The global microchip shortage has slowed the pace of production of new vehicles in recent years, driving the demand for the used car market and shifting the favor to the sellers. This means that if you’re planning on selling your car to get an upgrade or earn some extra cash, now is the best time to do it. You can take advantage of the heightened demand to sell your vehicle at the best price.
But before getting started, you’ll need to sort out some paperwork to sell a car. Preparing the essential documents early can help you get the ball rolling when a good deal pops up.
The requirements will vary depending on your state, but we can help you with this checklist of the essential documents you’ll need. Get all the paperwork to sell a car sorted out to enjoy a smooth sale — and get the best value for your car!
What Do I Need To Sell a Car?
We’ll start this list with the certificate of title for a vehicle — your pink slip. This piece of paper provides proof of your ownership, so you’ll need to secure this document for a smooth, hassle-free transaction.
If you have completely paid off your car, you likely have a “clear” title. It’s a title without any outstanding financial burden that can prevent the vehicle from being sold. Selling a used car with a clear title is pretty simple; you’ll only have to sign the title as a seller in front of a notary in most cases.
On the other hand, you’ll need to take some extra steps if you still owe money on your car. You and your potential buyer can work with the latter’s lender or financial institution to transfer the car title.
Losing the title is another typical issue sellers face. You will need to request another copy, as most dealerships have a hard time affecting the transfer without it.
When selling a car, paperwork needed in the transaction may include a filled-out odometer disclosure statement. The form can be found on your local Department of Motor Vehicles or DMV website and will ask for the following information:
- The vehicle’s description (e.g., its year, make, model, body type and vehicle identification number or VIN)
- The buyer’s name, address and signature
- Your (the seller) name, address and signature
- The vehicle’s current mileage
Failure to declare your mileage can put you at risk of receiving fines and facing imprisonment, as reporting the mileage when selling vehicles is mandated by law. With that said, rules and regulations differ from state to state. For example, California does not require sellers to disclose mileage for cars over ten years old.
Emissions Test Documentation
Emissions documentation is another record that may or may not be required when selling a car, depending on the state you live in.
If you plan to sell your used vehicle in California, for instance, note that the local DMV has strict smoke and emissions testing requirements. Whether you are selling your car to a private entity or a used car dealership, you need to produce a smog certification statement for gasoline-powered vehicles made in 1976 or earlier and diesel vehicles made in 1998 or earlier.
To ensure you have all the paperwork to sell a car, it’s always a good idea to visit your local DMV’s website. Securing your emissions testing certificate helps you not only conduct a smooth sale but also give your buyers peace of mind when it comes to your car’s emission checks.
Vehicle History Report
Disclosing your vehicle identification number may also be necessary when putting up advertisements for your used car. The VIN lets potential buyers look up your vehicle’s history — a crucial document most prospects consult before purchasing a used car.
This is because vehicle history reports bear essential information about your car, like how many previous owners it had, how far it has traveled, or if it had been involved in any accident. In selling a car, paperwork like history reports help justify your vehicle’s price and give potential buyers insights into its true condition.
Maintenance records are solid proof that your car has undergone necessary services. While maintenance records are not necessary for a title transfer, they can be extremely helpful when you’re trying to convince a buyer and finalize a sale.
Potential buyers naturally want to see that the used vehicle they’re about to purchase is well-maintained. Whether you regularly serviced your car or did your own maintenance, having documentation of oil changes, part upgrades, and other routine servicing can help persuade and assure buyers. Most importantly, these documents also help you sell your car for the best price!
If you still have a remaining transferable warranty on your car, you’ll also want to have your warranty documents ready. Warranty can add value to your car sale and help you justify an increase in your asking price.
It’s a good idea to secure proof of this warranty and all other related documents for your buyer. Doing so gives them all the information they need about the remaining warranty and lets them reach out to the provider directly to affect the transfer of the warranty balance.
An as-is document does what its name suggests: it’s a crucial paper stating that your car will be sold in its current condition
Signing this means that the buyer agrees to buy the car in its existing state, including any faults or problems that may be present. It also signifies that they accept all responsibility for all future repairs for the condition and that you are free from liabilities should they discover a defect after the transfer of title is complete.
Bill of Sale
The bill of sale is another document that’s not an absolute requirement in a sale but can definitely help you achieve a smoother, headache-free transaction. This document works a lot like the as-is document in that, once signed, it protects you from any liability toward the used car in case a dispute arises after the sale. It also establishes the date when the vehicle’s ownership was transferred.
Check Out This Simple, Effortless Way To Sell Your Car
“What do I need to sell a car?” is a question many vehicle owners struggle with, so we hope this checklist gave you a clear starting point. With that said, keep in mind that the documents you need to push through with a used car sale will still depend on your state’s legislation, so it’s best that you visit your local DMV website for more information.
When selling a car, paperwork can indeed be confusing and even overwhelming. This is especially true if you’re transacting with a private buyer and have to gather all these documents. But this doesn’t always have to be the case!
If you’re looking for a simple, hassle-free way to sell your car, you have come to the right place. When you sell your vehicle to GivemetheVIN, all you have to do is input your license plate number or VIN and submit pictures with your online submission. Complete all the steps online without having to interact with salespeople and receive a top-notch offer. Fill out our form to get started!