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How to Sell a Car in Florida


If you live in the panhandle, east coast, gulf coast, south Florida or near the home of the Mouse, and you are thinking about privately selling your used car or truck, you’ve come to the right place. With an estimated 10 million registered trucks and cars in the state of Florida, it is no wonder that thousands of private car owners from the Sunshine state have used Autotrader to sell their car. We’ve outlined the 5 steps required to sell a car in the state of Florida. The goal is to help you sell your car quickly for the most cash.

Florida law assumes any person who buys, sells, offers for sale, displays for sale or deals in three motor vehicles in any 12-month period to be an automotive dealer and must be authorized and licensed by the state to do so. It is important to remember that in Florida, it is illegal to park any vehicle on a public right of way or on private property for the sole purpose of selling that vehicle without prior permission of the property owner. Clearly, this is one reason why online car sales have become so popular and why hundreds of thousands of private vehicle sellers from Florida have previously used Autotrader to sell their car.

A vehicle title is a legal document so remember to always use your legal name (no nicknames) with legible handwriting using a 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: Apply for a “demonstration only” temporary license plate tag
Step 2: Pay off the existing lien and/or apply for a replacement title (if applicable)
Step 3: Have the VIN inspected by an authorized representative
Step 4: Transfer the vehicle’s title
Step 5: Create a Bill of Sale and remove the vehicle’s license plate



Step 1: Apply for a “demonstration only” temporary license plate tag

If you’ve already transferred your license plate to your new, replacement vehicle, you’ll need to apply for a “demonstration only” temporary tag for the car you are trying to sell. This temporary tag will allow potential buyers to test drive your vehicle. To receive a temporary tag, you’ll need to demonstrate proof of insurance coverage.

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Step 2: Pay off the existing lien and/or apply for a replacement title (if applicable)

Florida law does not allow a private owner’s vehicle to be sold if there is an existing lien. This makes private party car sales difficult. For the vehicle to be sold, the lien must first be paid off. After doing so, the lienholder (usually a bank), will report to the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicle department that the lien has been paid so the title can be transferred. If you really want to sell your car yourself and you don’t have the title, you can go to the bank with the new owner then have them pay off the balance beforehand. Obviously, this only works if the prospective buyer is certain they want your car.

Trading the car in at a licensed dealer is easier. Private sellers can trade in a vehicle with an existing lien to an authorized car dealership. Dealers have up to 10 days to satisfy the lien prior to selling the car to another customer. A private seller does not need to request a paper title prior to trading a vehicle with a licensed Florida car dealer.

If the original paper vehicle title has been lost or misplaced, the seller will have to apply for a duplicate vehicle title prior to selling the car to a buyer. In order to receive a duplicate title, you’ll have to submit form HSMV 82101 along with the associated fees and submit it to your local motor vehicle service center. In addition to the standard title fees, some Florida counties offer a “fast title” service fee of $10 in order to expedite this process.

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Step 3: Have the VIN inspected by an authorized representative

For vehicles not previously titled in Florida, the seller must complete form HSMV 82042, Vehicle Identification Number and Odometer Verification. This form requires verification by the owner and one of the following official representatives:

  • A Florida FLHSMV officer or examiner
  • A licensed and authorized motor vehicle dealer
  • A licensed Florida notary public
  • A law enforcement officer

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Step 4: Transfer the vehicle’s title

To properly transfer the vehicle title, the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles department recommends sellers and buyers complete the private sale of a vehicle at a local motor vehicle service center.

If the vehicle title is in a digital/electronic format, complete either a secure title reassignment form HSMV 82994 or form HSMV 82092 and disclose the vehicle’s odometer reading. The buyer and seller must both be present at a local motor vehicle service center and provide photo identification.

The seller must complete the Transfer of Title by Seller section on the front page of the title certificate including, the name and address of the buyer, the odometer reading, final sale price and the date of the sale.

In order to transfer the vehicle title into their name, the buyer must complete HSMV form 82040, Application for Certificate of Title With/Without Registration, attach it to the title and submit to a local motor vehicle service center. This must be done within 30 calendar days in order to avoid a late transfer penalty fee. The odometer reading at the date of purchase will be required on the title application. Both the buyer and seller must acknowledge and disclose the reading.

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Step 5: Create a Bill of Sale and remove the vehicle’s license plate

A Bill of Sale, preferably notarized, using HSMV form 82050 is required by Florida law. This form will need to be filed with the local motor vehicle service center and will remove the seller’s registration from the vehicle and helps the seller avoid liability for the operation of the vehicle after it has been sold. After form 82050 is filed, the buyer is responsible for applying for the title and registration, as well as filling out an affidavit of insurance before they can legally drive the vehicle.

If there is one thing which all Florida private vehicle sellers must remember, it is this: If the buyer does not does not file for the title and registration and the seller does NOT file form HSMV 82050, the seller can be held legally liable for actions with the vehicle, even if they no longer own the car. The Bill of Sale is the official legal receipt of the sale and it is recommended that both parties keep copies of it and all Title and transaction related documentation.

In Florida, the license plate stays with the seller and not the vehicle. Remove the license plate from the vehicle and then transfer the plate to a new or replacement vehicle. License plates are returned to a motor vehicle service center only when:

  1. The seller is moving with the vehicle outside of Florida OR
  2. The seller cancels the insurance on the car with the license plate

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For more information, visit the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles website.

<span class="text-size-300">Questions about selling your car in Florida? We have answers.</span>

Q: Is a Bill of Sale required when selling a car privately in Florida?

A: Yes. Florida law requires private sellers to file a Bill of Sale form HSMV 82050. If the buyer does not file for the title and registration and the seller does not file a Bill of Sale, the seller can be held legally liable for actions with the vehicle, even if they no longer own the car.

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

Yes. Florida law requires license plates to stay with the seller and not the vehicle.

What documents do I need to privately sell a car in Florida?

You may need the following forms:

  1. An electronic secure title reassignment form (form HSMV 82994 or HSMV 82092)
  2. A title replacement form (HSMV 82101), if the original paper title has been lost
  3. A Vehicle Identification Number and Odometer Verification, form HSMV 82042
  4. Application for Certificate of Title With/Without Registration, form HSMV 82040
  5. A Bill of Sale, form HSMV 82050, preferably notarized
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