Whether you live in the Coastal Plain, Piedmont or Blue Ridge region of Georgia, if you are thinking about privately selling your used car or truck, you’ve come to the right place. With an estimated 3 million registered trucks and cars in the state of Georgia, it is no wonder that thousands of private car owners from the Peach state have used Autotrader to sell their car. Below, we’ve outlined the five steps and forms required for how to sell a car in the state of Georgia so you can sell your car quickly for the most cash.
It is important to remember that in Georgia, it is illegal for private citizens to sell multiple cars or vehicles other than those titled in their name. As recently as 2013, 60 percent of car sales in Georgia occurred between private parties. This is why hundreds of thousands of private vehicle owners from Georgia have used Autotrader to sell their car. Georgia considers 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 the use of white out may void the document so be careful and take your time filling it out.
Step 1: Organize and gather all related vehicle documentation
Step 2: Transfer the title and remove your license plate
Step 3: Cancel the vehicle’s registration
Step 4: Cancel your vehicle’s insurance
Step 5: Complete a Bill of Sale
Find all maintenance records, owner’s manual and other paperwork related to the vehicle. This needs to include a current and valid Georgia Vehicle Emissions Inspection Report (VIR) if the buyer is going to register the vehicle in one of 13 metro Atlanta counties: Cherokee, Clayton, Cobb, Coweta, DeKalb, Douglas, Fayette, Forsyth, Fulton, Gwinnett, Henry, Paulding or Rockdale. Georgia law requires all private sellers of gasoline-powered cars and light-duty trucks within these counties to sell a vehicle with a current, valid passing emissions report provided by Georgia’s Clean Air Force. Diesel or alternative fuel vehicles and vehicles which are 25 model years old or older are exempt.
On the back form of the original title, the seller needs to print and sign their full legal name. If there are two or more owners listed on the title, all owners will need to print and sign their legal names. The purchaser needs to fill out his or her full legal name, current address and the date of the sale, including month, day and year, and confirm the vehicle’s odometer reading at the time of the sale. Remember, you absolutely cannot make alterations or corrections to the title document; otherwise, you’ll need to correct the title. Additionally, if the purchase date is changed or altered, a penalty fee will be assessed. Both standard license plates and specialty (or prestige) license plates stay with the seller so be sure to remove them from the vehicle before the sale is finalized.
If the original title is lost or stolen, the seller will need to complete and sign a lost or stolen title application form MV-1 and pay the associated fees at his or her local county tag office prior to selling the car.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) odometer disclosure requirements were updated in December 2020 impacting certain private vehicle sales in Georgia: 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.
Sellers have two ways to cancel their vehicle’s registration:
Both will require you to provide the vehicle’s license plate, vehicle identification number (VIN) and your Georgia driver’s license number, which is a nine digit number on your license preceded by the letters “DL NO.” Georgia recommends that vehicle owners voluntarily cancel their vehicle registration before canceling their insurance coverage to avoid any fines or penalties.
Contact your vehicle’s insurance provider within the next 30 days and cancel the insurance coverage.
The Georgia Department of Revenue has provided Bill of Sale Form T-7 for use in all private party vehicle transactions. This form can be used as the official document to protect both parties in the case of miscommunication and must be signed by both the buyer and seller. While not legally required, it may be a good idea to have the Bill of Sale notarized.
For more information, visit Georgia’s Department of Revenue.
These are the key steps to sell a car in Georgia:
Yes, but only if the buyer of the vehicle is planning on registering it within the 13 counties of Cherokee, Clayton, Cobb, Coweta, DeKalb, Douglas, Fayette, Forsyth, Fulton, Gwinnett, Henry, Paulding or Rockdale. Diesel and alternative fuel vehicles and vehicles which are 25 model years old or older are exempt.
Yes. The seller must remove their license plates before the vehicle sale is completed but before your insurance is cancelled.
Yes, according to Georgia’s Department of Revenue, a Bill of Sale is required for all private party vehicle sales in Georgia. The buyer will need this when they register and title the vehicle in their county and this legally will help protect the seller in the future.
Remove the custom license plate from the car you're selling before the buyer takes possession of it. If you’re purchasing a replacement (new or used) vehicle from a Dealer, you’ll automatically receive a new, standard license plate in the mail within 30 days. Take both the standard license plate and your custom license plate to your county tag office and for a small administrative fee, they’ll transfer your custom license plate to your replacement vehicle. You’ll turn in the standard license plate you received in the mail.
If you’re purchasing a replacement vehicle from a private owner, the vehicle shouldn’t have a plate (since plates stay with the seller). Take your specialty (or prestige) license plate to your county’s tag office and for a small fee, they will transfer your specialty license plate to the vehicle you just purchased. This legally must be done within 7 days of purchasing the replacement vehicle. This process could vary from county to county so check with your local tag office just to be safe.
In 2011, Georgia changed this law. The only way to legally drive a newly purchased vehicle now is to have either a dealer-issued 30-day drive-out tag or a temporary operating permit from the county tag office. This law went into effect to crack down on hand-written “tag applied for” signs. Georgia residents who purchase a vehicle from another individual must register it within 7 days from the date of purchase.
No. When you privately sell a car in Georgia, 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.
Technically, yes although most people don’t do this. If you have all the same information outlined in the Georgia Department of Revenue’s Bill of Sale Form T-7, you’ll be fine.
No. A notary does not need to witness the buyer and seller signing the title during a private vehicle sale.