Selling your car requires a lot of paperwork. There are dozens of required legal documents that you must complete as the seller, as well as certain documents that you may need to provide to the buyer. If you don’t have all the documents ready before you start selling your car, you could lose out on a potential sale.

In addition to gathering documents, it’s important to prepare the vehicle for sale. You will increase the number of potential buyers by ensuring the car is clean and in the best condition possible. You might consider getting it detailed and fixing any mechanical issues before putting it up for sale.

Gathering Documents and Preparing The Vehicle
gathering car documents

To sell your car as quickly as possible, you should collect all the necessary documents ahead of time.

The most important document is your vehicle’s history report. This document summarizes important details about the car, including:

  • All previous owners of the vehicle.
  • All states in which it was registered.
  • Any issues or accidents.
  • All repairs have been made.

Providing a vehicle history report is one way to remain transparent about the condition of the vehicle. It protects you from any legal issues that could arise from hidden mechanical issues.

You must also transfer the title when you sell the car. If you do not have a copy of your title you will need to contact the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) in your state to have a copy re-issued to you.

Depending on the state you live in, you may be required to provide additional documentation. For example, in Texas, you will need to provide a Vehicle Inspection Report (required in 17 counties), which is given to you once you complete a comprehensive inspection to determine whether your vehicle is safe to drive. 

California drivers may need to provide a smog certificate that states that the vehicle’s emissions are under specified limits. If your vehicle fails the test, they need to either be repaired or retired.

You should also provide any warrant documentation, recent service records and the owner’s manual. Although the manual isn’t mandatory, it will definitely make it easier for the new owner to learn about the car and its specifications.

It is always best to perform touch-ups and fix any issues before selling. It is the fastest way to sell a car in 2024 because buyers can see that a certain level of care was given to maintaining the vehicle. 

Updated on 05/24/2022