7 Must Documents You Will Need to Sell Your Car

Selling a car isn’t as simple as knocking at the buyer’s door and handing him the keys. There are a lot of paperwork involved in transferring ownership and also certifying that you’re the real owner of the property. Hence, if you’re trying to sell your car to fund a project, acquire a property or attend to urgent financial needs. In this guide, we will discuss what paperwork you will need to sell a car and key things to know before selling.

Documents Needed To Sell Your Car

We’ve compiled a list of all the documents you will need for a hitch-free transaction. Keep in mind that the requirements might vary from place to place. Go through this piece to find out the general requirements in California and other states in the US.

1. Driver License

Make a photocopy of your driver’s license or any form of identification. You will also need a copy of the buyer’s ID.

2. Proof of Sale

Proof of Sale

After the transaction is completed, you will need to issue a receipt with the name of the buyer, the amount paid, contact address as well as VIN. This serves as evidence of all that went down between both parties.

3. Service History

To ensure your car maintenance is up to date, you will need to provide evidence of routine service. This informs the buyer that the vehicle is in order. Also, a car warranty should be presented if available.

4. Proof Of Ownership

This is a must-have for all car owners as it signifies ownership. If there’s any form of lien on the vehicle, you will have to inform the lienholder of the sales and pay off every dime you owe.

In cases where the document has been misplaced or stolen, you can apply for a duplicate at your DMV. Go through this video to have an idea of the Car title transfer instruction.

5. Vehicle History Report

This isn’t always requested by the buyer, but one who wants to pay handsomely will go extra miles to ensure the vehicle is in good condition. This is usually negotiable between the buyer and seller if it can’t be provided. It’s better to have a copy of the report, so the buyer knows if the vehicle has been involved in any form of accident.

Even if the seller fails to provide it, the buyer can always get a copy using services such as Autocheck or CarFax.

6. Vehicle Transfer Certificate

This will be needed if the buyer wants to re-register the vehicle under his name. To do this, he will need an original copy of the registration certificate which you will have to provide. Ensure you get the de-registration certificate once it concluded.

7. Notice Of Transfer

The buyer might not request this, but you would be at risk of taking responsibility for damages if the new owner encounters an accident with the vehicle still registered under your name. To cut all ties with the vehicle, you will have to provide a notice of transfer to your insurance company and also notify your DMV.

Special Documents to Present If you’re selling a Car in Texas

an additional vehicle inspection report

Apart from the documents listed above, you will need to provide an additional vehicle inspection report if you stay in Texas. This document shows your vehicle has been certified to be road-safe.

Generally, the documents needed to sell a car in Texas and California are the same. The only distinct difference is in the requirements to pass a smog test.

Other Tips

When to Sell Your Car

Obviously, there’s no best time to sell a car; it all depends on the owner. For some, this could be when the vehicle is getting old, after buying a new one or if there is an urgent financial need. However, most experts suggest the spring and summer is the best period to sell-off a used car. Not only will you get a good bargain, but buyers are also easy to come by.

What to Know Before Selling Your Car

As much as you might be in haste to get rid of a used car, you should know that your vehicle ought to be in a sellable condition before even thinking of what paperwork you will need to sell a car. Is the windshield in order? Is the headlight intact? Or is any of the tires deflated?

Attending to any default will help you get maximum return on your investment as no buyer will be ready to give you good money if most parts of the car need repair. Also, we recommend you get rid of any scratch, dents on the surface of the car, coating with new paint will also make it more attractive.

Where to Find a Buyer

Where to Find a Buyer

When it comes to selling cars online, where you decide to sell depends on the type of vehicle. For instance, if you have a classic or rare car like a Lamborghini Aventador or Chevrolet, the best place to list for sale is Bring-a-trailer. Cars tend to sell at a handsome price, but you will be charged a commission of $99 if you eventually make the sale.

If you’re looking for a place to sell for free, the Facebook marketplace would be a good idea. The advantage of using this is that you interact with the buyer and build a buyer to seller relationship before he comes looking for you.

Craigslist is another place to list your car for free, but with the number of scams going on on the site, it’s better to look away for now.

You see, when you decide to sell your car, getting a buyer won’t be the problem. Listing online helps you attract high paying buyers that selling offline seems like a waste of time. We recommend you go through this piece to discover other trusted places to list your car online.


Ensure you do your research to know what paperwork you will need to sell a car in your state. Knowing what condition your car must be in goes a long way to boost your chances of landing a high-paying buyer.

If you aren’t sure about what document will be required in your area, you can ask your questions in the comment section.