How to Sell a Car in Houston: Laws, Paperwork, and Methods to Consider

January 27, 2012

They say that everything's bigger in Texas and that can include the checklist if you want to sell a car in Dallas, San Antonio or Houston. Texas is home to a few unique rules when it comes to selling vehicles and it is worth spending a few minutes to find out what those are before you put your car on the market.

The first Texas rule that you'll have to comply with is that your car has to be insured. You'll have to make sure you have valid car insurance before you unload the vehicle or else the transaction could be declared null and void. But don't worry - you don't have to insure the car forever! You must insure it for the first 30 days the new owner owns it, but after that it's their responsibility.

It might be a bit confusing, but Texas is home to two government bodies that oversee vehicles and the various motorways in the big state. Previously the Texas Department of Transportation handled everything but in 2009 a separate Texas Department of Motor Vehicles was created to handle all of the issues relating to private autos that you'd expect a DMV to handle, so make sure you are contacting the correct agency when sorting out the sale of your car.

But surprisingly, not every piece of paperwork has to go through the Texas DMV. First you must have a title for the car and you get that through the County Tax Office. The title has to be transferred into the name of the new owner within 20 days. A good idea, which is suggested by the Texas DMV itself, is for you and the buyer to go together to the tax office to complete the transfer so that you are 100% sure that it goes through. In the past, new owners have forgotten to transfer the title which means the seller was still responsible for the car, so going with the seller ensures you won't still liable for any charges levied against your old auto.

It's very important to know what you're responsible for and what you're not. It is the buyer that pays the fees and sales tax, don't let them insist that you are somehow responsible for this. Point them to the Texas DMV website if any disagreement arises.

If you're looking to sell a junk car in Houston, or just don't want the hassle of finding a buyer, sorting the paperwork and making sure the title has changed hands, consider selling it to a company such as Houston Junk Car. They will take your vehicle off your hands, pay you cash for it and recycle the parts. Not only does it make the whole process much shorter and easier, you'd also be doing something environmentally friendly.

If you're looking to sell your car in Houston, you'll know there are plenty of people looking for autos. Whatever avenue you choose, just make sure you are clear on the laws, have confidence in your buyer and that you have thoroughly explored all your options.