What Paperwork Do I Need to Sell My Car Privately?

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The process of selling a car is rarely as complicated as many people seem to assume, but it’s still not as easy as offloading an old phone or item of clothing.

Whether you’re selling a car to a friend, a car dealership, or a junk car dealer, you will need to prepare the necessary documents and make sure you’re prepared and to limit last-minute stresses and headaches.

The exact records differ from state to state but they usually include:

Vehicle Title

The vehicle title serves as proof of ownership. If you own the title, you own the car, and you will need to transfer it to the buyer after the sale.

You won’t have the vehicle title if there is still a lien on the car. In such cases, you will need to contact the lender, find out how much money is left to pay and clear the amount. The car will then be yours to sell.

Car sales are a little more complicated on a leased vehicle but it’s certainly not impossible.

Bill of Sale

A Bill of Sale shouldn’t be needed if you have the car title but if you have lost the title, it helps to have the Bill of Sale.

Most junkyards will request it when you sell your vehicle without a title. It documents the terms of the sale and includes information such as a description of the vehicle, delivery date, and signatures of the buyer and seller.

Vehicle History Report and Maintenance Records

The history and maintenance record will make your life easier if you sell your car privately.

It helps to include as much information as you can. It shows that you are a meticulous owner and that you have taken the necessary steps to keep your vehicle in tip-top shape.

Put yourself in the shoes of the buyer for a moment. Wouldn’t you be much happier to buy from someone who is upfront and honest about every single upgrade and repair, someone who knows where the car has been, what has been done to it, and who the previous owners are?

Warranty Information

A car that still has a warranty should command a higher asking price. But your word won’t suffice and you will need the supporting warranty documents to back up your claims.

Dig them out, include them in the sale, and it could secure a higher sale price.

Odometer Disclosure

Federal law requires all sellers of vehicles under 10 years to include an odometer disclosure. The documentation you need will depend on your state.

In some regions, it’s enough to show them the odometer reading. In others, you will need specific documentation and it usually includes information such as the make, model, Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), signature, and current odometer reading.

Check with your local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) for more information.

Summary: Documents for Selling Your Car

As you can see, there are a few documents needed when you sell your car but you should have most or all of these to hand.

As soon as you buy a new car, it’s important to keep all of the documents that you get. Make sure they are stored somewhere safe so that you can reach for them when it comes time to list or sell your car.