Selling a Car


if i want to sell a car to a private party, what should i look for or make sure so that i don’t have problems with tickets or anything else?

Is is enough to give the dmv the portion of the registration?

Its the first time i sell a car so i just want to make sure i do it the right way.



I’m not really sure how you would have “problems with tickets or anything else” when selling a car, but the ultimate question here is–In what state do you reside?

If you want to avoid problems, I suggest that you consult with the DMV in your mystery state, rather than accepting random suggestions from people on this site.

omg. i forgot… it’s california. sorry about that.
but yes, i will go to the dmv also. thanks

  1. Make sure you are paid! (i.e. real money) Beware of fake “certified” checks. Only deal with local buyers. Go to their bank with them, walk up to the teller together and be with the buyer when he/she withdraws the cash or has the teller prepare a bank check for the amount. Too many people forget this key step and are scammed. 100% of buyers who send you emails asking to buy your car are SCAMMERS!

  2. Sign and notarize (if required in your state) your title and fill out a bill of sale (see below).

  3. Take off your license plates, remove everything from the car including registration forms, proof of insurance, etc.

  4. Check with your DMV and check if there are any other steps required by your state of residence. Some require the seller to pay for a smog test, others may require a VIN inspection.

I have bought and sold more than 30 cars (I’m not a dealer, just a car nut) over the years without a single problem using the above steps.

Hope this helps,


Payment in the amount of $_______________ is hereby acknowledged by _____________________________, (?Seller?) received from ______________________________ (?Buyer?), for the sale of the automobile described below.

Automobile Description
Odometer reading:

Seller is the true and lawful owner of the above-described automobile, which is free and clear of all liens and encumbrances. Seller has full power, right and lawful authority to dispose of this vehicle. The odometer has not been disconnected or altered while in possession of the Seller.

The above-described vehicle is sold ?AS IS? and ?WITH ALL FAULTS?. Buyer hereby acknowledges, and Seller hereby expressly disclaims any and all warranties, either expressed or implied, including any implied warranties of merchantability, and neither assumes nor authorizes any other person to assume for it any liability in connection with the sale of this vehicle. Seller is not the original owner of the vehicle, does not have a complete history on the vehicle and does not warranty the vehicle?s condition, mileage, suitability or fitness for a particular purpose.

Buyer accepts full liability for the vehicle, damages, and any third party liability incurred from the vehicle use from the date of sale. Buyer takes ownership of the vehicle and assumes all responsibility for its transport at the time full payment is made to Seller.

Any representations or statements that may have been made regarding the automobile have no bearing on the sale unless specifically included in writing in this Agreement.

The laws of the State of ___________shall govern the terms and conditions of this Purchase Agreement and Bill of Sale.



Date							Date

Address: Address:

Beware of “overpayment scams” where they send you a check for more than the price of the car and have you send the difference back via Western Union or MoneyGram.

thanks you all for the advice. Very usefull.
My biggest concern was mainly the issue with liability and tickets. Once the new owner takes off and makes an accident or drive over red, i do not want to be responsible. But i seen on the dmv page that you can also input the information online and it gets updated within 24 hours. that is of course here in los angeles.

thanks again, i really appreciate it

You should not let go of your license tags. Once the car is sold, remove your plates. The buyer takes the title or whatever paperwork you provide them to DMV and they get the car registered in their name and get insurance in their name.

When they come to take away the car they put on their new plates and away they go. If you deliver the car to the buyer. Take wrenches and screw drivers and remove your plates when you deliver the car and take the plates home with you.

Most states and now insurance companies want you to turn in the plates to either police, DMV, or a notary and get a receipt. More and more insurance companies require you to send them or fax them a copy of the receipt before they will remove the car from your insurance policy and refund your premium.

Go With The Purchaser To The DMV At The Time Of Sale And Have The Ownership Transferred.

Giving the owner paperwork and trusting them to get to the DMV in a timely manner is never a good idea. They may put it off and they are driving a car that the DMV lists the owner as you.

Think of the mess there’d be should they become involved in a collision with the (your’s/their) vehicle. When the police run the VIN, you are the owner.

The only way around this is to possibly have everything signed correctly on the title (requires owner’s signature) and then make sure you obtain a copy, but why screw around?


When you call the DMV, make sure to ask whether an inspection is required for the new owner to register the car. If there is a smog or safety inspection, get it done first. This will means that the new owner just needs to register the car and drive away. Make it as easy as possible for the new buyer to say yes to the sale.

BTW, all the information you need is liekly on line at the Cali DMV web site.

I totally agree with jtsanders contact DMV . most of the time DMV web site contain all the required information

Accept only cash and keep your plates. If you list the car on craigslist, you will get many offers from people who will offer to send you a cashiers check and have a shipper pick up the car…These offers and their variations are ALL scams…Notify the DMV and your insurance company of the sale on the spot. Arrange the sale during normal business hours, never Friday evening which leaves you exposed over the weekend. But if you get CASH and keep the plates and all copies of the registration, you are off the hook.