“Renewing a drivers license while under contract on a home”

dmv

“Dear PoPville,

I need to renew my license at the end of the month but am currently under contract to purchase a home with a closing date set for the end of next month.

Can/should I attempt to renew the license at the DMV with my (potentially) new address? Or might there be a way to get a temporary license while I’m in limbo between homes?

Any advice or past examples would be greatly appreciated!”

14 Comment

  • HaileUnlikely

    I haile doubt DMV will issue you a driver’s license bearing the address of a home that isn’t yours yet. This will sound like an unnecessary waste of time and pain in the you know what, but I’d just renew ASAP with my current actual address, and then file for a change of address at the applicable time. If there is a more practical and convenient way, I’m not aware of it.

    • I had to do the same thing a while back and this, unfortunately, is the only way I could find to do it. On the bright side, it’s super easy to change your address once you’ve moved.

    • this is what I did. The updated licence was about $20, so I just added that to the cost of the home in my mind.

  • Just renew your license at you current address and then change it after you purchase the house. I am guessing you don’t yet have any of the documents necessary to prove you reside at the new place, in which case they won’t issue you a driver’s license with that address on it. If you go to the DMV and renew it now, you’ll be able to change the address online once you move. Any additional fee will be peanuts compared to the amount you’re spending on the house, so just call it a cost of doing business.

  • Can you use the estimated settlement sheet that you get ahead of time? I’m not sure if that timing would work for you, but I suspect the agents will just look at the address on that and assume you have already bought the place.

    • I think you may be underestimating the diligence of the DMV agents. Last few times I was there, no one even got past the reception desk if they didn’t have the right supporting documentation. The DMV has a list of documentation that they’ll accept for a change of address. An “estimated” settlement sheet isn’t one of them, and in most cases you need two pieces of documentation anyway.

  • I just went through this whole thing and it’s a huge mess.

    First thing you need to know is that if you don’t have the REAL Drivers ID already (which is the the new drivers license the DMV is issuing), then you will leave the DMV with only a temporary paper ID (literally a piece of paper with your picture on it), with the actual card coming in the mail 15 days later. If you happen to move before you get your new license in the mail and you try to forward your mail, the post office will not forward any mail from the DMV. Instead, they send it back to the DMV and they put a 60-day hold on your license. The only way to lift the hold is to go back to the DMV and go through the whole process again. You can’t do anything online with the 60-day hold. I moved before I got my official license and it either got sent back to the DMV or someone out there has it, along with all of my other mail that never got forwarded, but I’ll save that story for another time. I just recently went back in to get a new license at my new address and had to go through the same process again and pay the $20 fee again.

    Unless you absolutely have to get a new drivers license, I would wait until you move. If you have a car, you will also need to change your registration and residential parking permit (if you have one), so you can do it all at the same time. Also, to get the REAL ID, you need to bring (1) a government issued ID (e.g., passport, birth certificate, etc.), (2) SSN card or W-2, (3) two utility bills or other qualified documents showing that you live at your current address (that have been issued within 60 days of when you go to the DMV). You should definitely check the requirements online before you go; it will save you multiple trips and waiting in that god-awful queue. Also, note that they make photocopies of everything so if you don’t want them to have a record of a certain document (like your W-2), then don’t bring it.

    • And if you’ve ever changed your name, bring that documentation as well. They don’t always mention it’s something you need, but trust me, you will.

    • Yep I tried to renew my license while I was temporarily living out of state and went through this similar nightmare process.

  • I’d call the DMV. They can actually be helpful.

  • Thank you, everyone. This is all very helpful!

  • If you can make it a month without getting stopped by the police while driving, you could go with an expired license for the month.

  • Exactly what the second comment mentioned – we went through this about a year ago when we bought our current house. I had to renew it and then a month later I changed my license – 10 mins and no charge.