How do you get a title for a vehicle when you only have a bill of sale and no prior title? In most cases, you need a title to get a title. You need the old title from the prior owner or the prior registered owner to get a title in your name. A bill of sale is simply evidence of an event, not necessarily a valid transfer of ownership. Anyone can make a bill of sale. So it’s not really recognized by the DMV for you to get a title. However, there are a couple exceptions to that.

In the state of Vermont, they issue you a title or registration of ownership with a bill of sale for a vehicle that is more than 15 years old. They don’t actually issue titles for 15-year-old cars, but they issue a registration of ownership, which is recognized as a valid ownership document. So you can get that from Vermont and then bring it to your state.

You may also be able to get a court-ordered title. Using only a bill of sale, your courthouse in your county has a process where you can take a bill of sale, bring it to the court, follow some instructions, and have them give you a judgment that declares you to be the owner of a vehicle. You can also do a “bonded title,” which is where you purchase a bond from a bonding firm or bonding company. That will guarantee your ownership of the car, and you can then bring that to the DMV to exchange for a title. 

With any of these methods, you can save yourself $80 to $90 by doing it yourself. You don’t have to pay anybody to do this. And if you need additional information on how to do that or have more questions, you can visit our website at