In most cases, your state will require a sales contract when selling your used car. The contract ensures that you and the buyer agree on all terms of the sale, eliminating any potential disagreements should any unexpected mechanical surprises occur down the road.
Elements of an Auto Sales Contract
Car sales contracts vary by state, but in general most contracts will need the following:
- Open the contract with information about you, the seller. This should include your name and address.
- Add details about the car. Include the car's make, model, color, body style, year, and vehicle identification number (VIN).
- Add the buyer's name and address.
- Include the vehicle's sales price.
- Most used car sales between private parties do not include a warranty. This is commonly referred to as an "as is" purchase, meaning the buyer is purchasing the car "as is." You should spell this out by stating, "The car is sold as is."
- You and the buyer must sign and date the contract. Depending on your state the car sales contract may need to be notarized. If required, hold off on signing the contract until in front of a notary.
- Make two copies and give one to the buyer.
During the sale, it's wise to also use a bill of sale. If you've presented the buyer with a vehicle history report, also keep a copy of this with your paperwork. Contact your Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) for contract specifics. In some cases you may have to add or delete some of the above information. Or, at the very least, alter the order.