What Paperwork Do You Need to Sell Your Car Privately?

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While some states require a bit more paperwork, the major items to have on hand before selling your car are generally the title, a bill of sale, a release of liability/notice of transfer, the maintenance/service records, warranty documents (if the warranty is transferable), and an up-to-date odometer reading.
Selling your car privately has enough headaches as it is–finding a buyer, haggling over the asking price, transferring the title–so it’s best to check with your local DMV for all your state and county requirements before you put that FOR SALE sign in your window.
Thankfully, the car insurance broker app Jerry has put together a list of all the forms and records you’ll need (and some you’ll want) to get your car sold as quickly as possible. 


Above all else, you must have your car title to sell your car. Without it, a potential buyer can’t know for certain that you’re the rightful owner of the vehicle or that it’s legally theirs after purchasing it. If you’ve misplaced your car’s title, contact your local DMV right away to begin the process of getting a new one issued.
Also, keep track of liens on your vehicle. If there is a lien, that will add some extra steps to the selling process since the lien will need to be paid off before the sale can be completed. Contact your lienholder for the exact steps of repaying in full and the title transfer.

Bill of sale

A bill of sale is, essentially, a formal receipt that shows that there was a transfer of ownership in exchange for money. Some of the things included in this document are the price, a description of the car, who the buyer and seller are, and when the transaction took place.
Though a bill of sale is not required in all states to sell your car, it’s important to keep personal records of any major financial transactions. Contact your local DMV to get a copy of a bill of sale. 

Release of liability or Notice of transfer

Just like the bill of sale, whether or not you’re required to have this documentation depends on your state requirements. However, it’s always a good thing to have on hand in case your buyer causes—or is involved in—an accident shortly after the sale.
Your local DMV can provide you with the correct paperwork to protect yourself in the event of an accident.

Maintenance and service records

While these sorts of records are not required to sell your vehicle, they’re a good thing to have on hand to support your asking price. Most buyers will want proof that your vehicle was well-taken care of or knowledge of any existing problems.
Contact your dealer/repair shop for all maintenance schedules and service records.
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Warranty documents (if transferable)

If your vehicle is still under warranty, which can be transferred to a new owner, it will add significant value to your car when selling it. Just be sure to have the contact information for the warranty provider if you’re going to include it in the asking price of your car.

Odometer disclosure

Because of the Truth in Mileage Act, you’ll be required to provide an up-to-date odometer reading for the buyer of your car at the time of the sale and transfer of ownership.
This requirement does have some exemptions, however: any vehicle older than ten years or weighing more than 12,000 lbs is not required to disclose the current odometer reading. Still, that doesn’t mean a potential buyer won’t want to know the mileage!
Another thing to keep in mind is that the Truth in Mileage Act sets a federal requirement. As always, you should check with your local DMV to see if your state or county has requirements of their own in regards to odometer disclosures.

Other documents you might need

Smog Certificate

A smog certificate is proof that your vehicle’s emissions are within the standard types and amounts. Not all states require vehicles to have a smog certificate, but those that do will want it renewed about every two years.
California requires all vehicles to be tested, but many other states only have that requirement in certain counties. Check with your local DMV to see if your county is one of them.

Vehicle inspection report

The purpose of a vehicle inspection report is to show that a car is road-worthy and that its emissions are within legal standards. This report is only required in certain Texas counties, so contact your DMV if you’re a Texas resident who’s looking to sell their car.

Vehicle history report

Just like the maintenance and service records, a vehicle history report is a nice-to-have, but it’s not a must-have. Most buyers will want to know the history of a vehicle they’re interested in purchasing – for example, the number of owners or any major damage there might have been. 
Having the vehicle history report on hand will certainly streamline the process, but buyers can also find out this information on their own through services such as CARFAX. However, you will need to supply them with your vehicle’s VIN.

How to find affordable car insurance

Whether you’re selling your car to accommodate a change of lifestyle, or just want to upgrade to a newer model, you’ll still need to insure your new ride at a rate that won’t break the bank. Don’t worry, though, because Jerry is a car insurance broker app that can help you find quotes from 50+ insurers in less than two minutes! Don’t just take our word for it – check out these reviews from other drivers:
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