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Selling an Unregistered Car – How To Register Your Car, What To Do If You Can’t, And Your Options

Selling an Unregistered Car

After buying your new car, you might not have had time to register your vehicle. Registering is a crucial step in owning a vehicle and ensuring you can legally drive the car. If your car is not registered, it can be illegal to drive it, and you might end up being punished. 

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Although registering your car is an easy process, you might not have time or the money to register your vehicle. In this case, you will be owning an unregistered car. If you don’t want to risk any legal penalties with driving your vehicle, you might then choose to undergo the process of selling an unregistered car. We will go through the reasons why you might not be able to register, things to consider before selling an unregistered car, and how to sell an unregistered car. 


How To Register Your Vehicle


The registration for a car is fairly simple, although there are some key steps to follow to ensure you have done the procedures correctly.


Step 1 – Register Your Car In Your State


The registration laws differ depending on what state you are registering the vehicle in. Each state has varying fees that are attributed with the registration, and different government agencies handle specific registrations. There are also different rules for how you need to register your car, and when that process needs to happen. 


For example, in Florida, it is required that you register your vehicle through Florida’s Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. It is mandatory that residents register vehicles with the DHSMV. if you do not, you could face high fines and citations. 


Step 2 – Register Your Car


First, you need to gather the required information and paperwork for your vehicle. Different states will have slightly different needs, but you will definitely need your proof of vehicle insurance, vehicle identification number, proof of purchase, driver’s license, social security card, and proof of residence. 


Next, visit your local DMV with a walk-in for registration, or an appointment. After you have visited the DMV, you need to fill out the registration forms while you’re there. Be sure to provide your own information, vehicle information, and give the paperwork to the DMV worker.


After all of the paperwork is filled out, you need to pay a fee to register the vehicle. In Florida, it costs private vehicles up to 2,4999 pounds $27.60 per year. Once your registration has been paid for, you will receive a registration sticker, which you place on your license plate. The registration sticker makes it clear that your car is currently registered, notifying law enforcement officers. 


Ince your vehicle is registered, you might have to undergo the registration renewal process every 1-2 years depending on your specific state. However, this is an easy process after doing the initial registration, and can be done online. 


Why You Can’t Register Your Vehicle


Although the registration process is fairly easy, there might be key reasons why you are not going to register your vehicle. Let’s look over the reasons that prevent you from obtaining a DMV vehicle registration, leading to the process of selling an unregistered car. 


Reason 1 – Financial Strain


The most common reason that you won't register your vehicle is due to financial reasons. You might have forgotten, or skipped out, on paying a worker or a company, who has then notified the DMV in your specific state. This could be anything from personal property taxes to a debt owed. 


The state then has the power to withhold registration, like if you have avoided paying parking tickets. With this block on your account, you cannot successfully register your vehicle, leading to the owner to consider selling an unregistered car. 


Reason 2 – Emissions Failure


Some states will have the power to block the registration processes due to the vehicle’s exhaust system. Your car might be subject to an inspection of your emissions test before you can register your vehicle in the state. You need to obtain a specific certificate showing that your vehicle has passed the test, which you will then provide to your state DMV. 


If you don’t pass the test, you need to have your car repaired before you can successfully register your vehicle. This means that you will have to pay for a fix of the emissions system, which can cost $73-$93 for diagnosis and testing. 


3 – Insurance Issues 


Numerous stats can block you from registering your car if you don’t have auto insurance. Auto insurance is a contract between you and your insurance company that protects you against any financial damage if something happens to your vehicle. Without this, you are liable for anything that happens to your car, including theft. Many states will refute your registration if you do not have insurance.


4 – Failing A Smog Test


Although you may think it is difficult to fail a smog test, it can actually be quite easy. In just California alone, over 10% of vehicles tested have failed. If you fail your smog test, you won’t be able to register your car. This leads you to either having to not use your vehicle, or selling an unregistered car. 


Things To Consider Before Selling An Unregistered Car 


There are a few key things to consider before selling your unregistered car that can affect how the sale goes, the price you can offer, and how the negotiation process will unfold.


Make and Model 


The make and model of your car is a huge factor in determining the selling of an unregistered car. If it is a well-kept and upscale car and you’re selling to a single buyer, you might be able to sell the vehicle faster, compared to a junk car. However, there are certain companies that gladly take junk cars and pay money for the parts. If you are selling a second-hand car to a person with a lower budget then you might be able to sell your run-down car. It really depends on the market you are trying to attract, the make and model of the vehicle, and if the make and model are popular in the car world. 


