Contrary to popular belief, completing the paperwork for a car sale is not as difficult as it sounds. Selling or trading your car to a dealer is easier since the dealer can help complete the documents. But when you sell privately, there are ways you can complete the paperwork with ease. In fact, gathering all the necessary documents is usually more difficult than completing it.
It is usually easier to complete the necessary paperwork when you own the vehicle outright and have the title on hand. Continue reading to learn more about completing the necessary paperwork for selling your car.
The process of completing paperwork for a car sale varies slightly depending on where you live. It is always recommended to contact your state’s DMV or visit its website to find all the necessary steps you need to take, including transferring the title or completing a bill of sale.
If you have the vehicle’s title in hand, complete a bill of sale with the buyer. A bill of sale is a document that includes the vehicle identification number (VIN), sale price, odometer (mileage) reading and information about you and the buyer.
Once you have a completed bill of sale, it’s time to take payment. Consider using a cashier’s check or escrow service when accepting payment. It is never a good idea to accept wire transfers due to the risk of cyber-based criminal activity.
Money wires can lead to identity theft, fraud and other possible crimes. Do NOT sign the title over to the buyer until the money has cleared.
Once this is finished, it’s time to let the DMV know about the sale. Most states give you a period of five days to notify the DMV about the sale and clear you of any liabilities attached to the vehicle.
You may not have the vehicle title in hand, especially if you still owe money on the vehicle. In this case, the lender has the title. The buyer either must pay off the rest of your car loan on the day of signing to take possession of the title, or you will both have to sign a notarized bill of sale protecting the buyer from possible fraud until the car loan balance is settled.
If this applies to you, you will need to take the notarized bill of sale to the DMV and get a temporary operating permit. Once the car loan is paid off, the lender will send you the vehicle’s title which you must give to the buyer.