It’s been sometime seen I took to my blog to write so I figured I shed a little light on a topic I encounter frequently as a notary public in Pittsburgh. Title Transfers; more property referred to a transferring of a certificate of vehicle title from one person to another. The first thing to understand about vehicle titles is that despite mass misconception the individuals the common person is accustomed to dealing with for transferring their car title is in fact NOT a notary public. This is huge misnomer and more specifically a VERY common misunderstanding by Pittsburghers. When you as someone if they “do car title transfers” here is what you actually mean to say: “Hello sir, I see you are a notary public, are you by chance a PennDOT full or card agent as well? Consequentially do you offer full PennDOT services such as Registration, Registration Plates and Tags? If not, do you issue temporary registration plates (T-Plates)? The reason you are in fact asking this is because 90% of Notary Publics in Pennsylvania are not PennDOT agents. What this means is that they have A) not been licensed by PennDOT to perform registration services B) they do not have a PennDOT Agent number which is required on many forms C) They are not educated and trained in matters pertaining to vehicle sales, taxing and registration requirements D) They have not signed PennDOT’s 30+ page contract binding them to abide by PennDOT’s strict policies and regulations. It also means that standard notaries public who are not PennDOT agents are not bound by PennDOT pricing requirements for certain services nor are they restricted with hours of operation and stationary location of business (i.e. brick-and-mortar as opposed to mobile)
So, how does this pertain to me? Well, say you want to sell your vehicle on a Sunday evening, you look for notaries who are open and you find one, like myself at J. Reisner Notary. You call to ask “Hey do you transfer titles”? My answer to you is the following: Yes and no. Let me explain. As a notary public operating after hours and offering mobile services, it is categorically impossible for me to be a PennDOT agent. A) In the Commonwealth of PA there IS no system with which to register vehicles on Sundays. Let us remember that blue collar laws in PA were only lifted not that many years ago and we are truly lucky to even be able to buy groceries let alone get documents notarized on a Sunday. Secondly, PennDOT does not license mobile notaries as they do not meet ANY of the requirements for running a PennDOT certified business. And lastly PennDOT authorized agents are contractually not allowed to operate during late hours or on Sundays. Which brings me back to my answer “yes and no”. As a sworn and licensed PA notary public authority has been granted to me to execute notarial acts by the PA notary commission. Let’s be clear about this there IS no higher authority for the rules and laws on notarizations than the the PA notary commission. As a notary public I am allowed to perform ANY notarial act in the commonwealth of Pennsylvania on ANY document that is legally allowed to notarized as long as it contains the required notarial wording and as long as I abide by PA notary practices and regulations. So, on the back of a Pennsylvania Certificate of Title for a motor vehicle is a notarial act called an affidavit. An affidavit is a sworn written statement by an individual made before a notary public. In the case of a PA vehicle title it’s an attestation to a correct recording of the current odometer milage of the vehicle at the time of sale. As a notary you can take this sworn statement from the seller (current owner) of the vehicle and perform a valid and legal notarial act. Once this act is performed, should the rest of the info in that section of the title be filled out in it’s entirety and correctly. The title is now eligible to be registered with PennDOT in the name of whomever appears in purchaser fields of that section. Meaning if the seller of said vehicle were to come before a standard (non-PennDOT Agent) PA notary public and make and state the affidavit of the current vehicle milage, have the notary endorse that statement by placing his seal on the tile and then fills out the rest of the purchasers section properly, the buyer of said vehicle would then be clear to take the notarized title to a full PennDOT agent/agency and have the vehicle properly registered in his or her name. For performing this notarial act the notary can charge a $5 fee for the notarial act and clerical fees at his own discretion should he/she chose to do so. A non-PennDOT notary does NOT have to charge the $90 Title Transfer fee as indicated on the PA Motor Vehicle Fee Schedule.
Q: What is a “simple” title transfer?
A: The execution of an affidavit on the back of a vehicle title with the understanding that NO REGISTRATION and/or PennDOT services will or can be provided. I also assist buyers in seller with any additionally required paperwork such as MV-3 forms or completing affidavits of gift.
Q: Why would I want to have you perform a title transfer when I can just go to AAA and get it all done in one shot?
A: AAA and other PennDOT Agent/agencies are not open and cannot operate on Sundays or during later hours. Thus anyone looking to buy/sell a vehicle either at night or on a Sunday or both, would benefit greatly from using my services. Additionally, once I notarize the title the seller has fulfilled his end of the sale and no longer will need to be present during the time consuming registration process. This situation is ideal for anyone looking to make a quick sale and who is not available to travel with the buyer to a full PennDOT agent during regular hours of operation while the buyer completes his registration.
Q: What do you do for Plates?
A: I am not a PennDOT agent thus I cannot issue plates or temporary plates. I leave the resolution of those logistics to buyer and seller to coordinate. Again as a standard PA non-PennDOT agent notary public, those issues fall far outside of my requirements.
Q: Who is an ideal customer for your title transfer services?
A: Anyone selling a vehicle in the Pittsburgh area who either does not have the time or the will to accompany the buyer to a full PennDOT agency and sit with them through the painstaking/time consuming registration process. Or anyone selling a vehicle to an out of state buyer . Or anyone buyer and selling looking to trade/sell vehicle on a Sunday when PennDOT agents can and do not operate.
Q: As the buyer, what do I need to do after you notarize and transfer the title to me?
A: You must take the notarized title and any