How To Sell A Car In Florida

Dustin Hawley | Mar 04, 2021

Each year, thousands of vehicles are sold in the state of Florida. If you happen to be in a position where you are looking to sell your car, you’ll need the processes and procedures that apply to the state. Most importantly, you’ll need to understand how to file a Notice of Sale properly.

how to sell a car in Florida

In an ideal scenario, a vehicle sale is a win-win scenario for both parties. But in order for things to go smoothly, you need to follow the right procedures and know your rights and responsibilities. Here’s what you need to know about selling a vehicle in Florida.

Pay Off Your Lien To Keep Your Title Clean

Before you sell your vehicle, you’ll need to have a clean title with no lien. This is likely not a concern if you already own your car outright. However, if you still owe money on your vehicle, this will need to be resolved before completing a transaction. 

If you’re selling or trading your vehicle in at a dealership, you don’t typically have to worry about your lienholder. As long as the dealer is paying you more than you still owe on the car, the money will simply be deducted from whatever they pay you. Dealerships are able to do this because Florida gives them up to ten days to pay off a lien after taking ownership of the vehicle.

On the other hand, private buyers receive no such grace period. The lien must be paid off in full before they can take possession. Once the bank has received full payment, they will report the payment to the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicle Department, at which point you’ll be issued a new title with no lien.

If you’ve lost your original title, you’ll need to have it replaced, even if your car loan has been paid off. To do this, you’ll need to submit HSMV form 82101 along with a small fee. If you need to get your title quickly, some counties will allow you to pay an additional “fast title” fee that usually only takes a few days to process and receive.

Obtain A VIN Inspection

If your vehicle was originally titled out of state, you would need to fill out a VIN and odometer verification form (Form 82042). This can be filled out by an HSMV examiner, a car dealer, a notary public, or any law enforcement officer.

Apply For A Temporary Tag

If you still have tags on the vehicle, you can overlook this step. If not, you’ll need temporary license plates so prospective buyers can legally test drive the car. A temporary tag is cheap and easy to obtain, but you’ll still need to provide proof of insurance to get one from the DMV.

Transfer The Title

Once you have found a buyer, you’ll need to transfer the title into the purchaser’s name. The easiest way to do this is at an HSMV office since you’ll have all the forms readily available. On the other hand, there’s no reason you can’t finalize the sale at your home or place of business.

To transfer a paper title, the seller must fill out the section labeled “Transfer of Title by Seller.” Remember, this is a legal document. Make sure to print legibly and use your full legal name.

There’s one scenario in which you must be present at an HSMV office to sell a car: if the title is electronic rather than physical. In that case, you’ll need to fill out either Form 82994 or 82092 to have the title reassigned in paper format. Both you and the buyer will need to be present and must present photo identification.

Once the paper title has been filled out, the buyer will need to obtain a copy in their name. To do this, they’ll need to provide a copy of Form 82040 to HSMV, which should be filled out at the time of sale since the form will require both signatures. The title transfer must be delivered to a motor vehicle office within thirty days, or the buyer will have to pay a late fee.

Complete The Notice Of Sale

It may be a harsh reality, but you can still be held responsible for traffic infractions in your old vehicle even after all this has been done.

To avoid this, you’ll need to file a Notice of Sale with HSMV. This serves as a legal instrument that proves to the state that a sale has been finalized. 

Start by filling out Form 82050, and submit it to your local motor vehicle office within thirty days of completing the sale. Since you and the buyer will both need to sign the form, both parties should fill it out at the time of purchase. Both you and the buyer should also keep a copy for your records.

Remove The Plates

In Florida, license plates remain with their current owner, and they do not transfer with the vehicle’s sale. You’ll need to remove them before the buyer takes possession, so you can then transfer the plates to another car when you purchase a new one. In a situation where you will be moving out of state or no longer carrying car insurance, you’ll need to return the plates within 30 days.

Advertise Legally

Florida is unique in a sense, as it is a state with two laws you should be aware of before making your sale. 

  • It is illegal to park a vehicle for sale on public or private property without the property owner’s permission. If you want to park your car out with a “For Sale” sign, you’ll have to do it in your driveway or somewhere on your own property.
  • Florida law requires motor vehicle dealers to be licensed by the state. Furthermore, any person or entity who conducts three or more sales within a 12-month period is presumed to be acting as a dealer. For all practical purposes, non-dealers can only sell two cars in any given 12-month period.

Selling A Junk Car In Florida

If you’re looking to get rid of a junk car, or perhaps your vehicle has been totaled, and you’re selling it for scrap, you can expect to get far less money than you would receive for a functional car. You’ll receive the raw material’s market value based on the vehicle’s weight in most cases. Instead of thousands of dollars, a junk car may only be worth hundreds.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t still find a fair deal. One of the best ways to make sure you’re getting the best possible deal is to call a handful of scrap yards and collect a few offers.

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