What Every Consumer Should Know About Selling a Car

What Every Consumer Should Know About Selling a Car
  • Opening Intro -

    Selling a car privately is not without some risks.

    As a seller, you must verify that the buyer has the wherewithal to pay for your vehicle.

    Accepting a check is fine, provided that the bank has certified that there is cash in the account to clear the check.


You’re also responsible for verifying mileage. If the odometer has been turned back or was disconnected, your state may require you to fill out additional paperwork to verify the problem or indicate such on your bill of sale.

Legal Requirements

But, your legal requirements don’t necessarily end there — there are other risks involved in selling a car, issues which can cause you problems later on if not handled correctly right now.

Bill of Sale — This document can be used when transferring ownership of property. A bill of sale provides proof of that transfer and includes the names of the seller and buyer, their addresses, date of sale and transaction amount. Your vehicle’s identification number might also be listed.

Car Title — While a bill of sale may not be required, a car title is. Much of the information found on the bill of sale can be included on the title. Your state will likely want to track who sold the car, the name of the party who bought it, the vehicle identification number, mileage at time of sale and the cost of the transaction. That cost will often be used by the state to determine applicable sales or property taxes to be assessed and used to issue a new registration. Your insurance company may demand a copy of the transferred title before canceling your insurance coverage.

Lemon Laws — Many states have strict requirements on the books to prevent “lemons” from being sold to unsuspecting buyers. If there is a problem with a vehicle, you may be legally required to disclose that information to the buyer, otherwise “as is” the rule of the day. Your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles oversees vehicle transfers; contact your DMV to learn if there is additional paperwork to fill out for a problem vehicle.

If you still owe money on your car, then you don’t hold its title. That means you may have to appear at your bank with the buyer to pay off the loan and have the title handed to you by your bank. You’ll need to make an appointment because your title may be stored at a central location and not your local bank branch office. Explain to the banker what you have in mind to expedite the car selling process.

Adv. — If you’re looking for a new car, then CarSurfer.com is where you want to go. Learn about your financing options and whether leasing is right for you.


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Categories: Autos Express

About Author

Matthew C. Keegan

Matt Keegan is a freelance writer and editor as well as publisher of "Matt's Musings", his personal blog. Matt covers campus, consumer, business and financial topics on various websites and blogs, and has been published in the "Houston Chronicle", "Sam's Club Magazine" and "Wisconsin Golfer".