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How To Sell A Car in Virginia – What are the Guidelines?

How To Sell A Car in Virginia – What are the Guidelines?

Are you searching for guidelines on how to sell a car in Virginia? Are you unsure of what paperwork, documents and certificates need to be filled out? Do you feel overwhelmed and lost with all that needs to be taken care of?


If you’ve been searching for how to sell a car in Virginia privately, we can help! Check our detailed steps and tips that will help you stay organized with all documents, fees and details for a successful sale of your Virginia car!

And don't forget to visit the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles for additional details!

Beginning the Process of Selling a Car in Virginia

Beginning the Process of Selling a Car in Virginia

You may find that selling a used car in Virginia is challenging if you have no game plan or how to begin the process.

In order to successfully sell your car and transfer the title to the new owner, the state of Virginia has specific regulations and guidelines that you must follow.  Knowing the process will help you as the seller as well as the buyer of your car.  So, begin with some basic information about your buyer. You want to have good and direct contact information from your buyer. Your buyer needs the same from you.

You should also begin on a “good foot” of establishing a good working relationship with the buyer so that the two of you can work as a team in getting things done.

Agreement on the Price of the Car

Although this sounds very simple, you and the buyer have to agree on a price for the car. If not, then you have to move on to another buyer and post your car for sale again.

This simple yet first piece of information is something that the state of Virginia requires. In fact, you’ll find it on the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles form!

Filling Out the Paperwork and Required Documents

In Virginia, in order to sign over the title certificate of your car, you are required to provide your signature, an odometer disclosure, the buyer’s contact information and full name, and of course the sales price of the vehicle.

You will find that what you need to sign will be located at the front of the certificate. Your vehicle buyer is required to sign the complete ownership transfer.

Next, you will need to call both the Virginia DMV as well as the insurance company about the sale of the car. In order to verify the sales price of the car, you’ll have to complete the Vehicle Price Certification form so the buyer can title it.

What If I Need a Duplicate Car Title So I can Sell My Car in Virginia?

For Virginia car sellers who have lost, misplaced or damaged the car title, you can obtain a duplicate Virginia certificate online or through your nearest Virginia DMV office.

If there is an active lien on the vehicle, the lien holder must submit the application and receive the replacement certificate.

For a duplicate car title, you must pay a $10 fee. You can also apply for a Duplicate VA Title Certificate at a local Virginia DMV customer service center.

For any changes you wish to make to the vehicle title, you must complete the required form.

Title Transfer in Virginia

Title Transfer in Virginia

When you transfer the ownership of the car to the buyer, you have the option of either disposing the plates at a Virginia DMV service center, or you can transfer the plates to another vehicle registered in your name.

The Virginia Bill of Sale for a Vehicle

In Virginia, the Vehicle Bill of Sale is considered a binding and legal document. This means that the state uses the document to show proof of a legal sale and purchase of a motor vehicle.

Additionally, a bill of sale in Virginia is important in the fact that it offers the necessary information pertaining to the change of ownership as well as the identifiable information pertaining to the vehicle. One can also read about the details in regard to both the seller and the buyer.

In Virginia, a bill of sale is a document that provides proof of ownership. Although important in the car selling process, a Virginia bill of sale does not need to be notarized.

Additional and Pertinent Forms

Odometer Disclosure Statement (VSA-5) – This document is required and must be attached to the Bill of Sale per federal law.

Vehicles Over 5 Years Old – This document must be attached to the Bill of Sale.

How do I Register my Vehicle During the Selling Process?

Before you legally operate a motor vehicle in the state of Virginia, you are required to register and title your vehicle with your local Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) Offices.

You can complete both the vehicle titling and registration in the same visit. This ensures you re able to drive the vehicle in the state of Virginia on the same day.

Where to Register Your Vehicle

 Where to Register – Feel free to register and title your vehicle by going to your local Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) Offices

Items Needed to Register Your Vehicle

  • Photo ID
  • bill of sale
  • Proof of insurance
  • Inspection Certificate
  • A title signed over to you
  • Proof of residency that matches your ID
  • Be prepared to pay all titling and/or registration fees

Getting a Vehicle History Report

Obtaining a vehicle history report for buyers is a good idea. This shows you as the seller are an honest, straightforward, and reputable seller. Think of a vehicle report protecting you as well as your buyer. A car buyer wants no surprises after (s)he purchases a car. Click here to obtain a vehicle history on your Virginia car!

How do I Sell A Car in Virginia Online?

If you are looking to sell your car online here in Virginia, you’re in good company! With one view of Craigslist here in Virginia, you will see a plethora of cars for sale. So, where do you begin with selling online?

The first component of an online car ad, is pictures. Your pics should be sharp, clear and concise. A good number of photos to have is about 10 to 15. This way, potential buyers will see your used car and how wonderful it is!

Your online used car ad should have a description written. You have to include all of the details about your car. For example, if your SUV has an entertainment system in it, let potential buyers know that! You want to sell your car and make it stand out. Why should anyone buy your car? You want to answer that question with an engaging and crafty description!

The final component of your used car ad is your contact information. Are you going to give out your phone number? Are you going to give out your email?

You have to have a way in which potential buyers can get to you.

Now, comes the waiting. You have to answer questions and make appointments with folks who want to see your car. This can be frustrating if the potential car buyer doesn’t show up.

Additionally, you have to deal with non-serious buyers, or the buyers who “don’t have all of the cash yet for the car”.

So, in an effort not to waste time let potential buyers know what you will withstand and what you won’t. You have a right to have policies and procedures in place, that make selling your car online as less hectic as it can be!

Getting Your Car Ready for Buyers

Now that you know what needs to be taken care of and you have a firm grasp on all paperwork and documents, it’s time to get your car ready for a sale!

  1. A Good Car Wash. There’s nothing like a “good ole fashioned” car wash. Think about how renewed you feel when you get your car vacuumed and cleaned! The same is true for selling your used car. You want to get your used car washed and keep it looking as pristine as possible. You may even spring to have someone detail your car. A good wax does wonders for a used car too! Don’t forget to vacuum the mats in the car and shine those appliances in the car to make them sparkle!
  2. Repairs and Fixes. If you got time to sell a car, you got time to get it fixed. So, if a fender needs to be replaced, then replace it. Otherwise, you need to indicate that fender damage in your car ad. Have you checked all of the belts and hoses on the car? Now is the time to do that. If that starter has been giving you a bit of trouble, get that looked at. Otherwise, you need to indicate that you have issues with the starter in your car ad. The more you let your car buyer know about your car, the better off you are!
  3. Plates. Don’t forget that once you transfer the ownership of the car to the buyer, you can either dispose of the license plates at a Virginia DMV service center, or you can transfer the plates to another vehicle registered in your name.