Doing the Paperwork: How to Sell Your Used Car

Doing the Paperwork: How to Sell Your Used Car

car's for sale sign

For used car buyers, check out this article about how to get a great deal!

We’ve given plenty of tips in the past on how to attract a buyer online. You’ve gotten some phone calls and are ready to take the potential buyers for a test drive, now what? Here are the next steps we recommend for safe and hassle-free buying and selling.

  1. **Get your car professionally inspected. **Avoid awkward questions or even legal complications by being upfront with your potential buyer. Getting a third party assessment of your car will give them confidence, and a confirmed odometer report may be a necessary part of the transaction process depending on where you live.

  2. Check with your insurance agency before the test drive. No sensible buyer will hand over money before a test drive. If something unthinkable happens during the drive, you need to be sure that your insurance company doesn’t hang you out to dry. Call them with information about your plans to sell your car and let them give you guidance. Also, make sure anyone who drives your car is licensed.

  3. **Get all the paperwork ready befor the sale. ** The title, lien, damage disclosures and new registration form will all be necessary to complete the transfer. The forms needed vary by state, but is a good place to start looking for your state’s requirements.

In general, the process involves a transfer of lien, title or registration, depending on the age and status of the vehicle. It is possible as the seller to simply mail the forms in to the DMV or similar office, but every state and situation is different. Unlike buying a car from a dealership, private party buyers will probably need to visit the DMV in their state to complete the registration process.

  1. Write and sign a Bill of Sale. It’s important to write up a simple contract (with at least two copies) between buyer and seller. This document should include the year, make and model of the car, the price it was sold for, the date of the sale, and any other agreements made by the parties. Specify that the car is sold “as-is” if that is the agreement, so that there is no confusion later about who needs to take care of payments if the car breaks or malfunctions.

When payment is issued, both parties should sign and date the document. Once payment is secured and the contract signed, then the seller can feel free to hand over the keys and title. It is extremely risky to accept personal checks for payment. Cash or a loan is a safer bet for all involved. (Psst. We have a pre-written bill of sale available to our Run Till It Sells customers, so we recommend taking advantage!)

  1. **Determine the amount of taxes and fees due. **Similar to above, it’s important for buyers to be aware that buying a car is a situation with tax implications.

  2. **Remove plates and report vehicle as sold when the paperwork is signed. **DMVs in all states will want to know the status of your car when it’s finally sold so they know who to hold accountable should something happen do it.

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To make it even simpler to sell your car, take advantage of’s Run Till It Sells package that includes a bill of sale, unlimited flyers to print off and distribute, and a printable For Sale sign.

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