Selling a car, missing title edition
January 7, 2018 3:49 PM   Subscribe

We bought a used car in 2005 when we lived in California. We now live in Seattle and want to sell the car. We can't find our title. What do we need to do to get a copy?

I assumed it was as simple as filling out a CA DMV form, but their form asks for a license plate number. We've had WA plates/registration for 10 years. Do I go through WA instead?
posted by rouftop to Travel & Transportation (5 answers total)
Why would you go back to CA? You have a WA title (that's missing) correct?

Just go to the Licensing agent and file for a replacement title. Iif time is of the essence, I think they have a missing title affidavit form that you give to the buyer.
posted by humboldt32 at 4:23 PM on January 7, 2018

Why would you go back to CA? You have a WA title (that's missing) correct?

Does Washington require a car coming from another state to be retitled. Most states don’t require retitling in order to register a car. If WA doesn’t require it, it’s probable that you do, indeed, need to get the title from CA.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:12 PM on January 7, 2018

According to this, you needed to retitle your vehicle in Washington to get your plates.
posted by DanSachs at 7:55 PM on January 7, 2018 [2 favorites]

I live in WA and have bought and sold a number of used cars.

You could go to the local county auditor and get a replacement title. I think it will cost some amount of money, but it should be fairly easy as you have been paying for the tabs.

But...better yet, go to one of the independent car title places. It should be easier through them because they want to get paid. I have gone in with person I was buying vehicle from who had lost the title. He had to pay some amount for the lost title, I paid the amount for the change and registration to my name and new tabs.

The independent places get paid by the vehicle. The county auditor is a government job, they all get paid no matter if they get the person their title or not.

Do get this done before selling....normally I won't even look at a vehicle without a title in hand, and had this not gone easily, I would not have bought the vehicle. That title in hand is a selling point. It does take 3-4 weeks for the title to come in the mail. If you decide to do the route where you go in with the buyer because you need to sell ASAP...verify ahead of time that rules and laws have not changed as the case with me was last year.
posted by 101cats at 8:46 PM on January 7, 2018

If it’s titled in WA, you can get a quick title if you’re in a hurry, which adds $50 to the fees.
posted by OneSmartMonkey at 8:55 PM on January 7, 2018

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