Selling your car might seem like a complicated process. But if you decide to sell your vehicle, you’ll need the proper documents to make it happen. So, it is natural to ask, “What paperwork do I need to sell my car?”
Now, if you do your homework in advance and prepare for the experience, you’ll probably find it’s the best way to get the most money for your car with minimal inconvenience.
With this in mind, we’ve included an overview of what documents and information you need for a smooth sale. To better understand things, we’ve sorted them into three areas of importance: Must-have, Should-have, and Nice-to-have.
Check for the documents required with your state’s department of motor vehicles (DMV). Some states mandate specific forms, while others are less demanding.
Some DMVs define how to sign certain documents, such as the bill of sale and the title. For example, Maryland, Louisiana, New Hampshire, Montana, and West Virginia require a notary public to witness both parties signing a bill of sale.
Let’s look at the details of selling your car to a private party and the documents you’ll need to have on hand.
How To Sell A Car Privately?
You’ll probably receive more money if you sell your car privately. However, selling a car to a private party requires many tasks that take considerable time.
First, you have to take definite photos from various angles so potential buyers have a good idea of the condition of your vehicle. Then you need to post an advertisement and wait for interested buyers to contact you.
Once someone shows interest, you have to answer all of their queries before agreeing on a selling price and a public location for pickup. And even once all those steps are complete, you’ll need to fill out several documents like the title transfer and bill of sale.
A private sale can be a time-consuming process that could take weeks or even months before you find a buyer.
Paperwork Needed To Sell A Car Privately
Depending on your state, documentation requirements vary for a private sale.
But no matter your state, you’ll need a clean and clear title to transfer to the new owner. The vehicle title demonstrates that you’re the vehicle’s legal owner, ensuring no one else can claim it as their own.
A clean title is in good condition, easy to read, and has all vehicle information listed correctly. Additionally, a clean title won’t have a lien against it. In some states, attaching the statement of lien that you’ve paid off the loan is mandatory.
If you’re making payments on an auto loan and your title has a lien, you’ll first need to pay off the balance before trying to sell your car. And if you misplaced the title or it’s no longer legible, you’ll need to apply for a replacement with your Department of Motor Vehicles.
Many states also require a signed bill of sale. Some state DMVs provide a standardized form, simplifying the process. But whether you use a bill of sale from the DMV or draw one up yourself, it has to include the following information:
- Make and model
- Year of manufacture
- Sale price
- Odometer reading at the time of sale
- Signature of both buyer and seller
- Name and address of both parties
To finalize the transaction, you may have to file a sale report. After the sales process, you’ll need to report it to the state. Though it is not mandatory in all locations, it’s a legal requirement that the seller must file a sale report within days or weeks to meet their obligation.
The Must-Have Documents
Certificate of Title
The title is tricky if you sell directly to a private party. If your vehicle has a lien, you probably won’t have your title in hand. You’ll need to work with your buyer’s financial institution to make the transfer. If you possess a car and don’t owe any money, you’ll have the title at your disposal and need it for selling.
Your car’s title signifies ownership, and there are protocols for switching a title over to your potential buyer. While retitling varies from state to state, you’ll likely have to sign the title as the seller and disclose the vehicle’s odometer reading.
Bill of Sale
A bill of sale may not be legally required as one of the documents you need to sell a car, but it’s still a good idea to provide one. It will legally ensure that you release liability and that your potential buyer takes responsibility for the vehicle’s as-is condition, including the odometer reading, and establishes the date of sale as you transfer ownership.
The Should-Have Documents
If your car has a transferrable warranty, that paperwork is something you need to have on hand when selling. Your contract could add value to your car sale—do some research to find out how much.
Odometer Disclosure Statement
Be ready with the odometer disclosure once you and your buyer are ready to exchange your car for cash. Many states will conveniently implant the odometer disclosure in the paper title. Others may require you to obtain a separate form, which you can often find on your state DMV’s website.
The Nice-to-Have Documents
If your vehicle still has a factory warranty, include the paperwork to prove it. Not all warranties are equal, but in many cases, warranty documents could shove up your sale price depending on the terms and time of the contract.
Vehicle History Report
Private sellers do not commit to providing a vehicle history report. But, providing such information can go a long way in relieving the buyer and exhibiting your goodwill. At last, providing the VIN before the sale will enable prospective buyers to look up these details.
In addition, having your car’s history report can disclose information about it before it becomes an issue with a buyer. Examples include differences in mileage or whether the vehicle has been in an accident.
The one thing to mention is that your car is meticulously maintained. It’s quite another to have proof. If you’ve kept copies of your maintenance records, or if you can get them from the dealer or repair shop, it will help convince them to buy your car.
What Paperwork Do I Need To Sell My Car: Make A Deal With Sell Your Old Car Now
We have been in this business for over the years. You receive money, and we pick up your vehicle for free. We also ensure that we deliver the best, safe and quick offers to our customers.
To make a deal with Sell your old car now, call us. We will guide you through the process. We will be there until the deal is done, which means taking care of all the paperwork and payment.
You simply need to visit our website or call us so we can come up with a quote for your car on the spot. Once you accept the offer we make, we will arrange for the best time we can come over and pick up the vehicle. When we verify your car’s condition, we will hand you the promised amount and tow the vehicle for free. You do not get assistance like that anywhere else, but it is all in a day’s work for us.