Completing Auto Title Transfers in Arizona
Many Arizona residents will eventually need to complete a vehicle title transfer as either a buyer or seller. It’s important to have some idea of how this process works and your requirements on either side of the table before beginning the transfer process. When it comes to an Arizona auto title transfer, how to start depends on whether you’re buying or selling.
Tips for Buyers
If you are buying a vehicle in Arizona, you must complete a title transfer at an Arizona Motor Vehicle Division title office. When purchasing a vehicle from a dealer, the dealer typically handles the title paperwork and filing for a small fee. If you finance the vehicle, the financer will hold the vehicle title until you pay off the full amount of the purchase price.
When you buy a vehicle, the title transfer process entails several fees you will need to pay at the time of transfer. These fees aren’t terribly expensive:
- The title transfer fee is $4.
- The registration fee is $8
- The air quality research fee is only $1.50.
These are the fee amounts as of early 2018. The only fee that will be more expensive is the vehicle license tax, which varies based on the vehicle’s value.
Buying from Private Sellers
Many Arizona citizens decide to sell their old vehicles, and it’s vital for buyers to be wary of these transactions. While most private sellers act in good faith, some private sellers may attempt to sell a compromised vehicle, or a vehicle with a lien attached to it.
The best way to handle a private sale and title transfer is for the buyer and the seller to visit an Arizona Motor Vehicle Division title office together in person. The seller must provide the vehicle title signed and notarized.
The buyer must complete an Arizona Title and Registration Application and pay the necessary fees and vehicle license tax. If there is a lien recorded on the vehicle title, the seller must provide a lien release form.
Once the paperwork is in order and the necessary fees paid, the Arizona auto title services clerk will process the title transfer and assign the vehicle title to the new owner.
Advice for Private Sellers
Anyone who sells an owned vehicle to someone else should be careful to limit future liability and ensure all paperwork is in order. First, sign the title and have it notarized. If necessary, secure a notarized lien release for each lien on the vehicle title.
After completing the sale and title transfer, remove your license plate from the vehicle. You do not give your license plate to the buyer with the vehicle, as license plate registration pertains to a vehicle’s owner, not the vehicle. You can then submit your license plate to the Arizona Motor Vehicle Department for a plate refund or plate credit.
Finally, after selling the vehicle, you should mark the vehicle as sold within 10 days of the sale. You can do this on the Arizona Motor Vehicle Department website, or on the back of your vehicle registration. The “sold” notice will help ensure you are not accountable for any crashes or tickets that occur with the vehicle after the sale.
Potential Issues with Auto Title Transfers
A number of possible issues may arise during a vehicle title transfer, typically when multiple sellers are involved or the vehicle’s ownership is in question. For example, if a seller is acting on behalf of the vehicle’s owner, the seller must provide proof of property rights for the owner’s property. This could be in the form of a court order or proof of power of attorney for the vehicle owner.
In the case of multiple owners on a vehicle title, every owner must sign the title, and each signature requires notarization. It’s also important to remember that you cannot complete a title transfer without actually having the vehicle title. If the seller does not have the title, he or she must secure a duplicate title to transfer to the buyer.
It’s also crucial for buyers to ensure the lien status of a vehicle. If a buyer purchases a vehicle with a lien on it, the buyer is responsible for paying the lien.
Finally, anyone who moves to Arizona must have his or her out-of-state vehicle title transferred to an Arizona title immediately after establishing residency. An out-of-state title owner must appear in person at an Arizona Motor Vehicle Division title office and complete an emissions inspection before applying for an Arizona title.
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