The Price You’re Offering


The amount you are willing to gain from selling an unregistered car can affect the selling process. If you offer a car that is unregistered to a seller, and you keep it at a higher price, then the buyer will be deterred from purchasing your vehicle. 


The Condition Of Your Car


If your unregistered car is in a junk condition, then the potential buyers will not want to purchase a car that can be seen as a liability, or will break down on them in a short amount of time. We recommend taking your car to a reputable location to sell your junk car for money. 


If your unregistered car is no longer running and has been left on the side of the road, then it is considered abandoned. Selling an unregistered car that is abandoned is a difficult business, and shouldn’t be carried out. You should look into selling your car to a reputable cash-for-car company. 


If you have a nicer car, you can sell your unregistered car a little bit easier to potential buyers, since the car will be in good running condition, have a few years left in the tank, and won’t cost the buyer more money down the line. 


Selling Location


If you are in a convenient space where numerous people can come and visit your vehicle, or you live in a city where there is constant foot traffic bad in an easy-to-get-to location, then you might have a greater chance at selling an unregistered car. If you are in the middle-of-nowhere, selling an unregistered car is going to be a tougher sell.


Process of Selling An Unregistered Car: Guidelines


Now that you have decided whether or not you want to sell your unregistered car, you should follow specific guidelines for your certain state. If you do not have the title of the car, you have a few options to proceed. If you don’t want to sell the car to an individual since your car needs to be towed, reliable cash-for-car businesses can pick up your dead car for free.


Different States


In some states, you can just get a copy title and then a transfer of ownership. The title is a legal document that shows ownership of the vehicle. When you buy a vehicle, your name will appear on the title as the owner. If you’re financing a vehicle, the lender is listed as the secured party until you pay off the vehicle. If you have lost your title, you can still sell your vehicle to a cash-for-cars spot for some extra money. 


If you obtain the copy title and transfer of ownership, this process will happen at the same time, so you don’t need to separately apply for a duplicate. This helps the selling of an unregistered car process since the seller, you, won’t have to wait a long time for the paperwork to be completed. Although not every state uses this scheme, this can really help keep the process quick. Be sure to follow your state’s laws to see the specific copy title and transfer of ownership process in your state. 


Loans and Liens


If another person or party has a claim on the car title that you are trying to sell, you cannot sell the unregistered car until the lien holder allows you to. This will then have to be transferred to the new buyer, and filed when the copy of the tile and transfer papers are submitted. The lienholder must sign a letter that releases the car – so hopefully you are in good standings with the lienholder of your car. 


Out-of-State Sale


For a vehicle to be purchased from a person outside of the state that your car is in, you will need to get a copy of the title before selling an unregistered car. If you sell the car without registration documents, this can only take place within the specific state. If you find a buyer from a different state, no matter how close, then you will have to meet that state’s legal obligations.


However, check with your local DMV about your state’s laws. In a few states, it is not illegal to sell a car without the title, so you should see if you just need a previous bill of sale or receipt. 




One crucial part in this process is to make sure that you are legally following the steps and guidelines set forth by the DMV and specific state that you currently live in. if you don’t know your rights, be sure to call or visit the Department of Motor Vehicles in person to ensure you are following the law. 


Buying An Unregistered Car


If you are on the buying end of the spectrum in terms of this transaction, there are a few steps you should follow to make sure you get a fair deal.


First, be sure to check the car for any issues. Make sure that there are no mechanical issues, it would pass roadworthy tests, and see if it needs any immediate mechanical work.


Second, check the online information and make sure it is actually owned by the person who is selling it to you. When the person is selling an unregistered car, they should be able to provide the title and lien holder's signature if needed.


Third, be sure that the seller can provide all of the necessary paperwork that goes along with the vehicle. Check for the title, transfer of ownership, and the lien holder’s letter if necessary. If the seller pro fails to provide any of this information while carrying out the selling of an unregistered car, then you shouldn’t purchase the vehicle.


What If My Junk Car Is Unregistered And I Can’t Sell It?


If you find that your car is not running properly, requires extreme maintenance, and isn’t registered, then selling an unregistered ar can become difficult. In this case, your best bet will be to potentially sell some of the non-metal components from your vehicle, like the audio and electrical parts, and then bring your car to a reputable location that can provide you with a quote.


Bring your vehicle to CashCarsBuyer for a fair quote, exceptional customer service, and some quick cash for your unregistered car. Selling an unregistered car has never been so easy!


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