Selling A Car In Florida (2024 Tips)
As a former licensed car dealer in the Sunshine State, I understand the intricacies of selling a car in Florida.
Whether you’re a seasoned seller like me or a first-timer, this guide will provide you with everything you need to know about how to sell a car privately in Florida.
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Table of Contents
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.
The Best Way To Sell A Car (In Florida)
There are a few methods I can safely rate as the best ways to sell a car in Florida, so let’s dive in:
Carmax (Sell my Car Service):
Typically, I don’t advise people to sell their car to a dealer because they’re not going to get anywhere near the actual retail value. But when it comes to the Carmax Trade in Value and the prices I have seen them offer people for all out purchases of used cars, it’s absolutely with a visit to get a quote.
Important to remember: I say this a lot, but it rings true for the Carmax Sell My Car service. There are certain cars that are in high demand, such as minivans or work trucks. Carmax can pay close to retail on certain models and years because they know they can still turn a great profit. However, if you’re selling something like a Honda Civic, you’re likely not going to get nearly as good of a deal.
Tip: While you’re getting your Carmax offer, visit a couple of other well-known auto buyers like Auto Buy or We Buy Any Car and get competing offers. More than not, you can use a higher offer to get one of the other dealers to beat it.
Bonus: When you trade in or sell to a dealer you are saving all sorts of time and hassle not dealing with the general public, so although you might get less money in the end, if your time is valuable, it just might be worth it.
I have discussed the Facebook Marketplace for cars before, and its still effective.
As the platform has grown, it has become a much safer replacement to craigslist as a local peer to peer method of selling a car, and that’s due to the fact that because people need a facebook profile to sell, you can easily see if the seller opened their account last week or 10 years ago, and that certainly ads a layer of trust.
Websites like Edmunds, Autotrader, Cars.com, and the newest addition, PrivateAuto offer your standard platforms where you can list your car for sale. These sites allow you to reach a wide audience of potential buyers, especially when you post a listing on each of these sites.
However, most car listing services come at a cost, and you may need to spend time communicating with potential buyers, arranging test drives, and handling paperwork.
Next, gather all the necessary paperwork. The primary document you’ll need is the car title.
How To Determine The Value Of Your Car
Most online guides will tell you that the best wat to figure out how much your car is worth is buy looking up Kelley Blue Book values or using some online tool that’s essentially designed just to get you into a dealership.
I’m going to tell you the steps I took to determine the value of a car as a professional car dealer:
- Look up recent dealer purchases: As a dealer you get access to auction data on what dealers are paying for cars recently, typically going back anywhere from 1-3 months. Obviously, this is the best method for determining the value of a car, because you get to see what industry professionals are willing to spend actual money on, just some estimate from a tool. (See how you can use this method as well).
- Online Platforms: Visit websites where dealers and private sellers are listing their cars and get an idea of what people are asking. Be sure to factor in mileage, condition, and if a vehicle has a clean carfax or remaining warranties. These are the factors that will affect the price the most that you can easily identify.
- Car Buying Agencies: Visit dealerships that offer car-buying services and have them inspect your car and make an offer. Get two to three of these, any more really isn’t necessary. Remember: These offers are almost always wholesale prices, so if you are looking to sell your car at retail, you will have to add some money on to these offers to get your final value.
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.
Steps For Selling a Car in Florida with an E-Title (Title Transfer)
To sell your car in Florida you no longer need an official paper copy to transfer a title. Below are the steps you can take to sell your vehicle with an Electronic title (In Florida) without having to order a paper title:
- Before the Sale:
- If you’ve bought a new vehicle and transferred the license plate from the car you’re selling, you must get a “demonstration only” temporary tag for potential buyers to test drive the vehicle. You’ll need proof of insurance for this.
- For a sale to be legal in Florida, you must transfer the title to the buyer. If you have an electronic title:
- Both the seller and buyer must visit a motor vehicle service center.
- Complete a secure title reassignment (using forms HSMV 82994 or 82092).
- Disclose the odometer reading.
- Both parties (buyer and seller) must be present and provide photo identification.
- Completing the Sale:
- It’s recommended to complete the sale transaction in a motor vehicle service center. This ensures the title is properly transferred, protecting both the seller and buyer.
- As the seller, complete the “Transfer of Title by Seller” section on the title certificate. This includes details of the buyer, odometer information, selling price, and date of sale.
- The buyer must then complete an “Application for Certificate of Title with/without Registration” form, attach it to the title, and submit it to a motor vehicle service center to transfer the title into their name. This should be done within 30 days to avoid any late fees.
- Recording the Mileage:
- The odometer reading at the time of purchase is required on the title application. Both the buyer and seller must acknowledge this on title transactions.
- Protect Yourself:
- File Form HSMV 82050. This form removes your registration from the vehicle, ensuring you’re no longer liable for it after the sale. It’s crucial as it becomes the buyer’s responsibility to apply for the title and registration. If they fail to do so and you haven’t filed this form, you could be held liable for actions associated with the vehicle even if you no longer own it.
- After the Sale:
- Remove the license plate from the sold vehicle. This plate stays with you, not the vehicle. You can transfer it to a new or replacement vehicle. If you’re moving out of state or canceling the insurance on the vehicle associated with the plate, you must surrender the plate to a motor vehicle service center.
How To Order a Paper Copy of Your E-Title
There might be a few reasons why you still need a paper title in order to sell your car or transfer ownership. Here are just a few I can think of off the top of my head:
- Out-of-State Transactions
- International Transactions
- Lending Institutions
- Private Sales
- Gift or Inheritance
- Peace of Mind
- Lost or Unavailable Electronic Records
- Lien Release
If you fall into any of these categories or are simply just a fan of tradition, here is how you can obtain a paper copy of your E-Title to sell a car in Florida:
- Check Your Title Status:
- First, ensure that all liens (debts) on your vehicle have been satisfied. If they have, you can convert your electronic title into a paper format.
- Choose a Method to Convert Electronic Title to Paper:
- Visit the MyDMV Portal on the FLHSMV website.
- Request the electronic title to be converted to paper.
- Pay a fee of $4.50.
- The paper title will be mailed to your address on record. It usually arrives in 3-4 weeks.
- Note: You can’t print the title at home or pick it up from a Florida county tax collector’s office after completing the online process.
- By Mail:
- Send the following to your local Florida county tax collector’s office:
- Photocopy of a valid picture ID.
- Written request to print the electronic title.
- Payment of $2.50 for the title printing.
- The paper title will be mailed to you and typically takes 3-4 weeks to arrive.
- Send the following to your local Florida county tax collector’s office:
- In-Person (Fast Title):
- If you’re in a hurry, visit a Florida county tax collector’s office or service center.
- Request a “fast title” which is printed and given to you the same day.
- There’s an additional fee of $10 for this expedited service.
- Selling Your Car:
- Once you have the paper title, you can use it to transfer ownership to the buyer.
- FLHSMV recommends conducting the sale and transfer in a Florida county tax collector’s office or motor vehicle service center. This ensures your name is removed from the vehicle ownership record.
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 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.