Transfer ownership when buying from a private party

Overview

  1. Know when you need to transfer ownership.
  2. Gather the information you’ll need.
  3. Complete all necessary forms.
  4. Submit your forms and payment.
  5. Get new license plates.
  6. 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. Find out more about buying from a WA dealer.

If you sold, gifted, or donated your vehicle to someone else, you’ll need to file a report of sale.

2. Gather the information you’ll need

Find out how much it will cost by contacting a vehicle licensing office location.

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,
  • 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?

Related information

Questions? Need help?

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