To sell a car in New Jersey, you’ll typically sign the back of the title and fill out both a bill of sale and an odometer reading. The state Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) processes all the forms and keeps track of each car’s legal ownership status.
Selling a car by yourself may seem like a headache due to all the forms involved, but the process is quite simple once you familiarize yourself with the steps.
Each state has a specific set of rules and regulations for transferring car ownership—and if you don’t follow yours, you may be liable for your vehicle even after it has left your possession.
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Jerry explains the process of selling a car in New Jersey.
What you need to sell a car in New Jersey
The first step to making a private car sale in the Garden State is to assemble the necessary documentation. You’ll need:
New Jersey Certificate of Title (or a replacement title if the original was lost)
Any documents cataloguing the car’s maintenance history
Bill of Sale (not legally mandated, but highly recommended)
Odometer Reading form (if applicable)
A lienholder signature (if applicable)
Getting a pre-sale inspection
It’s always a good idea to have your car officially inspected before selling it. This way, you can be transparent with your buyer about any ongoing safety or maintenance issues the car might have.
You may be legally required to have your car fully inspected if it is over four years old. Contact your local MVD branch to review the latest inspection requirements.
Documenting the sale
Once you have a willing buyer, the easiest way to gather the appropriate information is to complete a New Jersey Bill of Sale (although this is not a legal requirement). Fill out the bill of sale with:
The car’s mileage reading
The bill of sale is an official document instrumental to the selling process, but it is not the same thing as a title transfer, which officially transfers ownership of the car.
If the car’s odometer isn’t accurate, you must provide an estimated number of miles on the vehicle and complete an Odometer Disclosure Form.
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Signing the title over
Then, the seller and buyer must sign the back of the car’s title to change its legal ownership of the vehicle. You have 10 days from the date of sale to complete the title transfer process and send it to the MVD.
If the car has a lien on it, you must either pay the loan off completely before selling it or have the buyer assume responsibility for the loan.
You should always talk to your lender before trying to sell a car with an outstanding loan, since the lender has a legal interest in the vehicle via the lien.
Reporting the sale
To report the sale to the MVD, the parties must bring in all the aforementioned documents.
The seller should remove the license plate(s) from the vehicle. You can turn them in to the MVD to be scrapped or ask to place them on your next vehicle. The buyer must be prepared to pay $60 (or $85 for a car with a lien) to register the car.
If the two of you don’t complete this process together, the seller should make sure to contact the MVD after a week or two to confirm that the title has transferred. Otherwise, you’ll be held liable for the vehicle even after it’s out of your hands.
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