to another owner. These transfers help to provide proof that a change in ownership has occurred, and without them buyers and sellers can run into several different problems.

When completing a car title transfer, vehicle owners also have the option of obtaining a new car registration during the same visit to their local vehicle licensing office. Read on to review the WA title transfer requirements, learn how to fill out transfer of title documents and find out common scenarios for which a title transfer may be necessary.

What is a car title transfer in Washington?

To ensure a successful completion of the Washington vehicle title transfer process, car owners are encouraged to get more information on the process of transferring a car title in the state. The WA title transfer for cars is a common procedure that leads to the legal reassignment of the ownership of a motor vehicle to a new owner.

The state-issued certificate of title is the main document used to perform a title transfer since it can record important information about the vehicle sale and link the old with the new legal owner. Vehicle owners who fail to complete a car title transfer will be unable to register and operate their newly purchased vehicles in the state.

When is a vehicle title transfer required in Washington?

Completing a title transfer for vehicles in Washington is a mandatory step in instances where the vehicle ownership is transferred to a new legal entity.

The most common situation when a transfer of car title is necessary is after buying or selling a motor vehicle. However, vehicle owners are also required to finalize the corresponding WA title transfers for cars in other unique instances.

For example, you will have to transfer your car title even if you have received the vehicle as a gift, donation or inheritance. Note that the state DOL requires you to initiate the transfer of vehicle title within a certain number of days of the effective transfer date. Failure to transfer a car title in WA by this deadline will lead to late titling fees.

Information and Documents Necessary to Transfer a Title in Washington

The department imposes several car title transfer requirements in Washington, such as paying certain fees and submitting several types of documents and information. Note that the requirements to transfer an auto title may differ depending on the applicant’s circumstances and the details of the transfer of ownership.

The following WA title transfer requirements regarding documentation, for example, apply when transferring a car title after a private sale:

  • A properly assigned title certificate
  • A completed title application
  • The bill of sale containing the buyer’s and the seller’s details and signatures, data about the vehicle and the sale price and date
  • An odometer disclosure statement, if the title does not have a separate section for this purpose
  • An emissions testing report, if required

Note: Sellers with lost titles must apply for a replacement title certificates before initiating the transfer.

When transferring an auto title in WA under certain unique circumstances, you may be required to furnish additional paperwork and information. For instance, if you have received a gifted vehicle, you may be required to provide an additional proof of paid taxes on the vehicle when transferring the title.

If you initiate the title transfer for cars for an inherited vehicle, on the other hand, you may need certain paperwork proving the death of the original owner and your entitlement for the vehicle.

Steps for Performing a Transfer of Title in Washington

To successfully finalize the corresponding title transfers for cars in Washington, vehicle owners will be required to submit the necessary documents and fee payments either in person or by mail.

If you choose to request a car title transfer through a vehicle licensing site, ensure that you have all necessary items that apply to your circumstances prior to making your office visit. When transferring a vehicle title in WA in person, you will also be required to present official identification, such as a valid Washington driving license or a state-issued ID card.

To complete the transfer of car title by mail, on the other hand, you will be required to mail a notarized application form with the supporting paperwork and a check payment to any DOL licensing office within the state.

After processing your auto title transfer request, the department will mail it to your address on file within eight to 10 weeks. If you utilize the DOL expedited title service through a Quick Title office, you will get your new title much sooner.

Note: Vehicle sellers are required to submit a report of sale to the department when they conclude a private car sale in order to avoid future liability for the vehicle.

Getting a New Car Title Versus Title Transfers in Washington

Vehicle owners who want to apply for a DMV new title in Washington are encouraged to first learn the difference between getting a new car title and a title transfer procedure. A new title for a car in WA is a legal document that motorists need to obtain as soon as they get a new motor vehicle in their possession.

To order a new car title, motorists need to perform an application procedure through the Washington Department of Licensing (WA DOL). Vehicle owners need to obtain a title either after purchasing a new motor vehicle or after moving to WA, since they will operate the vehicle on public roads within their new state of residence.

Furthermore, the process of getting a new car title in Washington is different from the procedure of transferring a car title. A title transfer is a procedure that motorists perform when they purchase or sell a motor vehicle in most cases.

However, WA residents may also be required to conduct a title transfer when they inherit a motor vehicle from another person, or when they receive a motor vehicle as gift or donation.

Car Title Transfer Fees in Washington

The last step in the process of transferring a vehicle title in Washington is arranging payment for the applicable titling and registration costs. Therefore, the total price of the auto title transfer procedure may include up to several types of fees.

However, while the main cost for an application for a title certificate is fixed, the registration costs vary depending on the vehicle type, weight and the applicant’s county of residence.

Note that in addition to these main car title transfer fees, the state DOL also imposes certain filing and service fees. If you initiate the WA transfer of car title later than a certain number of days of the date of the ownership transfer, you will also be required to pay a late titling fee. If you utilize the DOL Quick Title service, on the other hand, you will have to pay an additional service fee.

The standard titling fee in Washington is $15.

Note: When you purchase a new vehicle in Washington, you will be required to pay the corresponding taxes as well.

Last updated on Tuesday, March 10 2020.