When you sell a vehicle in the State of Maryland you need to complete a state-specific Bill of Sale Form. This serves as a legal contract documenting the transaction and releases the seller from future liability in regard to the motor vehicle. A notarized MVA Bill of Sale Form # VR-181 is needed if the sale price is less than the vehicle’s book value and the vehicle is 7 years old or newer. Please call the MVA’s Customer Service Center at 1-410-768-7000 to verify the vehicle’s book value.
The following information should appear on the Maryland Bill of Sale Form:
– Vehicle description, including Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), make, model, year and body style.
– Name of the seller.
– Name of the buyer.
– Purchase price.
– Vehicle odometer reading at the time of sale.
– Date of sale.
– Signature of the seller and the buyer in the presence of a notary.
To transfer the title and register the vehicle in your name you’ll need a completed and notarized Bill of Sale Form VR-181.
As a seller you should always keep a copy of any transfer of ownership documents or related forms for your records and always provide to the buyer the original Title, and the original security of Interest Filing, so that the buyer will have evidence that the vehicle has been paid off in order to obtain the new Title.
The seller must sign and print his or her name and the buyer’s name and address on the back side of the “Certificate of Title” under the “Assignment of Ownership” section. The buyer’s name and address must be recorded in the “Assignment of Ownership” section to complete the sale. Without the name, the title is considered “open” and will not be recognized by the MVA for registration.
If the title of the vehicle has been lost or destroyed, a duplicate title can be obtained by completing an MVA Application for Duplicate Certificate of Title Form # VR-018.
The seller must record the odometer mileage under the “Assignment of Ownership” section on the “Certificate of Title”. If the “Certificate of Title” has space for the purchase price, record the purchase price on the title under the “Assignment of Ownership” section along with the date of the sale.
Unless the seller is transferring the plates to another vehicle, the seller shall return the license plates to the MVA, before cancelling insurance on the vehicle, and retain the receipt. Maryland law is extremely strict and uninsured motorist fines begin at $150 for the first day a vehicle is not insured.
As a buyer, to transfer the title and register the vehicle in your name you’ll need a completed and notarized Bill of Sale Form VR-181. You will need a notary, witnessing both the buyer(s) and seller(s) signatures, if you present a Bill of Sale to complete your transaction. On the “Maryland Certificate of Title” there is a space for the purchase price, and you will not need a Bill of Sale, unless the vehicle is 7 years old or newer and the vehicle is being sold for less than the book value.
The buyer must sign his or her name on the “Maryland Certificate of Title” under the “Assignment of Ownership” section. If there is a co-buyer, he or she must also sign. The buyer’s name and address must be recorded in the “Assignment of Ownership” area on the title to complete the sale. Without the name, the title is considered “open” and will not be recognized by the Maryland MVA for registration.
Used vehicles must be safety inspected before they can be registered by the Maryland MVA. The vehicle must be inspected by a licensed Maryland inspection station. An automobile dealer, service station or specialized automobile service center can all be licensed as Maryland inspection stations. A “Maryland Safety Inspection Certificate” is valid for 90 days. Make sure the vehicle identification number, engraved on a metal plate and visible through the windshield on the driver’s side, matches the number entered on the “Maryland Safety Inspection Certificate”, the “Certificate of Title” and any other vehicle ownership documents. Altered inspection certificates will not be approved!
A Temporary Registration is available for buyers who must have an inspection or repairs completed to register the vehicle. The temporary registration may be purchased at the Maryland MVA when titling the vehicle and is valid for 30 days from the issuance date. The temporary registration allows the buyer to transport the vehicle for a Maryland safety inspection and any necessary repairs. The registration fee will not be collected until the “Maryland Safety Inspection Certificate” is submitted and a one or two year registration plate is requested. However, the buyer will need to pay the title fees, taxes, and any lien filing fee, if applicable, and the temporary registration fee when purchasing the temporary plates. If a temporary registration is needed, an MVA Temporary Inspection Waiver Form # VR-129 must be completed.
Buyers and sellers should be aware that private vehicle sales (without a licensed dealer) are not regulated by the Maryland MVA. Any legal action regarding the sale, warranties, or consumer rights are the sole responsibility of the buyer and the seller.
For more information go to Maryland Department of Transportation – Motor Vehicle Administration
The MVA shall provide exemplary driver and vehicle services that promote Maryland’s mobility and safety while enhancing process and product security.