How to Fill Out a Pink Slip When Buying or Selling a Car
How to Sell a Car in California
If you're like most people, the last thing you probably want to do when you're ready to sell your car is wade through miles of red tape. While the paperwork and bureaucracy surrounding car sales can be intimidating, with proper preparation, the process doesn't need to be a headache. Learn your way around the documentation required in California so you can get to what really matters — selling your car.
Gathering What You Need
Get the official DMV transfer forms.When a car changes ownership in California (whether by being sold or by being inherited, given as a gift, etc.), the DMV considers this a "transfer." The DMV uses certain forms to document transfers. You'll need official copies of the following forms to legally complete the sale:
- California Application for Duplicate Title Form REG 227. You can download and print this form online .If you have your original title, you can just just use that; you don't need a duplicate title form.
- Vehicle/Vessel Transfer and Reassignment Form REG 262. This form isn't available online because it is printed on special security paper. To get it, you need to call the DMV at1-800-777-0133and request to have a copy mailed to you.If you do not need to disclose the odometer reading (car older than 10 years), you may download and print a Bill of Sale REG 135 (PDF) form or a Power of Attorney REG 260 (PDF) form.
Be prepared to provide smog certification if if your car isn't exempt.Selling many cars requires up-to-date certification from a STAR smog test station. You can search for STAR stations near you .Smog certifications are valid for 90 days — you must complete the sale within this time or get re-tested. Note, however, that many carsdo notneed smog certification when sold. Cars thatdo notneed to be tested include:
- "Hybrid" cars
- Cars that run on diesel
- Cars that run on electricity
- Cars that run on natural gas
- Cars less than four years old
- Cars made before 1975
Be prepared to have your car inspected.The vast majority of consumer guides recommend buyers to have the car they plan to purchase inspected by a licensed technician before exchanging any money for it.It is typically the buyer's responsibility to pay for the inspection or perform it personally. However, it's still your car at this point, so you may need to work out an arrangement to accommodate the buyer's request.Consider getting a mobile inspection service to inspect the car on your property if you don't want to go to the trouble of taking it to a mechanic.
- Be sure to keep all documentation from the inspection — especially if the mechanic finds an issue that may be cause for concern.
Be prepared to pay a few minor fees.Depending on the specifics of your situation, the fees you and the buyer may need to pay can vary. The fees you owe are determined when the transfer application is submitted to the DMV. These may include, but are not limited to:
- Transfer fee ( plus tax). This is paid by thebuyer.
- Use tax (depends on the county and city) This is paid by thebuyer.
- Duplicate title fee
Obtain miscellaneous forms under certain special circumstances.For most car sales, the forms above will be sufficient. However, some situations call for extra documentation. See below:
- If you are selling a commercial vehicle, you may needDeclaration of Gross Vehicle Weight/Combined Gross Vehicle Weight Form Form REG 4008(available .
- If you are selling to a family member, you needStatement of Facts Form REG 256(available ).
- If your car is under a lien, you will need the lienholder's release notarized. Note also that there are sections on the transfer forms above for the lienholder to sign.
- If your name is misspelled or printed in error on your car title, you will needStatement of Error or Erasure REG 101(available ).
- If your car is missing a license plate, registration stickers, or other important documentation, you will needApplication for Replacement Plates, Stickers, Documents Form REG 156(available ).
Making the Sale
Fill out all required forms.Download the and print the forms in the section above that you need. Call the DMV to request Form REG 262, making sure to allow enough time for it to arrive in the mail.
- If your car is under a lien, this is a good time to get the lienholder's release (as well as his or her signature on the transfer forms).
Review and sign the forms with the buyer.This is your chance to clarify any misunderstandings and work out any differences of opinion. The most important thing to review and agree on is the price of the sale (documented on REG 227), but it's a good idea to go over all of the documents together to ensure total agreement.
- In addition to completing the forms together, you will also need to sign your car's title to confirm that you release ownership of it.
Don't forget to disclose the odometer reading.Because the number of miles a car has traveled can affect its monetary value, this information is critical. Be sure to record the odometer readingon REG 262 and the titleand make sure the buyer sees and understands the reading. Falsifying this information, failing to disclose it, or tampering with the odometer is a crime. However,you don't need to do this if thevehicle is 10 years old or more.
Submit all forms to the DMV.When you and your buyer have reviewed all of the paperwork, give it to an associate at the DMV. Your transfer request will be registered and logged in the official records.
Report the transfer to the DMV.As the seller, you havefive daysto report the transfer. Luckily, you can do this online , or at the DMV when you submit your paperwork.You will need the car's license plate number, the last five digits of the VIN, and the new owner's name and address.
- The buyer must also report the transfer of the car. However, s/he has 10 days.
QuestionWhat are the rules for letting them test drive?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerI don't know about what the law says (if anything), but generally, I ask them for their keys and driver's license before allowing a test drive.Thanks!
QuestionHow is the tax paid if I sell my car to an individual?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerThe bank or DMV will calculate taxes due when the buyer pays for the car's registration. You do not need to worry about the taxes as the seller.Thanks!
QuestionDo I give the registration to the new owner or keep it?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYou give it to the new owner.Thanks!
QuestionWho pays for the smog test: the seller or the buyer?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerThe general rule of thumb is the seller gets the smog test done prior to selling the car. The document is good for 90 days in California.Thanks!
QuestionDo the plates stay with the car?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerMost vehicles have sequentially issued "standard" license plates that remain with the vehicle when ownership is transferred. If the vehicle has a special interest or personalized license plate, these plates belong to the plate owner, not the vehicle.Thanks!
Where do you send the information to DMV related to a sale?
My registration was just expired. If I sell my car now, should I pay the registration fee for the coming year or it's just sell to the buyer?
How do I sell a financed car?
Where does the seller sign?
Do we have to submit paperwork to the DMV in person?
To sell a car in California, start by contacting the DMV to request a vehicle transfer form, which they will send you through the mail. If you don’t have a title for your car, also request a duplicate title request form. Then, take your car to be smog tested, since you will need an up-to-date certification to sell it. Next, fill in the forms with the buyer and sign them before submitting the forms to the DMV.
- If you didn't meet at the DMV, you can submit your paperwork by mail. However, if you do this, you need to make sure that all the forms are filled out correctly, as errors can delay the transfer of ownership. Send forms (with proper postage) toDMV, P.O. Box 942869, Sacramento, CA 94269-000.
- Notifying the DMV of your transfer within the required five days is very important. If you don't, you may be legally responsible for the car even when it is, for all intents and purposes, the other person's.
Video: California Certificate of Title Transfer - Seller Instructions
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