How to Transfer Car Ownership: A Step-By-Step Guide

How to Transfer Car Ownership: A Step-By-Step Guide

Transferring car ownership, especially for the first time, can be extremely overwhelming. Whether you’re buying or selling, the legal stuff is something both parties need to be aware of to make sure it’s filed correctly. From working out what paperwork you need, to what you need to pay, there are multiple steps to the process. This blog will help simplify things in figuring out how to transfer vehicle ownership and even break down some confusing jargon. So whether you’re a first-time buyer or a seasoned seller, there will be something within to help.

Are There Transfer Restrictions in WA?

Yes, actually. Each state will have different rules to follow when you transfer vehicle ownership, so it’s important to know what exactly they want. For example, in Western Australia, you can’t sell a car registered within one state to someone who lives in another. Before the sale can happen, you need to either return the number plates to your closest Department of Transport (DoT) office or register it in another state or territory. The seller has to also be the one who files the change of ownership papers.

A few other issues need to be brought to attention such as both parties need to ensure that the vehicle has no payments or liens – any legal claims or debts. Another is that only cars that have a current licence can be transferred to someone else – if it’s 15 days over the expiration day then the current owner (the seller) needs to apply for a new one before it can be legally sold.

What If I’m Selling?

It’s crucial to keep in mind that when selling your car, the transfer registration needs to happen within seven days of the purchase, or else you will be charged late fees. 

The good news is, thanks to modern technology, you’ve got two ways to transfer ownership of the car to the DoT. You can either do it online through DoTDirect or fill out a form and take it to a service centre.


All the information you will need is the buyer’s details (driver’s licence number, surname) to do this via the app. Make sure that you send a copy of the car registration papers and other necessary documents to the new owner for their own files.

However, it’s important to note that not every vehicle can be transferred this way for various reasons. Proof, such as a joint lease or bank account, may be required when you transfer between spouses or de facto partners. To transfer vehicle ownership, a duty form should be filled out – this outlines necessary payments like transfer and registration fees, and specifies how long a couple needs to be together to be seen as ‘de facto’. The form also lists different types of vehicles covered by the law, including heavy vehicles weighing more than 4 tonnes like buses, trucks, tractor-trailers, and construction machinery. 

You may have trouble transferring your car online if it involves personalised plates, legal proceedings, deceased estates, or transfers to or from a company or organisation. It can also be a problem if neither the car nor the people involved are in the system so it may just be easier to go to a service centre. 


Your car transfer can also be completed by submitting a Notification of Change of Ownership Vehicle Licence Transfer form, otherwise known as an MR9.

Steps with Vehicle Transfer

  1. Both parties need to have a copy of the MR9
  2. Fill the form out
    • Both the buyer and the seller need to complete the form on the day of transfer, making sure all the information is correct and the declaration is signed at the bottom. The form outlines essential details such as the purchase price, the potential market value of the car, and the applicable stamp duty that may need to be paid. 
  3. Hand over the necessary documents to the new owner including the Purchaser’s copy (in red) of the MR9.
    • These forms can be purchased on the DoTDirect site. The new owner is responsible for vehicle registration and ensuring a government-approved immobiliser is installed for added security.
    • It is up to the seller to notify the new owner if the motor has any concessions so that they can return the car to its full licence.
  4. Mail or drop the Seller’s copy of the MR9, the blue sheets, to your closest Department of Transport.

With all that done, the official title of the car has been changed and you’ve completed your first car transfer!

Still Confused?

Even if you know the steps, the process of car transferring can be intimidating and confusing, so if you’re looking to sell your car but the idea of potentially being a victim of fraud or screwing the paperwork up keeps you awake at night, why not choose us? We Want Your Car WA can come to wherever is easier for you, give your motor a look over, give you a quote on the spot and you can leave the complicated parts of the papers to us. All you have to do is drop your copies off at your closest DoT and your job is done! Contact us or visit our website for an inquiry and sell your car today!

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