How to Sell a Car in Delaware

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The steps and process for selling a vehicle online are different in every state. Learn how to sell your used car or truck privately in Delaware.

Whether you live in New Castle county, Kent county, or Sussex county of Delaware, if you are thinking about privately selling your used car or truck, you’ve come to the right place. With an estimated half-million registered trucks and cars in the state of Delaware, it’s no wonder that thousands of private vehicle sellers from The First State have used Autotrader to sell their car. Below, we’ve outlined the four steps and forms required for how to sell a car in the state of Delaware so you can sell your car quickly for the most cash.

Remember, most states consider the vehicle title a legal document, so the legal names (no nicknames) of both parties involved should be used, along with legible handwriting using black or blue ink. Mistakes, errors, and using White-Out may void the document so be careful and take your time filling it out.

Step 1: Allow the buyer to have the car inspected by a third party
Step 2: Organize and gather all related vehicle documentation
Step 3: Transfer the title
Step 4: Remove your plates and cancel your insurance

Step 1: Allow the buyer to have the car inspected by a third party

Many vehicle shoppers who buy a car privately pay for a pre-purchase vehicle inspection conducted by a qualified and licensed auto mechanic of their choosing. Although the buyer pays for this inspection, the seller and buyer must agree on when and where the inspection is to be held. If the inspection does find any issues with the car, it is a good idea for you as the seller to keep the report for your records. As the buyer, you can use this info to decide if you still want the car of maybe negotiate repairs with the current owner. Delaware does not require this inspection and doesn’t have any forms that need to be filled out, but it’s a good idea for the buyer to have the inspection performed prior to the purchase.

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Step 2: Organize and gather all related vehicle documentation

Find all maintenance records, the owner’s manual and other paperwork related to the vehicle. If you can provide the buyer with extensive and detailed maintenance records, this will help provide the buyer with confidence that you’ve maintained the car in a proper and regular manner. If you’ve taken your car to a dealership for service, there may be an electronic record of repairs and maintenance. You may even want to consider including a vehicle history report from a service like CarFax or AutoCheck.

The most important document when selling a car is the certificate of title. If there is a lien on the title, the lienholder must release interest in the vehicle before the car is sold. This can be achieved either by the seller paying off the car or by the lienholder providing a letter of lien release. If you can’t pay off the car, then a lien release statement from your lienholder must be submitted to the DMV. On section 3 on the back of the Delaware title, you can fill out the name and address of the lienholder, if applicable.

Some states require a bill of sale for a private vehicle transaction, but Delaware is not one of them. While a bill of sale isn’t required, it’s always a good idea to have one. You can find a template for a bill of sale from services like LegalZoom to make it quick and easy.

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Step 3: Transfer the title

If the vehicle’s title has been lost, stolen or badly damaged, you can get a replacement or duplicate Delaware title by filling out Form MV213. All owners will need to sign and provide a copy of their driver’s license. With that form filled out plus a $50 fee you can get a duplicate title by mailing your form and fee to the following address:

State of Delaware Division of Motor Vehicles
PO Box 698
Dover, DE 19903

When selling a car privately in Delaware, the buyer and the seller both need to fill out the relevant sections on the back of the title. This information includes the legal name, address, and signature of the buyer and the seller(s) along with the date of the sale, the odometer reading, and the purchase price. A vehicle title in two or more names using the word “and” between the names requires all owners to sign the appropriate blocks on the back of the title to transfer the title. A vehicle title in two or more names using the words “and/or” between the names only requires one owner to sign the appropriate blocks on the back of the title to transfer the title. When this is filled out accurately and legibly, it makes it easy for the buyer to transfer registration and acquire a new plate. Delaware law does not require the signatures of the sellers and buyers on the title to be notarized. Delaware doesn’t legally require the odometer reading to be disclosed if the vehicle is a 2010 model year or older but most private sellers do so as courtesy.

If you’re wondering about gifting a car to a relative, you can follow the same process that is outlined here to transfer the title. For inheriting a car, it’s mostly the same process, but you’ll need to file documentation of the inheritance with the county along with the title of the vehicle in question.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) odometer disclosure requirements were updated in December 2020 impacting certain private vehicle sales in Delaware: For a vehicle transfer that occurs from January 1, 2021 through December 31, 2030, any vehicle of model year 2011 or newer (2012, 2013, etc.) will require an odometer disclosure. Starting on January 1, 2031, any vehicle that is less than 20 model years old will require an odometer disclosure. Previously, the NHTSA required disclosure was for only the first 10 years. Cars older than 2010 are exempt from odometer disclosures. If for some reason your odometer information is incorrectly stated on the title, you may submit an affidavit to correct the odometer disclosure.

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Step 4: Remove your plates and cancel your insurance

The seller must remove their license plates before handing the vehicle over to the buyer. If you do not do so, you may be liable for any violations after the buyer has taken possession of the vehicle. After the sale is complete, you need to return the plates to a Delaware DMV office. The DMV will issue the buyer a temporary tag which will be valid for 5 days. Delaware’s DMV department recommends all private vehicle sale transactions to be conducted in person by both the buyer and seller at a local DMV office. Make sure to cancel your insurance as soon as possible after you’ve removed your plates, so you don’t continue paying to insure a car that you no longer own.

For more information, visit the official Delaware DMV website.

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Questions about selling your car in Delaware? We have answers.

What paperwork do I need to privately sell a car in Delaware?

Assuming you don’t need to obtain a duplicate of the title, the only paperwork you need to sell a car in Delaware is the title.

Is a Bill of Sale required for selling a car in Delaware?

No, a bill of sale is not required. However, it’s always a good idea to have a bill of sale signed by the seller and the buyer with a copy for both to transfer ownership and give legal protection to both parties.

Do I remove my license plate when I sell a car in Delaware?

Yes, your license plate must be removed upon the sale of the car and returned to your local DMV office.

Does a vehicle bill of sale have to be notarized in Delaware?

No. When you privately sell a car in Delaware, the Bill of Sale does not need to be notarized. Some buyers and sellers do so anyways as it can add another level of protection to both parties.

Does Delaware require a notary for the transfer of a car title?

No. A notary does not need to witness the seller and the buyer signing the title for a private party sale.

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