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Selling A Car Out Of State: Here’s What You Need To Know

Selling A Car Out Of State

You’ve finally done it – you have listed your car for sale. After many years of loyal service, your first car is on the market. Everything is running smoothly – until the most interested buyer you have is located out of state. Now what?

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Are you able to sell your car to an out-of-state buyer? The short answer, and the easy answer, is “No,” it’s not impossible. There are definitely a few things you should know before taking this option, however. By educating yourself on the out-of-state selling process and selling a car out of state, you need to know a few key facts that will protect you and the investment.


Steps To Selling A Car Out Of State


There are a few key steps that you should follow before trying to sell your car out of state. By following these guidelines and procedures, it provides the buyer with a sense of security, and provides the seller with a legal base on which to sell the vehicle. 


Come Up With A Selling Point For Your Car


Although you may assume that your buyer will automatically be on the same page as you with the price of your vehicle, there are a few things you can do to show the buyer the price you are asking for is a fair one when selling a car out of state. Knowing what your car is worth is a key step in selling a car. 


Bring Research


In order to convince and show evidence that the asking point for your vehicle is fair, you need to bring research and proof that back your stance. Before you head to a dealer or the person you are selling your car to out of state, you need to gain pricing guidance information online from a trustworthy site or third party. Some of these sites will be able to give an instant market value for your specific make and model.


Bring this research to the sale, or show it online, to the person from out of state. Don’t be surprised if the out of state buyer claims this price is too high – in this case, show him the proof online that backs your instant market value quotation. The proof of the quotation can help you in the process of selling a car out of state. 


Ask A Mechanic


If you also want to take your vehicle to an in-person 3rd party to gain a quotation or a clean bill of health for your vehicle, you can bring your car to a mechanic for an inspection pre-selling.


To ensure that your car is all that it is supposed to be, the mechanic can perform the inspection to put the buyer’s mind at ease – bad back your claims if the buyer suggests anything was running poorly with the car. 


Hiring a mechanic can also help you determine how much a potential repair or replacement will cost. You can then decide if you want to perform the repair yourself, or mention the faulty part or mechanism when selling your vehicle, and ask the out of state buyer to perform the repair on their own. This transparency will help you in selling a car out of state. 


Test Drive and Inspection


After you and the out of state buyer have come to an agreement about the price, the buyer may want to take your car for a test drive when they come to inspect and pick up the car. To ensure safety and prevent any theft, you should go on the test drive with them. You might even choose a company that can give you tools and tips on how to obtain the perfect driver based on the test drive and inspection. 


The potential buyer might also want to get the car inspected at a shop before buying it. Although you may have already visited a mechanic to obtain a fair price quote, the buyer may want to go to a mechanic with you to ensure that you are not lying about the records when selling a car out of state. If they agree to a remote inspection, then you won’t have to go a second time to the mechanic’s auto body shop. 


Allowing a buyer to test drive and inspect your vehicle will speed up the process of selling a car out of state, showing confidence and trustworthiness.




Everything has gone well until this point. Now it comes down to the payment – how do you want to get paid? 


When selling a car out of state, you should refrain from taking a personal check. Unless you personally know the buyer, know where they live, their job, and their history, taking a personal check is a risky move. Since you are selling a car out of state, chances are, you don’t know this person very well. Therefore, the check could be stolen, the check would bounce, or it is a fraudulent check.


The best method when selling a car out of state is to accept cash for your car. If your negotiation ends up settling on an uneven amount, don’t be expected to make change for your car. If the buyer is serious, they can go to a bank to obtain the proper amount for purchasing. 


If you show your confidence in the buyer and they trust you, then you could consider using an online service like Escrow or PayPal to obtain the money for your vehicle. However, this should be done when in person and face-to-face, and not over the phone or online before buying or after buying the car when selling a car out of state.


Required Paperwork


You need to make sure that you have the paperwork in order for a fast and convenient sale of your car. Each state has its own rules and regulations when it comes to auto sales in individual states. Be sure to check the specific rules and regulations when dealing with selling a car out of state. 


