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Closing the Deal on Your Used Car Sale

Once you and your potential buyer have come to and agreement on price, you need to decide how that payment will be made, by personal check, cash only, electronic transfer, or by a cashier’s check. It’s a good idea to inform potential buyers of what payment method you would prefer when you schedule an appointment. That way if the buyer wishes to purchase the vehicle on the spot, you can finalize the deal quickly. For added safety, ensure that the funds delivered are valid, in the case of a check or cashier’s check make sure to have a bank employee verify funds on the check or cashier’s check before signing the title over and handing the buyer the keys to your vehicle.

The transfer of title process usually consists of you signing and dating the title in front of a notary before you pass it on to the buyer and notifying the DMV of the transaction. Making sure that the title is correctly transferred and that the DMV is properly notified will prevent you from being liable for any accidents once the transfer is complete. If you are not in possession of the vehicle’s title your lender will take care of the transfer.

Even if you have not paid off your loan, you can still sell your car yourself. What you have to do is close the loan to your lending company. The first step in this process is to get a loan payoff notification; this notification will tell you exactly how much money you need to pay off the loan on your car on any specific day within a chosen period (usually 10 days to 2 weeks). You will need these exact numbers so you can make a final payment on the loan and pay it off. Remember, each day the payoff amount changes due to interest on the loan so if you do not sell your vehicle within the payoff window you will need to request another loan payoff notification. To receive your loan payoff notification you must write or call your lending company.

Once you have verified funds, and paid off your loan, your lending institution will ask you if there is a new lien holder for the vehicle. If the buyer has secured financing with another financing company you will need to provide this information to your lender. If the buyer is paying with cash, your lender will ask you to provide the buyer’s information so that the title can be cleared and sent to the seller.

Once the financial transaction is complete you will need to contact your local motor vehicle division (DMV) and submit a change of ownership document. For details you will need to contact your local DMV for what paperwork if any is required.

Many states require you to complete a bill of sale for the purchase of any new or used vehicle. While the specifics of the bill of sale for automobiles vary by state we have created a generic Bill Of Sale which you can download, print and use in most circumstances. To ensure you have all of the information your state requires with regards to your car's bill of sale we suggest that you visit or your state's local motor vehicle department for specific information, or the state required form.

By law, any owner of a motor vehicle must have insurance for the vehicle. Make sure you speak with the buyer’s insurance agent and confirm that they are insured for your vehicle before you hand the keys to them. Most insured motorists are covered automatically, but it would be in your best interest to ensure the buyer's insurance will cover your vehicle.

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