Paperwork Needed to Sell a Vehicle

Selling a car is not as simple as just exchanging car keys for cash between the seller and the buyer. For trust and transparency, the buyer will demand for the paperwork as proof of ownership of the vehicle. what paperwork do you need to get the transaction going?


Title transfer

If you’re looking to sell your vehicle in North Carolina, the ownership must be transferred to the buyer through North Carolina Division of Motor vehicles (DVM). To do this, an original certificate of the title with all the information completely filled will be required.

This information includes;

  • Buyer’s name and address
  • Date of Sale
  • Seller’s signature and printed name
  • Notarization
  • Odometer reading
  • Damage disclosure statements

This information requires both you and the buyer to fill the forms correctly since wrongly filled information might call for extra costs to both sides. Also, your presence is necessary so you can witness every process. The buyer can fail to change ownership if not followed up probably to avoid paying taxes or any other cheeky motives in the future. The signed and notarized title is handed over to the buyer together with disclosure forms.

In the event that the original title is missing, you will need to apply a duplicate certificate. It will take around 15 days for your application to be processed. This application requires to pay a $20 fee and the applications are submitted to any local NC DMV office.


Lien removal

If you still haven’t cleared your car loan, there is a lien probably attached to the vehicle title. The best way to avoid complications in transferring ownership is paying off the loans first then selling the car. After the payoff, you need to apply for lien removal. To apply, fill out the lien release form (MVR-8) and submit the application to any NC DMV office.

Odometer Disclosure Statement

An accurate Odometer reading(MVR-180) should be submitted when selling your car. It should be signed by both parties if the car is less than 10 years old. Failure to submit this or inaccurately stated odometer reading may lead to heavy fines by the relevant agencies


Bill of Sale

For private party purchases, officials in North Carolina DMV strongly encourage keeping one for your records although it is not mandatory. It includes information about the purchase such as; sale price, name, and address of the buyer, date of sale and the payment method. This is meant for your own good in case it is required in the future.


It is important to provide as much information to the buyer to enable them to trust you. Without that trust, it is difficult for them or for anyone to go on with the transaction. If possible provide the buyer with all the documents including maintenance receipts. It is highly recommended that you gather all the paperwork needed to finalize the sale the moment you decide you’re selling the car. Otherwise, you may find yourself scrambling for important documents when it’s too late.