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What is a “Clean Title” for a vehicle?

Do you really own the car you just “bought”?

When buying a car the most important thing you need to know is does the person your buying the car from have the proper documents to sell the car.  Let me give you an example of what someone might say when trying to sell me a car.

Hello, I want to sell my car.

Ok, do you have the title

No, I have the bill of sale

What happened to the title?

They never gave me the title.

Who did you buy it from?

A guy from church.

What year is the car?

It’s a 2005

Ma’am you don’t own the car.

Yes I do I have the bill of sale.

A bill of sale doesn’t mean anything.  In order to transfer ownership you have to have the title.

Make sure your title is signed in the right place.

On the back of a Georgia title there is a place where the seller signs and a place where the buyer signs.  If the buyer line is already signed than you cannot use that title to buy the car.  What you would need to do in that situation is let the person who signed on the buyer side go and get a new title in their name.  Most of the time they are not going to want to do that because they would have to pay the taxes in order to get a new title in their name and that could cost around $150 or more depending on the value of the vehicle.  In that case the person who’s name is printed on the front of the title (if you can find them) can either sign an affidavit of correction and get it notarized so that you can replace the other person as the buyer.  Or the seller can just go down to the State Tax Commissioners office and pay an $18 fee to get a new title so you can sign on the buyer side instead of the previous buyer.  I always prefer the latter option.

If a car has never been in a serious accident, never had the odometer rolled back and was never bought back by the manufacturer because of a manufacturers defect, it’s said to have a clean title. That title is free of any title branding that stipulate a special status for the vehicle and warn potential buyers of a possible problem or issue with the car.

What is a “Clean Title”?

A clean title is also a title that is easily transferrable from one party to the next which means.

-Free of liens

-Free of mistakes on the signature and address lines.

-The title is not branded as Salvage: A salvage vehicle is a vehicle that has been in an accident and said accident is deemed a total loss by the insurance company because it doesn’t make economical sense to have it repaired.

-The title is not branded as Rebuilt: Rebuilt means that after the vehicle was marked as salvage, the vehicle was repaired in accordance with your states law and is safe to be put back on the road.

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