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Face it! If you own a car there will come a time when you will want to sell it. Many if not most people who find themselves in this predicament will probably use their car as a trade in when buying a new car. However, many people choose to sell their car themselves to a private buyer.
Selling a car in Illinois can be a daunting task. Besides preparing your car for sale you will have to draft or obtain a number of documents or applications from the Illinois State Department of Motor Vehicles, have an understanding of your legal liability as you transfer the ownership of the car to a buyer, gather information about the car itself, and more.
It can be overwhelming. This is true whether you are selling a used car in Illinois or selling a junk car in Illinois. Don’t worry. You will be able to handle the stress if you just take your time and do what is necessary one step at a time.
Prepare A To Do List For Selling A Car In Illinois
To make certain that you will keep a handle on all the things you need to do, it might be helpful to draft a to do list. The list is intended to breakdown all the activities into step-by-step instructions to follow as you progress through the process of selling a car in Illinois.
Such a list might look something like this:
- Prepare the car for sale.
- Gather information on the car.
- Obtain necessary documents from the Illinois Department of Motor Vehicles.
- Estimate the value of the vehicle.
- Find a buyer.
- Negotiate the sale.
- Meet with buyer.
- Understand your legal liability.
- Complete the sale
Prepare The Car For Sale When Selling A Car In Illinois
One of the most important things when selling a used car in Illinois is making the vehicle as enticing as possible. That means repairing dings or dents in the body, washing the exterior, cleaning the interior and removing personal items from the back seat, trunk, door pockets, nooks, and from under and between the seats.
Gather Information On The Car For Selling A Car In Illinois
Write down the make, model and year of the vehicle. Collect the title, registration and vehicle identification number (VIN) of the car. You should have gotten a title when you purchased the car. If you lost it, then obtain a copy from the DMV. You receive the registration every year from the DMV when asked to pay the tax on the car. If you have lost it, get a copy from the DMV. The car’s VIN is located on the top of the dashboard on the driver’s side of the car.
Also gather information on the history of the vehicle. This includes:
- The odometer reading.
- Structural damage.
- Theft history.
- Service and repairs.
- Recall information.
- Auto insurance information.
You will need this information to fill out a Bill of Sale that you may have to draft yourself. This document includes:
- A preamble phrase: “I (seller’s name) of (seller’s address) declare that I am the legal and lawful owner of the (item) and have the authority to sell it.”
- Odometer reading
- Seller registration#
- Have you previously filed an application for title of this vehicle? Yes No
- The full name and address of the seller
- Full name and address of the buyer
- Statement of sale. “I (seller’s name) do hereby sell, convey, and transfer the above-described item for (price) to (buyer’s name and address) as full payment for the purchase of the said vehicle, which is sold “AS IS.” I hereby state that the mileage of the vehicle at the time of the sale is (odometer reading).
- Grant sale and transfer to buyer: “I do, hereby grant, sell and transfer full ownership of this vehicle to the buyer. I certify that this vehicle, at the time of sale, is free from all encumbrances, taxes, fees and liens except as those specified on the Title or listed below, and that I (seller) will defend and be held fully responsible for such lawful claims and demands with respect to the vehicle, if any.
- “Buyer accepts full liability for the vehicle, damages and any third party liability incurred from the vehicle use from the date of sale.
- “If applicable, Seller agrees to make arrangements for the reasonable delivery of vehicle title from lien holder to buyer immediately.
- (Seller’s signature)
- (Buyers signature)
- Statement of oath: “I swear or affirm under penalty of perjury that the facts stated above are true and correct to the best of my knowledge.”
Documentation From The Illinois DMV
Obtain the Seller’s Report of Sale form VSD 703 as well as a copy of your title and registration at the Illinois Department of Motor Vehicles.
Estimate The Value Of The Vehicle
Of course, you will need to determine how much your car is worth. There are a number of sources that can help you determine a fair price for selling a used car in Illinois. For example, websites including Kelly Blue Book, National Appraisal Guide, and Autotrader have value calculators that can assist you. Visit those websites, answer questions about your car and consider the results.
Find A Buyer For Selling A Car In Illinois
There are a number of alternatives available where you can announce that you are selling a used car in Illinois. For example, you can place an ad in the Chicago Sun Times, Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Autotrader, or Craigslist. You can also visit Kelley Blue Book. It has a used car section where you can determine the value of your car and alert prospective buyers to contact you about purchasing your car.
The ad can include such information as:
- Condition of the car
- History of accidents or damage
- Upgrades or enhancements
- Recent repairs
- Vehicle Identification Number
- Number of owners
Include a phone number where you can be reached.
You can also put a “for sale” sign on your car when you park it or when you leave it on your driveway.
Come up with a sales pitch so that you can promote your car to people you happen to meet and who may be in the market for a used car. Focus on reasons why someone would want to buy the car including fuel economy and odometer mileage.
Screen callers. Get their full names and tell them a little bit about the car. Engage them in conversation to determine if they can be trusted. If you become apprehensive with the person you are talking to, then come up with an excuse for not pursuing the sale. During the conversation, let the possible car buyer know how you want to be paid.
Once you are satisfied that you found a buyer, arrange to meet.
Make sure that your auto insurance provider allows the buyer to test drive the car.
Meet With Buyer
Have a friend or two accompany you to the meeting. Allow the buyer to inspect the vehicle and answer any questions he has about the car.
Suggest that the buyer take a test drive. Never let him or her do the drive alone. You and your friends should accompany him or her. The potential driver may ask if a professional mechanic can check out the car prior to the sale. Make sure you have pre-sale inspection information for this eventuality and be present as the mechanic examines the car.
Once the test-drive and a mechanic’s inspection has been concluded, negotiate on the final price with the potential buyer.
Understand Your Legal Liability When Selling A Car In Illinois
You may not be aware that you retain liability over the car until the car buyer transfers the title. However, there are things you can do to protect yourself when selling a car in Illinois by owner.
- Obtain and fill out the Illinois Notice of sale form.
- Remove the license plates from the car. Don’t allow the buyer to take the plates.
- Confirm that the buyer has a valid driver’s license.
- Confirm that the buyer has valid car insurance.
- move all personal identification from the car.
- Don’t expect the buyer will file notice of sale forms to the DMV. Do that yourself.
No sale is complete until the paperwork has been filed with the Illinois Department of Vehicles. So obtain the Illinois Seller’s Report Of Sale Form VSD 703. Fill it out with the buyer and return it along with the license plates to the DMV.
Don’t allow the buyer to drive the car away with your plates still attached to it. The license plates are assigned to you, not the car. The plates need to be returned to the DMV. Inform the buyer that he or she needs to put his or her own plates on the car before driving off.
Complete The Sale
Once the negotiations over price is completed finish up the sale. This should include:
- Filling out the bill of sale and/or the Seller’s Report of Sale.
- Signing over the title.
- Taking the license plates.
- Receiving payment.
- Handing over the keys.
- Submitting necessary forms to the Illinois Department of Motor Vehicles.
If you are paid with a check, do not give up the keys until the payment has been cleared.
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