This is the fourth and final installment of a 4-part series about my recent experience in selling my used car. The other posts in the series are:
- Selling a Used Car, Part 1: Preparation
- Selling a Used Car, Part 2: Placing an Ad
- Selling a Used Car, Part 3: Test Drive and Negotiation
I now have a willing buyer and we agreed to a price. I still have to take care of several items in order to protect myself in the sale.
How do I make sure I’m not liable for problems developed days or months after the sale? I need a legal contract that says clearly the car is sold AS IS. I used the free Vehicle Bill of Sale form from cars.com. Your state DMV may also have an official form. Check out links on DMV.org.
How do I make sure the money I receive from the buyer is real? The cash or cashier’s check the buyer brings over could be fake. I got the tip from my co-worker — don’t take anything from the buyer. Go to a bank together with the buyer and have the buyer buy a cashier’s check or money order there. Only take the cashier’s check or money order on the spot directly from the cashier’s hand.
How do I make sure the buyer registers the car in their name and removes me from liability? If the buyer uses the car in a bank robbery, I don’t want the car traced back to me. On the back of the title, there are fields for transferring to the title to the new owner. I insisted that the buyer filled those out first. I matched the name and address to her driver’s license before I signed over the title. I took pictures of the front and back as proof for the ownership transfer. I then filed the DMV’s liability release form online immediately after I got home.
All done. I have a legal contract, a good check directly from a bank employee, and complete paperwork in good order. I handed over the keys and she drove the car away.
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