Buyer Beware

State Law Requires Private Sale Vehicle Buyers   to Title in 30 Days or Face Financial Penalties

A new state law requires those who purchase vehicles in a private sale, whether it’s in or out of state, to obtain a new title within 30 calendar days or face financial penalties. 

In some counties people are finding they owe hundreds of dollars in title penalties for failing to title within a month of purchasing their new car or truck.  Failure to title within the 30 days results in an automatic $25 penalty, plus another $25 for each month the title is late. There are no waivers for these penalties, which means the Orange county tax office and the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles cannot reduce or forgive what you may owe.

The law does grant an additional 30 days to active-duty military personnel, which gives them 60 days to transfer the title before facing late title penalties.

While the penalties may seem harsh, it’s important to remember this helps to protect you when you go to sell a vehicle.  When vehicle buyers do not put the title in their name, anything the buyer may do with that vehicle is going to trace to the sellers name.

Sellers do not have to rely solely on the buyer to do the right thing.  Whenever you sell a vehicle yourself or even trade one in to a dealer, it is important to file the free Vehicle Transfer Notification on the TxDMV website.  Sellers must file the Vehicle Transfer Notification within 30 days to receive the state- guaranteed protection from liability, this way you cannot be held responsible for anything the buyer does with your old vehicle.

Buyers need to realize that titling the vehicle in their name also offers protection.

Tips for people planning to buy or sell a vehicle.

Texas Sellers

  • Sign, date and enter the odometer reading on the back of the title.
  • Fill out your section of the mandatory Form 130-U. The buyer needs this to title the vehicle out of your name.
  • Take off the license plates and transfer them for free to the new vehicle you buy. (That plate number ties directly to your name.)

Texas Buyers

  • For your protection, never buy a vehicle in a private sale without receiving the title.
  • Be sure the seller gives you the title. If the title is from Texas, you can go to Title Check at to see if it’s a clean title.
  • The seller must sign, date and enter the odometer reading on the title back.
  • Be sure the seller signs, dates and enters the sales price on Form 130-U. If you are purchasing the vehicle out of state, have the seller download the form from the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles website,
  • Go to your local county tax office within 30 days to title the vehicle in your name.
General Information
Tax Assessor-Collector
Karen Fisher
Phone Numbers
(409) 882-7971
Emergencies: Dial 911
123 S. 6th Street