Michigan is a state where the automotive industry has played a significant role in shaping its identity.
If you want to buy or sell a vehicle in the Great Lakes State, you need to understand how to transfer a vehicle title.
The process can often be time-consuming and involve multiple trips to government offices.
However, many states have recently started offering online services for various administrative tasks, including title transfers, but what about Michigan?
Can You Transfer A Title Online In Michigan?
No, in Michigan, transferring a title online is impossible. The process requires you to visit the Department of Service in person. If, for some reason, you are unable to make it in person, you have the option to assign an agent to handle the transfer on your behalf.
However, if you are applying for an instant title transfer, you cannot use an agent and must physically go to the Department of Service. On a positive note, title renewal can be conveniently done online.
The Process of Transferring a Title in Michigan
To transfer a title in Michigan, the seller must complete their part, while you must complete the buyer’s part.
Take the completed title forms to the SOS office, where you’ll need to fill out a form and pay the designated title transfer fees.
Michigan has a slightly different requirement than other states: you must provide proof of insurance when obtaining the title rather than during registration.
Thankfully, the title transfer and registration processes can usually be done simultaneously, streamlining the procedure.
Title Transfer When Buying A Car From A Dealer
When you buy a car from a dealer, you will be responsible for paying the applicable fees. However, the good thing is that the dealer will handle the title transfer process on your behalf.
Title Transfer From A Deceased Owner
When an individual passes away, transferring their vehicle to a new owner is typically handled by their surviving spouse or, if there is no spouse, the closest relative. This transfer can occur if the deceased person’s estate has not been probed.
Suppose the vehicle’s current title is in the deceased person’s and surviving spouse’s names, with the designation “Full Rights To Survivor” on it. The transfer can be completed simply by providing the title and a copy of the death certificate.
In cases where the vehicle is being transferred to the surviving spouse or an immediate family member, the license plate may remain in the vehicle.
What Do You Need To Transfer A Car Title In Michigan?
When transferring a car title in Michigan, there are several important documents and requirements that need to be fulfilled. These include;
- Michigan vehicle registration – This document proves that the vehicle is registered in Michigan and is legally owned by the seller. It contains important information such as the vehicle’s make, model, and year.
- Proof of identification – This can be in the form of a driver’s license or any other government-issued identification card to verify the identity of both the seller and the buyer.
- Odometer disclosure statement – An odometer disclosure statement shows the vehicle’s mileage at the time of sale. It is used to prevent odometer fraud and ensures the buyer knows the vehicle’s true mileage.
- Seller’s signature – If the seller does not intend to accompany you to a Secretary of State office, they must fill out and sign their title portion.
- Buyer’s signature – Individuals listed as title owners must provide their signatures during the title transfer.
Suppose any owner is unable to personally visit an office for this purpose. In that case, they can designate a representative who can sign on their behalf by completing the Appointment of Agent form.
- Date of the sale – The date of sale indicates when the ownership of the vehicle was transferred from the seller to the buyer.
- Sale price – The vehicle’s price must be documented on the car title transfer documents.
- Statement from loan provider – If there is an outstanding loan on the vehicle, a statement from the loan provider is required to transfer the car title.
This statement confirms that the vehicle has no liens or encumbrances and can be legally transferred to the new owner.
Fees You’ll Pay in Car Title Transfer in Michigan
In general title, the transfer fee is around $15. However, the cost of a title transfer in Michigan can depend on several factors, including:
- Vehicle Type – Different types of vehicles may have varying title transfer fees. For instance, transferring the title of a standard passenger vehicle typically costs less than transferring the title of a recreational vehicle or a commercial vehicle.
- Vehicle Age – Newer vehicles might have higher transfer fees than older ones. This is because newer vehicles often have a higher market value, which can impact the fee calculation.
- Vehicle Value – In some cases, the vehicle’s assessed value may be used to determine the title transfer fee. Higher-valued vehicles may incur higher fees.
- Lienholder Information – If the vehicle has an outstanding loan or lien, the title transfer may involve additional fees related to lien release or transfer. These fees can vary depending on the lender and the circumstances.
- Late Fees- If the title transfer is not completed within 15 days of the sale, late fees may apply, increasing the overall cost. The standard late fee is usually $15.
- Additional Services – For instance, if you choose to expedite the title transfer process, there may be additional charges associated with these services of around $20. If you also require a plate transfer, you will be charged an extra $10 to $15.
What Is Instant Title?
Instant Title refers to the process of obtaining a vehicle title in an expedited manner. It allows you to receive the title immediately, without any delay.
To obtain an instant title, the owner must physically attend to the necessary steps and procedures involved in the transfer of ownership.
This means the owner cannot choose an agent or representative to handle the process. As you would expect and already discussed above, instant titles come at an extra cost.
Common Mistakes To Avoid During Car Title Transfer In Michigan
- Failing to provide accurate and complete information on the title document can lead to delays or rejection of the transfer. Ensure all fields are filled out correctly, including the vehicle identification number (VIN), purchase price, and seller and buyer information.
- All titled owners must sign the title document. Make sure that the signatures match the names listed on the title. If the title is signed incorrectly, it may need to be corrected, which can be time-consuming.
- If there is a loan or lien on the vehicle, obtaining a lien release from the lender is essential before transferring the title. Failing to do so can result in complications and delays.
- Ensure you have all the necessary documents, including a valid ID, the original title, and any additional forms required for your specific situation, such as an Appointment of Agent form.
- Avoid using whiteout or any correction fluid to erase mistakes, as it raises concerns about the document’s authenticity. Instead, if you make an error, starting with a new form is best to ensure clarity and accuracy in the transfer process.
- Avoid crossing out or altering names or dates on the title document. Any modifications, even if made in good faith, can be seen as suspicious and may lead to complications during the transfer process.
Can You Get A Duplicate Car Title In The State?
You can obtain a duplicate car title if the original document has been misplaced, stolen, or damaged. Moreover, car owners trading vehicles at a dealership can apply for a duplicate title.
You can request a duplicate car title via an online application, visiting the Secretary of State’s office in person, or submitting a request by mail or fax.
A fee of $15 is required for obtaining a duplicate title, with an additional $5 charge for instant title service. You can expect to receive your duplicate title within 14 working days if you don’t choose the instant title service.
Transferring a title online is indeed possible in some states but not all. While various processes and services are available for online transactions in Michigan, transferring a title online is not one of them.
The Department of State requires individuals to complete the title transfer process in person at a branch office.
While online services have made our lives more convenient, certain legal procedures still require physical presence and official verification.