Selling a car in Nevada involves several critical steps to ensure the transaction is legally compliant and smooth for both the seller and the buyer. One of the most important aspects of this process is transferring the title of the vehicle. This document acts as proof of ownership and its transfer signifies the change of ownership from the seller to the buyer.

Understanding the Basics of Car Title Transfer

The car title is a legal document issued by the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) that states who owns the vehicle. When you sell your car, you must transfer this title to the new owner to complete the sale officially. The transfer process involves several steps, including ensuring the title is free of liens, completing necessary forms, and paying any required fees.

Steps to Transfer a Car Title in Nevada

Ensure the Title is Clear

Before initiating the sale, verify that the car title is clear of any liens. If there is a lien on the title, you will need to settle it and obtain a lien release from the lender. This step is crucial as you cannot transfer a title with an outstanding lien.

Complete the Title Information

On the back of the car title, you will find a section where you must fill in the odometer reading, date of sale, and sale price. Ensure all information is accurate and legible. Both you and the buyer must sign this section.

Bill of Sale

While not always legally required, a Bill of Sale is highly recommended. This document serves as a receipt and provides additional protection for both parties. It should include:

  • Vehicle details (make, model, year, VIN)
  • Sale price
  • Date of sale
  • Buyer and seller information (names, addresses, signatures)

Vehicle Inspection Report

If the car is less than nine years old, the buyer may need to obtain a Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) inspection from the DMV transfer plates or a licensed VIN inspector. Ensure this step is completed if required.

Nevada Emission Vehicle Inspection Report

If you are selling your car in the Las Vegas or Reno areas, an emissions inspection is mandatory. Provide the buyer with the valid smog certificate obtained within 90 days of the sale.

Remove License Plates

In Nevada, the seller is responsible for removing the license plates from the vehicle before the new owner takes possession. The plates can be transferred to another vehicle you own or returned to the DMV.

Submitting the Title Transfer

Once all the documents are prepared, the buyer must take them to the DMV to complete the title transfer process. Here’s what the buyer needs to submit:

  • The signed and completed car title
  • Bill of Sale
  • Vehicle Inspection Report (if applicable)
  • Smog Certificate (if applicable)
  • Payment for title transfer fees

Fees and Timing

The fee for transferring a car title in Nevada is relatively modest. As of 2024, the title transfer fee is $20, but this can vary if additional documents or expedited services are required. It’s advisable to check the latest fee structure on the Nevada DMV website.

The DMV processing time can vary, but generally, it takes a few weeks to receive the new title by mail. However, the buyer will get a temporary operating permit immediately after submitting all documents, which allows them to legally drive the vehicle while waiting for the official title.

Tips for a Smooth Title Transfer

Double-Check Everything

Ensure that all forms and sections of the title are filled out correctly and signed by both parties. Mistakes can delay the process significantly.

Keep Copies

Keep copies of all documents for your records, including the Bill of Sale and any correspondence with the buyer.

Notify the DMV

As a seller, notify the DMV about the sale of your vehicle. This can be done online or by submitting a notice of sale form. This step helps protect you from any liabilities related to the vehicle after the sale.

Communicate Clearly

Maintain open and clear communication with the buyer throughout the process to ensure both parties understand their responsibilities and the steps involved.


Transferring a car title in Nevada is a straightforward process if you follow the required steps and ensure all documents are accurately completed. By understanding the requirements and being thorough, you can successfully transfer ownership of your vehicle, providing a seamless experience for both you and the buyer. Remember to check for any updates or changes in the process on the Nevada DMV website to stay compliant with current regulations.