Transfer ownership when buying from a private party
- Know when you need to transfer ownership.
- Gather the information you’ll need.
- Complete all necessary forms.
- Submit your forms and payment.
- Get new license plates.
- Add the vehicle to your License eXpress account.
1. Know when you need to transfer ownership
After you buy or get a vehicle as a gift, you have 15 days to transfer the ownership into your name. If you don’t transfer within 15 days you’ll have to pay penalties:
- $50 on the 16th day,
- $2 per day after the 16th day, up to $125.
If you buy from a WA state dealer, they will take care of the transfer. If you buy from an out-of-state dealer, you may need to take care of the transfer.
2. Gather the information you’ll need
Find out how much it will cost by contacting a vehicle licensing office location.
- If the vehicle is less than 10 years old fill out the Odometer Disclosure Statement – It’s only available:
- If you live in these counties, get an Emissions testing report:
- Clark County
- King County
- Pierce County
- Snohomish County
- Spokane County
- If the seller lost the title, they must complete an Affidavit of Loss/Release of Interest and sign it in front of a notary public or licensing agent at an office.
- If your address is outside of WA state or mail delivery isn’t available at your WA address, complete a Certificate of Fact of Address Verification — Exception form.
- If the owner is deceased, you may need other documentation, contact an office.
3. Complete all necessary forms
4. Submit your forms and payment
Submit the following to an office:
- Vehicle/Vessel Bill of Sale,
- Vehicle Certificate of Ownership (Title) Application,
- A copy of the current vehicle title, and
- Payment – contact an office for the exact amount.
If needed, also submit:
- Emissions testing report,
- Affidavit of Loss/Release of Interest, or
- Odometer Disclosure Statement.
Getting your title
How quickly do you want your title?
- You can visit or mail your forms and payment to an office.
- It will take 8–10 weeks to get your title.
If you need it faster than 8–10 weeks:
- You can visit or mail your forms and fees to a Quick Title office*.
- It’ll cost $50 plus the title fees.
*Note: Quick titles aren’t available for snowmobiles, vehicles or boats reported as stolen, insurance or wrecker-destroyed vehicles and boats, or vehicles with ”WA Rebuilt“ on the title.
5. Get new license plates
Since the vehicle has changed ownership, you’ll need to get new plates.
There are exceptions – Plates don’t need to be replaced if:
- You’re removing a deceased spouse or domestic partner from the title.
- You got your vehicle from:
- your spouse or domestic partner,
- a family member as a gift or inheritance, or
- a trust in which the registered owner or their immediate family members are the beneficiaries of the trust.
See, Required plate replacement for more information.
6. Add the vehicle to your License eXpress account
Once the ownership has been transferred into your name you can add it to your License eXpress account. With License eXpress, you can manage all your vehicles:
- See when your vehicle’s tabs are due.
- Make sure your address is up-to-date.
- Sign-up or update email renewal notices and more.
To learn more, see What is License eXpress?
Questions? Need help?