Maryland Title Transfer: A Step-by-Step Guide

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Want to sell a vehicle? Buying one? Or, perhaps you’re gifting or inheriting it?

You’ll need to complete a title transfer to pass ownership of the vehicle.

The two parties exchange the title, file the appropriate paperwork, and pay any necessary fees. This process doesn’t take long given you’re prepared. Or, if both parties go to the DMV (recommended).

Below, you’ll learn how the Maryland title transfer process works for private transactions. Plus, learn the alternative title transfers and how you’ll bring a vehicle from out of the state, too.

Transferring a Title in Maryland: How It’s Done

It’s recommended that both parties go to the DMV as this clears any confusion and potential issues when passing ownership of the vehicle. However, you’re more than welcome to exchange the title on your own time and later visit the DMV to complete the process.

You will visit a Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration office (see our directory).

Here is what you’ll do to complete a title transfer in Maryland (including the seller and buyer):

  1. Get an inspection and keep a copy of the inspection certificate
  2. Get proof the vehicle passed its emissions test
  3. Retrieve the vehicle’s title or request a duplicate title
    1. Buyers: You may need a lien release from the current owner
    2. Sellers: Provide a lien release to the buyer if needed
  4. Fill in the Maryland certificate of title – including:
    1. Full legal name and address of the buyer and current owner
    2. Date of sale (month, day, and year)
    3. Vehicle mileage, condition, and purchase price
    4. Odometer reading (else: File an odometer disclosure)
  5. Complete and submit a notarized Bill of Sale if the vehicle is:
    1. 8 years and newer
    2. The sale price is above $500
  6. Complete and submit an Application for Certificate of Title (VR-005)
  7. Bring any necessary documents:
    1. Proof of identification
    2. Proof of MD residency
    3. Proof of MD auto insurance
  8. Pay the taxes and fees
    1. Title: $100
    2. Tax: 6% of the sale price

You should register your vehicle after titling it to avoid any complications. See our Maryland vehicle registration guide to learn how the process is done. If you haven’t got it yet, do consider adding or dropping auto insurance. Or, shopping around for a new policy as you may find new discounts.

Alternative Title Transfers in Maryland

Maryland wants to know when titles are transferred outside of private sales whether buying from a car lot or passing the vehicle & title around family and friends. See each section below for the alternative title transfer process you require.

Buying from Dealerships

Dealerships will process your title & registration, sending documents to their appropriate locations. If they don’t, request the forms and deliver them to an MD DMV. The DMV will process your information and you’ll be soon on your way.

If your dealer doesn’t provide this service:

Retrieve the Manufacturer’s Certificate of Origin. Then, file a Bill of Sale and get the necessary proofs (like inspection, emissions, etc.). Turn in the documents along with the application, then pay your fees.

Inheriting a Vehicle

Inheriting a vehicle typically involves the following:

  • Getting the current title and death certificate of the deceased
  • Filing the Application for Certificate of Title
  • Filing the Application for Maryland Gift Certification (VR-103) if gifting to a family member or submitting a Bill of Sale if the vehicle was purchased from the family member
  • Getting a safety and emissions inspection (certificate)

The new owner will pay the taxes & fees, and complete the registration.

Gifted/Donated Vehicles

Gifting the vehicle includes doing the following:

  1. Signing the title
    1. Include: The odometer reading
    2. Writing “Gift” in the purchase price
  2. As the new owner – show proof:
    1. ID
    2. Residency
    3. Insurance
    4. Emissions
    5. Safety
  3. Pay your fees and taxes

You may also need to bring a notarized Bill of Sale if it’s a newer vehicle. In all, this process is largely the same as a private transaction (above) except you’re placing “gift” as the sale price.