How to Sell a Car With a Contract

Written by david carnes
  • Share
  • Tweet
  • Share
  • Email

If you wish to sell your car as a private party (rather than as a dealer), the buyer will most likely insist that a written sales agreement be drawn up. Furthermore, the laws of many states not only require a written sales agreement, but require the inclusion of certain content (an odometer reading, for example). Requirements for auto sales contracts vary slightly form state to state.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Sample auto sales contract (see Resources)

Show MoreHide


  1. 1

    Identify the buyer and seller by name and social security number and insert these into a statement that the seller wishes to sell and the buyer wishes to purchase the vehicle, identified by make, model, colour, year and vehicle identification number (VIN).

  2. 2

    Add the sales price for the vehicle and the method and date of payment.

  3. 3

    Add the vehicle's odometer reading and the date that the reading was taken. The reading should be taken on the date that the contract is signed, in the presence of the buyer. Include a statement that the odometer has not been altered and that the reading is accurate to the best of the seller's knowledge (the laws of some states may require additional statements).

  4. 4

    Include the seller's warranty showing he has a good title to the vehicle and that there are no liens on it. If there are any liens on the vehicle, permission of the lien holder must be secured before the car is sold, and the contract must list them.

  5. 5

    List any warranties made by the seller as to the quality of the vehicle. Private sellers usually do not offer extensive warranties, and sometimes sell on an "as is" basis. If the car is being sold as is, this should be noted.

  6. 6

    Insert a guarantee that the seller will transfer title to the vehicle on a particular date, and include the date on which the physical transfer of the vehicle (the transfer of the keys) is to take place.

  7. 7

    Create a signature section with the names and contact details of the buyer and seller listed below the corresponding signature lines. Sign the contract, and have the buyer sign it.

  8. 8

    Transfer title to the vehicle at the appropriate state office. There is no need to provide state representatives with a copy of the contract.

Tips and warnings

  • It is best to prepare two identical versions of the contract, have buyer and seller sign both copies, and distribute one copy to each (as opposed to preparing one contract and copying it). In this way, both buyer and seller will have contracts with original signatures.
  • Intentional failure to provide an accurate odometer reading can subject you to liability for fraud.

Don't Miss

  • All types
  • Articles
  • Slideshows
  • Videos
  • Most relevant
  • Most popular
  • Most recent

No articles available

No slideshows available

No videos available

By using the site, you consent to the use of cookies. For more information, please see our Cookie policy.