If you purchase a vehicle from another person instead of a dealer, it is known as a private party purchase. Buyers have 10 days after purchasing the vehicle to transfer ownership from the seller to themselves, and sellers have 5 days after the sale to report the transfer of ownership to DMV.
To take over ownership of a vehicle, you will need:
- The vehicle’s title (sometimes referred to as a pink slip), signed by the person selling the car. (Their signature is required on Line 1 of the title.)
- If the vehicle’s title has been lost, stolen, or damaged, complete an Application for Replacement or Transfer of Title (REG 227) form.
- If the seller is not the owner whose name is on the title, you will need a Bill of Sale signed by both the seller and the person whose name appears on the title.
- A record of the odometer mileage (if the vehicle is less than 10 years old).
- If the title does not have a line where you can write the mileage information, complete a Vehicle/ Vessel Transfer and Reassignment (REG 262) form. Make sure both the buyer and seller sign the form. The REG 262 form is not available online because it is printed on security paper, which makes it compliant with federal odometer disclosure regulations.
- A smog certification.
- Applicable fees and a use tax.
You can transfer ownership of the vehicle by mailing your completed form to DMV or visiting a DMV field office in person.
Need something else?
Find out what you need to know about transferring a title into or out of your ownership.
Need to get a smog check to finish registering a vehicle?
Use one of our handy Fee Calculators to plan for registration and title transfer fee estimates.