how to sell a car in florida

As a former private car dealer, I understand the intricacies of selling a car in Florida. Whether you’re a seasoned seller or a first-timer, this guide will provide you with everything you need to know about how to sell a car privately in Florida.

Preparing to Sell Your Car in Florida

Before you list your car online or place a ‘for sale sign on the windshield, there are a few things you need to do. First, ensure your car is in good condition. Potential buyers will likely want to test drive your vehicle, so it’s essential to make sure it’s safe and roadworthy.

Next, gather all the necessary paperwork. The primary document you’ll need is the car title. 

What Paperwork Do I Need to Sell a Car Privately in Florida?

The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) requires several documents for a private car sale. These include:

  • Car Title: The car title is the certificate of ownership. Make sure it is in your name and free of any liens.
  • Bill of Sale: A bill of sale is a legal document that records the transaction between the buyer and the seller.
  • Existing Lien Information: If there are any existing liens on the car, you need to provide the necessary information.
  • Odometer Reading: The vehicle’s odometer reading should be accurately reported.

Finding a Bill of Sale in Florida

You can find a bill of sale form on the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles website. Both the buyer and seller must sign this document, and it’s a good idea to make copies for both parties.

The bill of sale should include the following:

  • The selling price.
  • Odometer reading.
  • And the buyer and seller’s information.

What To Do If The Car Has a Loan

If there’s an existing lien or loan on the car, you’ll need to satisfy the lien before you can legally sell the vehicle. Once the lien is satisfied, the lienholder will complete a lien satisfaction form and send it to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. 

Once the state has processed the release, you will be able to request a title.  The initial title will come by Mail in 7-10 days, and on this initial title, you cannot get it printed the same day locally.  You must wait for this title by mail.

Selling a Car with an E-Title in Florida

If you have a Florida E-title, you’re probably wondering how to sell your car. The process is straightforward. You need to visit a motor vehicle service center and request a paper title. There may be a small fee for this service. Once you have the paper title, you can proceed with the sale as usual.

Selling a Car to Someone Out of State

If you’re selling a car in Florida to someone out of state, the process remains largely the same. The key difference is that the buyer will need to register the vehicle in their home state after the sale. As the seller, you should still complete a Notice of Sale, which removes your liability for the vehicle after the sale.

Handling License Plates When Selling a Car in Florida

Florida law requires the seller to remove the license plate from the vehicle immediately after the sale. You are permitted to transfer the tag to a new vehicle, but if you do not, you MUST return it to the DMV because in Florida,

Selling A Junk Car In Florida

Selling A Junk Car In Florida
selling a junk car in Florida

Selling a junk car in Florida is different from selling a used operational car, but it can still be a straightforward process. Here are some essential steps to follow:

  • Determine the value of your junk car by checking with local scrap yards and recycling centers.
  • Expect to receive a few hundred dollars for your junk car based on its weight.
  • Contact scrap yards near you to find out which ones offer the best prices for your vehicle.
  • Some scrapyards may provide free towing if the car is within a certain distance, while others may charge an extra fee.
  • Make sure you have all the necessary paperwork, including the title and registration documents, before selling your vehicle.
  • If there are any outstanding liens or unpaid fines, settle them beforehand as they can impact the sale process and value.
  • Remove any personal belongings from the junk car before handing it over to avoid losing them permanently.
  • Lastly, cancel your insurance policy and complete all necessary forms to transfer ownership of the vehicle, indicating that you no longer own it.


  • Who pays sales tax when selling a car privately in Florida?

    In Florida, the buyer pays the sales tax when selling a car.

  • Can I Sell a Car For $1 in Florida?

    Yes, in Florida you can sell your car for just one dollar if you’d like, BUT if you are only claiming you are selling a car for a dollar so someone can avoid sales tax, that is a felony. When you legitimately sell any vehicle well below its book value, be sure to document the transaction with a Bill of Sale that both parties sign. It wouldn’t hurt to write on the Bill of Sale the reason for such a low amount.

  • Can you gift a car in the State of Florida?

    Yes, in the State of Florida, you are allowed to gift a car to someone, and they will not be responsible for paying the sales tax, although they could still be responsible for paying federal income tax, so consult a licensed CPA. The exception is a vehicle coming from out of state, because you would still be responsible for a use tax.

You might also be interested in reading:



Steve is a former licensed car dealer located in the State of Florida.  He has many years of experience buying, selling, and working on cars mechanically and started Autohitch to help buyers and Sellers navigate the complex lands of Car Buying.