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  • Paperwork When Selling a Car in Washington

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    When selling a car, you'll need to follow a few simple steps to legally process the sale.

    How to Transfer the Title

    You will need the following to transfer the title of the vehicle:

    In the case of a lost title, an Affidavit of Loss/Release of Interest (Form TD-420-040) must be signed in the presence of a notary public or county auditor.

    Selling a Car Without a Title

    A title is imperative. You can't complete an official sales transaction without one. If you can't find the title to the vehicle you wish to sell, you must visit a vehicle licensing office and complete an Affidavit in Lieu of Title form (this cannot be downloaded). Be sure to bring ample proof supporting your ownership claim.

    Be prepared to wait. Processing takes up to 10 weeks, so you'll want to initiate this process well before you plan to sell the car.

    Selling a Car Without the Registration

    Unlike the title, a vehicle's registration certificate (or lack thereof) has no bearing on a sale. Neither the seller nor the buyer needs the registration in hand to consummate a sales transaction.

    Notice of Transfer and Release of Liability

    You must notify the DOL within 5 business days of your vehicle being sold. You can do this online or in person at any DOL office.

    If you opt to file in person, be sure to have:

    • The date of sale
    • The buyer's name and address
    • The vehicle identification number
    • The license plate number

    After filing you'll receive a receipt. Keep this for your records.

    Bill of Sale

    The buyer will need a bill of sale. The DOL needs it for calculating the vehicle's use tax. And while this does not apply to you, it's always smart to keep a bill of sale for your own records. You can, if needed, easily download this form from our Bills of Sale page.

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