What paperwork is required to sell a car?

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What paperwork is required to sell a car?
Sell Salvaged Vehicle
Doug Whiffin
Doug Whiffin
National Automotive Buyer and Second-In-Command Manager
July 20, 2023
minute read

Selling a car can be a daunting process, especially when it comes to the paperwork involved. From obtaining a title transfer to ensuring all necessary documentation is in order, many legal requirements must be met before a vehicle can be sold. Whether you're a seasoned or first-time car seller, it's essential to clearly understand the paperwork required before making the transaction. 

In this blog, the team at 1800 Salvage will outline the various documents and forms you'll need to complete the sale of your car and provide helpful tips to ensure a smooth and hassle-free transaction.

Understanding the importance of correct documentation

Proper documentation is crucial when selling a car, as it protects both the seller and the buyer from any legal or financial issues that may arise in the future. Not only this, but it also helps to streamline the selling process. Having all the necessary paperwork for selling a car allows the transfer to be completed quickly and efficiently without any unnecessary delays or complications.

Benefits of obtaining the correct paperwork to sell a car

  • Ensures the sale is legal and legitimate
  • Provides both parties with a sense of security 
  • Protects the seller from any future liabilities or legal issues
  • Buyer can register the car and obtain insurance
  • Avoids any unnecessary delays 

What paperwork is needed? Essential documents for selling your car 

Registration and proof of ownership

A registration certificate is a legal document that proves ownership of a vehicle and is issued by the relevant government agency in charge of motor vehicles in your state. 

It's the most crucial document required to sell a car and must be signed over to the new owner. The vehicle title contains essential information about the car, including the make, model, and year. It's crucial to ensure that the information on the vehicle title matches the information on the car. If there are any discrepancies, it can cause delays and problems during the sale process.

Transfer of ownership form

When selling a car, a transfer of ownership form is a legal document that transfers the ownership of the vehicle from the seller to the buyer. While you can now complete the transfer online, you may still want a physical copy for your own records. This form is also known as a vehicle transfer form. It is a vital document that proves the transfer of ownership of the vehicle from one party to another.

The transfer of ownership form typically includes the following:

  • The name and address of both the seller and buyer
  • The make and model of the vehicle 
  • The vehicle identification number (VIN) 
  • The odometer reading 
  • The date of sale 
  • The selling price  

Once both parties complete and sign the transfer of ownership form, it must be submitted to the relevant state vehicle department to officially transfer ownership of the vehicle.

Roadworthy certificate

If you sell a registered vehicle, you must obtain a roadworthy certificate in most Australian states. However, this may differ if you are selling a vehicle privately. For example, in Victoria, the VicRoads guidelines on roadworthiness state you can sell a car privately without a roadworthy certificate as long as the number plates are returned before the sale.

On the contrary, a roadworthy certificate is required if you are selling a registered vehicle. It assures potential buyers that the vehicle is safe to drive and complies with relevant safety standards. The certificate typically covers brakes, suspension, steering, tires, lights, and seatbelts.

Read our recent article for more information on selling your car without a roadworthy safety certificate

Issue a receipt

A receipt when selling a car is a written or electronic document that provides proof of payment for the vehicle. It serves as a record of the transaction between the buyer and the seller, and includes details about the vehicle being sold, the sale price, and the terms of the sale.

The receipt is an important document for both the buyer and the seller, as it can be used to resolve any disputes that may arise after the sale. The buyer should keep the receipt as proof of ownership and payment, while the seller should keep a copy for their own records.

It is recommended that both the buyer and the seller sign the receipt and that both parties retain a copy of the document. In Victoria, you can issue a receipt through VicRoads. 

Necessary maintenance documentation 

In Australia, providing maintenance documentation when selling a car is not a legal requirement. However, it can increase the value of the vehicle and help to establish the car's service history.

If the seller has a record of regular maintenance and servicing, it can provide reassurance to potential buyers that the car has been well looked after and is less likely to have hidden issues. Maintenance records can include receipts for work done, service manuals, logbooks, and other documents that show the car's maintenance history.

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