When owners swap cars in private transactions, the buyer and the seller of each vehicle should contact the department of motor vehicles in the state where each car is registered. The owners should go to the state-specific agency together to execute each transfer. If the traders live in different states, they need to abide by the laws that regulate ownership transfers in the states involved.
In Wisconsin, the seller has no forms to complete, but the buyer must apply immediately for a certificate of title. However, in California, the seller must notify the state within five days of the transfer, and it is recommended that the seller complete a Notice of Transfer and a Release of Liability. The buyer has 10 days to report the transfer.
Each party must follow state insurance requirements for the car received in the trade. The county clerk conduct vehicle transfers in Kentucky, and the buyer must acquire insurance on the vehicle before applying for transfer of title. Both parties appear together at the county clerk's office to present the buyer's proof of insurance and the seller's title to complete the transfer by signing and paying the necessary fees. The clerk then issues the new registration certificate.
Each trader should make sure that the title is clear and free of liens and that the vehicle identification number on the title matches the vehicle identification number of the car before accepting ownership.