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car keys in hand

What Happens if a Car Doesn’t Have a Title?

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A car title proves that you are the owner of a vehicle. This is why the team at RepoFinder always recommends buying used vehicles with a title. Otherwise, someone who has the valid title can come and take your car away because they are the rightful owners – even if you paid for the vehicle. 

But what happens if you find a vehicle that you want and it doesn’t have the title? While it’s a risky move, there are some ways you can make a safer purchase. Below are some tips on how to buy a car without a title. 

Get background information 

First, do a little research. Is there a reason why the vehicle doesn’t have a title? It’s possible that the original document was misplaced or stolen. Some vintage cars are also difficult to register and obtain a title.

Here are some questions we suggest asking: 

  • Where did you get the car? 
  • How long have you had the vehicle? 
  • Is there a lien on the car? 
  • What is the VIN? 
  • Who has current ownership of the car? 

Make sure it wasn’t stolen 

It’s important to know that you are buying a legal car. You can use a tool like AutoCheck or Carfax to find out the legal status of the vehicle, as well as other information like its odometer reading, accident history and insurance claims. Additionally, check out the car’s VIN from your state’s DMV. However, be aware that your DMV may not be able to answer all of your questions due to confidentiality and privacy issues.

Get a bill of sale 

As long as there are no red flags, you can proceed with the sale. But, do protect yourself by documenting everything. The first thing to write up is a bill of sale. This will help prove ownership and document other information like if the seller is going to supply you with a replacement title. If this is the case, we suggest putting your money in escrow and not paying in full until you get the title. 

Get a surety bond title 

If the vehicle’s title was lost or stolen, you can request a lost title bond. These bonds protect the DMV from the loss of the vehicle and potential damages, as well as protects buyers from obtaining fraudulent duplicates of titles. Once everything is verified by the surety bond company, you’ll pay a percentage of the bond amount. As long as no issues arise, you can get a clean title in 3-5 years. 

While we don’t recommend buying cars without their titles, there are certain times when it makes sense to do so. When shopping for repo cars, you might find that some have “repo titles.” This is fine – all it means is that the car was repossessed. Once you purchase the vehicle from the bank or lender, the title is transferred to your name. To browse repos with clean titles, visit RepoFinder.com today.