To sell a vehicle at any time, you need to have the title to the vehicle. The title shows who is the owner of the car, and shows that you own it free. If you have a lien holder for your car, there needs to be a letter stating they are accepting the sale of the car, and the signature of the lien holder must be on the letter. If you have financed your car, you need to pay off your car before selling a car out of state. You will need to remove the lien holder from your car before moving forward. 


When you sell a vehicle out of state, there’s usually a box on the back of the title that you have to fill out and sign. The box will show the date, amount of sale, and the odometer reading on the vehicle. 


In addition to providing the title of your vehicle, you might have to show a Bill of Sale to the out of state buyer. A Bill of Sale is a great way to protect yourself if any issue arose. If they are wary about buying a vehicle from someone they don’t know, the bill of sale can show the important information of your car, like the make, model, year, vehicle identification number, and year. 




After the process of selling a car out of state is complete, the buyer will have to register the vehicle in their own state. This will create a new title to the new owner, and the person who bought your vehicle. 


Check and see if you are responsible for notifying your own state that you are no longer the owner of the vehicle. Check with your DMV to see if there’s anything you need to do. Some states might require inspections before you can register a vehicle – you might want to let your buyer know this before you sell your car out of state. 


In order for the new owner to drive the car to their home, it needs to have the proper tags. Since the car they just bought from you hasn’t yet been registered in their home state, they will need to obtain temporary tags and registration at their DMV. 


Let the driver know before selling a car out of state that the state might need the title to be transferred before issuing tags and registration. The buyer will need to complete the sale with you, bring the paperwork to the DMV, and re-title the vehicle. These steps seem tedious, but are required for selling a car out of state. 


License Plates


Since your license plates are directly attributed to your own name and registration, they will need to be removed when you sell the vehicle. This is especially true if you are selling a car out of state. You might want to keep your old tags, so be sure to remove them before selling. Check with your state’s DMV to see what the process is for plates that are for a vehicle you used to own. Before selling a car out of state, ensure that the license plate is removed.




Prior to selling a car out of state, don’t forget to cancel the insurance on your newly-listed or sold car. If you are going to buy a new car, you can give the insurance company the important information about the old car – like the vehicle information number, make, model, and year. Knowing this information is important for selling a car to a junk buyer as well. 


Photocopy Buyer Information


Before letting a stranger go off in your old car, be sure that you have some of the buyer’s information in case anything should happen. Photocopy the driver’s license of the buyer and keep it on file. This way you can confirm the vehicle was sold to a licensed driver when selling a car out of state. In addition, keeping this license is helpful since some states require the buyer’s driver’s license number to be shown on the new title. Following these steps can ensure that you have a clean title on your vehicle. 


Along with the driver’s license, you should photocopy the driver’s insurance card. Make a copy of any valid insurance card so that you can confirm their insurance coverage is valid. Your state might also require insurance to be directly specific to the new vehicle, so ensure that the card identifies the vehicle that is currently being purchased. 


Adhering to these safety precautions can ensure full transparency when selling a car  out of state. Although the person might seem trustworthy and interested in your vehicle, anything can happen. These measures ensure that you can have a safe transaction when selling a car out state. 




Although the majority of states do not have taxes in association with the sale of vehicles, the buyer might have to pay state taxes when they bring their new vehicle into their home state. Check with your DMV and have the buyer do the same with their own state. If this is the case, there are some tax forms and required paperwork that you will have to fill out before selling a car out of state.


What If I Don’t Feel Comfortable Selling My Car To A Buyer Out Of State?


If you aren’t getting any offers from buyers within your own state where your vehicle is registered, you might not feel totally safe selling your vehicle to an out of state buyer. You might just feel as if there’s too much paperwork involved, there’s taxes involved, and the buyer might not have the proper information or insurance. If the buyer isn't giving you a good feeling, then don’t go along with teh  sale.


After leaving your car on the market for some time, you might see that there aren’t any more offers besides the out of state buyer. If you don’t want to go ahead with selling a car out of state, then selling your car to a junk car dealer might be your best option. To earn some extra cash, you can sell the non-metal parts of your car for some quick cash. After this, bring your car to a reputable location.


We recommend bringing your vehicle to CashCarsBuyer for a fair quote, great customer service, and a quick and fast deal that can have you walking away with some money. By selling your junk car, you can start saving for a newer, safe, and reliable vehicle that will last you many years.  


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