Steps to Verify a Vehicle Title before Purchasing

  • March 8, 2023
  • 2 min read

What do you need to verify about a vehicle before you purchase it?

  • First, make sure that you’re getting a valid original title, not a replacement or a photocopy, when you buy the vehicle.
  • Look for undocumented liens; some states have electronic liens that may not show in that title, but you have to verify them separately with the DMV.
  • Look to see if you can run a Carfax to verify that it’s not stolen, not a salvage title, not a rebuilt title, or that there are no title brands that have been washed off the record.
  • Check the NMVTIS—National Motor Vehicle Title Information System—to see if there are any other records you should be aware of before handing over your money.
  • Verify that the owner’s signature on any documents matches the ID of the person who is supposed to be the owner. Sometimes people will sell a car that’s not there by forging a name or signature.
  • Match up the VIN number from every document you get with what’s on the car on that metal title tag and the windshield to make sure you’re buying the right vehicle.

Also make sure that the title and any other documents have no damage. It’s not crossed out; you didn’t cross anything out. You didn’t change anything. If there’s an error that has to be fixed by having a new document created and signing that one out, does it work with DMV? Cross outs do not work with the DMV, so make sure that’s not part of the paperwork that you send them.

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