Selling Car in Michigan

The state of Michigan, all other states, requires that the seller of a car fulfills certain legal requirements before his/her car’s sale could be considered legal. The state subsequently demands the buyer to fulfill certain legal requirements as well before his/her purchase could be considered legal.

A seller who is selling a car in Michigan must accompany the buyer to a secretary of state branch office to transfer the title of the car into the buyer’s name. If the seller for any reason cannot visit a secretary of state branch office then he/she must maintain a record of the sale for not less than 18 months. A record of the sale could be in the form of a photocopy of the reassigned title or a document containing the following information:

  • Date of the sale of the car
  • Selling price of the car
  • Name and signature of the buyer
  • Driver license number
  • Name
  • Address
  • Vehicle identification number (VIN)
  • Make
  • Year

The seller must fill in the correct information on the car’s title regarding:

  • Mileage
  • Selling date
  • Selling price
  • Seller’s signature (if there is more than one owner of the car then all owners must sign)

If there is a lien (i.e. unpaid debt) on the car then it must be released by the lien holder in the appropriate signature space. In the alternative, the seller can attach a lien termination statement from the lien holder.
It is also the seller’s responsibility to have the buyer fill-in the appropriate spaces on the title. The buyer must enter his/her name, address and signature. Once the sale is complete the seller must remove the car’s license plate. The buyer must not be able to use the license plate. The license plate can be transferred to the seller’s other current or future car(s). Insurance coverage on the car must also be cancelled. The state of Michigan allows the buyer to drive the car without license plate given that he/she carries the car’s title.
Do not make any changes to the car’s title under any circumstances or the title will be rendered invalid.

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