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How to Sell a Car in New York


Whether you live in the Adirondacks, the Catskills, Allegheny, Manhattan or Long Island, if you are thinking about privately selling your used car or truck, you’ve come to the right place. With an estimated 4 million registered trucks and cars in the state of New York, it is no wonder that thousands of private car owners from the Empire State have used Autotrader to sell their car. Below, we’ve outlined the 6 steps required to sell a car in the state of New York. Remember, most U.S. states consider the vehicle title a legal document which is why it is advised to use the legal names (no nicknames) of both parties involved along 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: Allow the buyer to have the car inspected by a third party
Step 2: Organize and gather all related vehicle documentation
Step 3: Odometer and Damage Disclosure
Step 4: Bill of Sale
Step 5: Transfer the title
Step 6: Fill out a Statement of Transaction and remove your license plates



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

Most 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. Autotrader advises potential buyers get a mechanical inspection whenever buying a used car from a private party or dealership. 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.

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Step 2: Organize and gather all related vehicle documentation

Find all maintenance records, owner’s manual and other paperwork related to the vehicle.

This should include a current safety and emission inspection report. New York state law dictates that vehicles cannot be registered unless the New York DMV has a record that the vehicle passed the required emissions inspection within the last 12 months. The buyer will be required to get a new safety inspection prior to registering the vehicle in their name. All vehicles registered in New York state must get a safety inspection every 12 months.

In New York, sellers do not need to remove a lien from the vehicle’s title. You can give the original title and the original lien release to the buyer. However, if you want to give the buyer a lien free title, the New York DMV has provided detailed instructions here. If you need to check the status of lien you can do so here. FYI: New York does not issue a title certificate for any motor vehicle made in 1972 or earlier.

If you have lost or had your title stolen, you’ll need to submit an Application for Duplicate Certificate of Title form MV-902 and pay the associated fees prior to selling the car. If the vehicle’s owner has passed away, New York provides checklist MV-843 when the vehicle’s owner is deceased. If a Power of Attorney is involved, see this information here.

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Step 3: Odometer and Damage Disclosure

The seller is required by New York state law to provide the mileage and condition of the vehicle. If the current title of the vehicle being sold does not have an area to disclose this information, you may use New York DMV form MV 103. For motor vehicles which are 10 model years old or newer, the seller must complete the odometer disclosure statement on the back of the title certificate. For vehicles older than 10 model years, odometer disclosure is not required. The Damage Disclosure Statement on the back of the New York title must be completed for all vehicles regardless of the vehicle's age.

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Step 4: Bill of Sale

A Bill of Sale should include the following information:

  • Year and Make of the Vehicle
  • Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)
  • Date of Sale
  • Purchase Price
  • Legal full names and signatures of the buyer and seller

The NY DMV provides Bill of Sale form MV-912. Having a Bill of Sale can be helpful if problems arise when the buyer goes to transfer the title or register the vehicle in their name. Many private owners notarize their Bill of Sale as a best practice. In New York, a bill of sale is not an acceptable proof of ownership without other proofs. Even if the vehicle is being transferred as a gift, the “buyer” must sign the Bill of Sale and indicate a price of $0 and a fill out a Statement of Transaction form DTF-802.

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Step 5: Transfer the title

To transfer ownership of an original New York State Certificate of Title, the buyer must fill out the and sign the transfer section of the proof of ownership. The transfer section must be notarized if the proof of ownership is a Certificate of Title from a few select states. Important: the information listed on the title certificate cannot be altered, erased or changed. If this occurs, the seller will need to order a replacement duplicate title. The New York DMV has posted their registration and use tax fees here.

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Step 6: Fill out a Statement of Transaction and remove your license plates

When a vehicle is sold in a private sale, both the buyer and the seller must fill out a Statement of Transaction form DTF-802 which is then submitted to the New York DMV where the sales tax is calculated and collected from the buyer. Vehicles which are gifts are exempt from sales tax. The buyer will submit Vehicle Registration / Title Application form MV-82.

Before you complete the sale, take your license plates off the vehicle, and remove your registration sticker from the windshield. Unless the license plate is transferred to another vehicle, turn them in at a DMV office as soon as possible. If you fail to properly dispose of the plates and sticker, the seller may be charged with traffic or parking violations performed by the buyer.

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For more information, visit the New York Department of Motor Vehicles’ website.

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

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

Yes. The seller keeps their plates and either transfers them to a replacement vehicle or turns them into the NY DMV. Plates cannot be transferred to another person. You can only transfer ownership (title or registration) of the vehicle.

Is a Bill of Sale required for selling a car in New York?

Yes, all New York private vehicle owners must fill out and sign a Bill of Sale even if the vehicle is being gifted. The buyer must also sign the bill of sale as well.

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

There are several documents which sellers of vehicles 1973 or newer will need:

  1. Current maintenance records and inspection report
  2. A valid and current proof of identification
  3. The original vehicle title certificate
  4. A completed and signed Bill of Sale (even if it is a gift)
  5. Odometer Disclosure Statement (if applicable)
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