As a Florida motor vehicle owner, your driver license proves your legal privilege to drive, and your certificate of title proves the vehicle belongs to you. If you want to buy, sell, or give away your prized ride, you must complete a Florida car title transfer. Knowing how to comply with the rules enables a smooth transition to the new owner.
When is a Florida Car Title Transfer Required?
Several situations require a transfer of title under Florida law. When you buy a motor vehicle or mobile home from a dealer, the dealer handles the paperwork to deliver the title to you, but when you buy it from a private seller, you handle the car title transfer. If you give, donate or inherit a vehicle, it requires the transfer of the vehicle title to the new owner. If you are a lienholder, you must complete the car title transfer process after releasing the lien. A name change triggers a transfer of title because you need a title certificate in your new name.
Agencies Authorized to Transfer Florida Titles
In the state of Florida, the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) in Tallahassee is responsible for issuing title certificates. County tax collector offices act as DHSMV agents to provide the services you need for transfer of titles. For example, for an additional $10 fee, the Alachua County Tax Collector issues a certificate of title when the transaction occurs, or you can have the DHSMV return the paper title to your address within four weeks. Under Florida law, you can hold an electronic title and request a paper title if you need it.
Benefits of Florida's Electronic Lien and Title (ELT) Program
Consider asking for an electronic title instead of a paper title for your next Florida car title transfer. Florida's Electronic Lien and Title (ELT) program offers several benefits. Choosing an electronic title for your motor vehicle lowers costs and reduces risk of title loss, theft, and fraud. The ELT program enables state agencies to provide better customer service and allows faster notification of lien satisfactions. If you decide to trade in your motor vehicle to a Florida motor vehicle dealer, the title stays in its electronic form and the dealer takes care of the paperwork.
At the time you transfer your motor vehicle or mobile home, ask to place the title in electronic status. Once you have an electronic title and request a paper title, it's converted to paper for a $2.50 service fee and mailed to you. To get a printed title, go to www.GoRenew.com. Some tax collector's offices provide Fast Title for $10. With Fast Title, the office prints your electronic title immediately while you wait.
How to Transfer an Electronic Title
When you sell a motor vehicle for which you hold an electronic title, you can transfer the title electronically if the buyer agrees. You and the buyer complete and sign a secure reassignment document at the Tax Collector's office. The document states the odometer reading. If the buyer does not agree to an electronic transfer, print a paper title to transfer ownership.
Paper Car Title Transfer for Private Buyers
When buying a motor vehicle from a private seller with a paper title, you need several items to complete the car title transfer. You should have a bill of sale from the seller as proof of ownership. The seller must complete the transfer section of the paper title and give it to you. If you see any liens on the title, ask for a copy of the lien satisfactions. You want proof of satisfaction, so you won't be on the hook for paying the lienholder. Get an Application for Certificate of Title With/Without Registration (Form HSMV 82040) and fill it out in your name. Fill out the Florida Insurance Affidavit (Form HSMV 83330) and have proof of Florida insurance, such as your auto policy or insurance card.
As of 2019, the title transfer fees in Florida are $75.25 for an electronic title or a $2.50 additional fee for a paper title. If you place liens on the vehicle, they cost $2 each. License plate and vehicle registration fees depend on the vehicle's weight. An initial $225 fee for motor vehicle registration applies to private cars, motorhomes and trucks weighing less than 5,000 pounds. Your vehicle may qualify for certain exemptions.
To ensure a smooth transaction, ask the seller to go with you to the local tax collector's office to complete the vehicle title transfer. If you are not in Florida, mail your forms and fees to your county tax collector.
Transfer of Title by Private Sellers
If you are selling your vehicle, give your buyer an original bill of sale that includes the vehicle identification number (VIN), vehicle description, date of sale and purchase price. It's wise to have it notarized for extra security and to keep a copy. Go with the buyer to the county tax collector office if you can to help ensure a successful transfer. Whether you go or not, submit a Notice of Sale or Bill of Sale for a Motor Vehicle, Mobile Home, Off-Highway Vehicle or Vessel (Form HSMV 82050) to the Florida DMV. This document lets the state know the vehicle is not in your name. While the DMV is processing the state title transfer, this notice protects you in case the new owner violates any Florida laws.
How New Florida Residents Transfer Title
Are you a new Florida resident, or are you planning a move to the state? If so, you must obtain a new vehicle title, initial registration, and a Florida license plate. Complete the application for title, which is Form HSMV 82040. You need the Florida Insurance Affidavit, Form HSMV 83330, with proof of Florida insurance. Also, submit a VIN verification, which you can complete at the local Florida Department of Highway Safety office. As an alternative, submit Form HSMV 82042, Vehicle Identification Number and odometer verification.
Your Florida title transfer fees are $77.25 for an out-of-state title transfer fee for an electronic title, $2 to record a lien, and $225 for a new-to-Florida vehicle fee, as of 2019. For a paper title, the charge is $2.50 more. Registration and license plate fees depend on your vehicle's weight and the type of plate you choose. Deliver your documents and fees in person or by mail to your county tax collector's office. If you request a paper title, expect to receive it within five business days after submitting your title application.
The process for completing a Florida car title transfer is fast and efficient when you understand it. Make a checklist of what you need and complete the title application and forms carefully before submitting them. Ask questions, follow the rules and get on the road legally.