When an automobile is sold, the seller and the purchaser must fill out a bill of sale and the ownership section of the title certificate. The seller must provide proof of ownership and proof of transfer of ownership, while the buyer must sign all forms, provide proof of tax payment, and register and title the purchased vehicle, according to the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles.
If a car is purchased from an auto dealership, the dealer fills out the forms. However, if it is a private sale, the buyer and seller are responsible for taking care of the paperwork. For used cars, some states require additional data, such as an odometer reading, proof of the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) and the original bill of sale. The VIN on the car must match the VIN on the bill of sale and on the vehicle title. Proof must be presented that the car is free from any liens, judgment or claims, as reported by DMV.org.
As motor vehicle regulations are a state responsibility, the requirements for a title transfer may vary slightly from state to state. For example, in New Jersey, the plates of the vehicle must be returned to the Department of Motor Vehicles before the sale can be completed. The buyer must present a driver's license and proof of whether the car was purchased from an individual, a dealer or an auction. Both parties must present all materials to a Department of Motor Vehicles office within 10 days or face a $25 dollar fine, as listed on the State of New Jersey's Motor Vehicle Commission's website.