Used Car Buying Checklist

What Documents Do I Need to Sell a Car?

“What do I need to sell my vehicle?”

car seller

“What do I need to sell my vehicle?” is a question many of us ask when it’s time to buy another car. To sell your used car successfully, you’ll need to clean it up and take some good pictures. Write an appealing description, then post it along with photos in an ad on a car-selling platform. Of course, there’s more to it, but selling your car is pretty straightforward—making the sale legal and safe can present a snag.

Ensuring you, your car, and the new owner are protected means understanding what documents are required to sell a car in your state. The necessary paperwork to sell a car legally where you live will vary, but you will almost always need a title and a bill of sale. They aren’t required for selling a car, but documentation about service, maintenance, and warranties can add a lot of value.

If you want to sell your car and get behind the wheel of your new ride fast, get your vehicle’s documentation together first. Remember: more paperwork often means more perceived value.
Required or not, here are the most common forms you’ll need for a smooth selling transaction.

Typical Paperwork to Sell a Car Privately

Trading your used car for another is probably the quickest way to get your next car. But selling it can be almost as fast when you’re ready to make the sale because you have your paperwork ready to roll. Here’s what you’ll need at a minimum:

Car Title

Of all the required paperwork needed to sell a car, the car title is king. Selling a car without a title is challenging at best in nearly every state. Because a car title is legal proof of ownership, selling a vehicle privately without one can be illegal in many states.

We’ve all heard horror stories about replacing a lost title. But in most cases, the effort will be worth it if you want the best price and to stay out of trouble. Note: If you have a loan on the vehicle, the lending institution should have the title and may not release it until the loan is paid off.

Bill of Sale

Other than the title, what documents you need to sell a car will depend on your state and local DMV laws. Some states require a bill of sale that typically includes information about the vehicle, the date of the transaction, and the purchase price. What needs to be signed when selling a car will also vary by state, but you should always have a bill of sale signed by the seller and buyer.

Keep in mind that the bill of sale doesn’t transfer vehicle ownership. The bill of sale is a receipt and proof of ownership that, along with the title, allows the new owner to register the vehicle.

What Do I Need to Sell My Vehicle For More Money?

Now that you have the inside scoop on the required documents for selling your car, you may ask, “What forms do I need to sell my car for more!” Once you have the documents you need, there are a few you’ll want to make your car more appealing. Vehicle history reports, service and maintenance records, and transferable warranties are particularly attractive and can garner you a premium price.

You can get a vehicle history report for your car online using your VIN. These reports reveal the number of owners, accidents, recorded repairs, and more. Service and maintenance records, whether you did the work or someone else, instill confidence in potential buyers. If your vehicle is still under warranty, there’s a good chance it can be transferred. A used car with a manufacturer’s warranty is rare, so don’t be afraid to adjust your asking price accordingly.

Now that you know the minimum required paperwork to sell a car and the documentation that adds value, it’s time to put your car on the market. Ensure you have all your vehicle’s paperwork in order and kept handy for every prospective buyer. Since you’re well on your way to selling your car quickly, it’s time to pick out its successor.

From muscle cars to compacts, SUVs to offroad trucks, we make it easy to shop smart. Our user-friendly online inventory listings let you pick your year, make, model, color, and more to find the best candidates. Narrow down your search to a few favorites, stop by to test drive them, and drive home the winner!

Car Time Supercenter is a local family-owned business and is one of Tucson’s most trusted used car dealers. Since 1984, we’ve helped customers get the cars and trucks they want with a simple and affordable car-buying experience. Call 520-750-0505 or send this short contact form to find a vehicle you’ll love right here in Tucson.

Shane Vossough

There are good reasons people will buy their next used car in Tucson from Car Time Supercenter. But I think we are one of the most trusted used car dealerships mainly because we treat everyone like family. My family has provided quality, dependable local used cars to Tucson customers since 1984, and I'm proud to be a part of our continued success. Like many family-owned businesses, I grew up going to work with my dad. Falling in love with cars was natural because of my father's passion, and eventually, I came to love the car business just like him. I officially joined the Car Time Supercenter team in 2012, starting in the finance department. Over the past decade, I've learned the used car business and how to treat customers from my family and industry resources. Today, I oversee marketing, social media, inventory, and reconditioning, so I play an essential role in delivering local Tucson used car buyers the best experience possible. I also help our family business keep up with the times while providing old-fashioned customer service. From attending NADA classes to becoming Allstate certified for back-end products, I continue to learn and add skills to serve our customers better.