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Selling A Car In Florida – What Must Be Done For A Complete Sale?

Selling A Car In Florida – What Must Be Done For A Complete Sale?

The state of Florida sees thousands of car sales each year. Thankfully, the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles offers great steps to follow, for both sellers as well as buyers. So, check out our guide that helps you get a good foundation on how to sell a car in Florida!


Before You Sell Your Car

You the seller are buying car. It is now your duty to transfer the license plate. Therefore, you must transfer the license plate as well as apply for a demonstration only temporary tag to allow potential buyers to test drive the vehicle. You will also need to submit proof of insurance in order to receive a temporary tag.

In Florida for a legal sale, the seller has to transfer the title to the buyer. If the title was paper, but it’s been misplaced or lost, then the seller must apply for a duplicate title.

This must be done, before selling the vehicle. To get a duplicate title, the seller has to fill out form HSMV 82101.

Then you have to submit that form along with the duplicate title fee to a motor vehicle service center.

Are you looking to get it quickly? Florida offers expedited service in some locations. For counties offering “fast title” expedited service, you have to pay the $10 fee in addition to the standard fees for a car title.

For an electric car title, the seller and buyer must visit a motor vehicle service center and complete a secure title reassignment (HSMV 82994 or 82092) as well as odometer reading. “The buyer and seller must both be present and provide photo identification,” adds The Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.

What If I Am Selling My Car with an Existing Lien?

According to Florida, law, you cannot sell a vehicle if there is an existing lien. If you attempt to do so, you are selling car illegally.

To stay on the right side of the law, Florida states that the lien must first be satisfied.

Once the lien holder reports to FLHSMV that the lien has been satisfied, the state of Florida will then transfer the lien.

“Consumers can trade in a vehicle with an existing lien at a dealership, added the FLHSMV.  Click here to read more!

Selling A Car in Florida – Understanding the VIN Inspection

For a vehicle that has never been titled in Florida, the seller must fill out a Vehicle Identification Number and Odometer Verification. Additionally, the owner must verify the document along with one of the following, according to the FLHSMV

  • “Florida FLHSMV compliance examiner/officer;
  • Licensed Florida motor vehicle dealer;
  • Florida notary public; or
  • Law enforcement officer.”

sell a car in florida

Sell a Car in Florida, Completely!

For each car sale in Florida, the FLHSMV encourages all sellers fill out the sales transaction in a motor vehicle service center .

This ensures proper transference of the vehicle title. “This protects both the seller, who knows that title has been transferred out of their name, and the buyer by ensuring the seller has provided them with the proper ownership documents,” adds the FLHSMV.

Additionally, Florida asks that the seller fill out the Transfer of Title by Seller section on the front of the title certificate.

The seller has to supply the name and address of the car buyer. You must also include the odometer reading, the sale date of the car and the selling price.

In Florida, the buyer must fill out an Application for Certificate of Title with/without Registration form.

The buyer must then attach that form, to the title and submit to a motor vehicle service center. This will serve as successful transfer of the title into his or her name.

Florida asks that you do this within 30 calendar days to avoid a late transfer penalty fee.

What About Mileage?

All Florida car titles allow for a space for the odometer disclosure reading

This odometer reading must be fill out at the time of purchase and written accurately on the title application.

Both the buyer and seller must accept the odometer disclosures on title transactions.

The Importance of Filing Form HSMV 82050

Florida law states that all sellers must file form HSMV 82050.You can fill this form out at a local  motor vehicle service center

Once you do, this form will remove the seller’s registration from the vehicle. Furthermore, this will help the seller avoid any penalties or civil liability for the operation of the motor vehicle after the sale. Once you file this form as the seller, you are released from responsibility.

The buyer then has to apply for the title and registration before he/she can legally drive or operating the the motor vehicle.

If the buyer fails to do this, and if the seller does not fill out and file form HSMV 82050, the seller can face penalties and liabilities for actions associated with the motor vehicle. For example, if the car is parked somewhere and a law enforcement official issues a ticket.

This form is vital as protection for the seller. Additionally, this form also documents the sale of the car. Florida also recognizes it as a legal receipt. You are encouraged to keep copies of the bill of sale as well as the certificate of title and any other document of transaction that shows the car was sold. Although not required, the FLHSMV  recommends that a notary witness the signatures and sign the HSMV 82050 form.

Selling a car in Florida – License Plate Removal

According to Florida protocol, the license plates must stay with seller and not the vehicle. Once you sell the motor vehicles you must take off the license plate from the vehicle.

Then, you are able to transfer the plate to a new or replacement vehicle. Additionally, you as the seller must surrender the tag to a motor vehicle service center under the following: a) you the seller are moving to another state. Or b) you the seller cancel the insurance on the car, associated with the plate.

How to Sell Your Car in Florida – A Seller's Checklist

The FLHSMV offers a checklist for sellers! Check it out and contact the FLHSMV for additional information!

  • Apply for a demonstration only temporary tag, if needed;
  • Conduct a VIN inspection, if necessary;
  • Record odometer reading on title;
  • Complete title transfer in a motor vehicle service center;
  • Remove license plate from the sold vehicle;
  • Surrender the license plate, if applicable; and
  • File a Notice of Sale, form HSMV 82050.

how to sell a car in Florida

How to Sell a Car in Florida – Selling Your Older Car Online

Now, it's time to get your prized van, SUV or sedan ready to sell! Whether you are appealing to buyers in Jacksonville, Miami, Orlando, or another fantastic Florida city, you have things to do! So, check out our checklist of items you should take care of, prior to the sale of your car!

  • Examine your car. Whether you are selling your car as a car or selling your car's parts, you have to know what you have. So, get a family mechanic or another trusted mechanic to examine your car. How well does the starter work? Is the engine in good working order? How much tread is on those tires? Know what your car has, so you can sell your car competitively.
  • Clean your car out! From the inside out, you have to clean and vacuum your car to get it ready for the sale!
  • Fix what you can. If you have some small dents or minor imperfections on the car, try to get those fixed. For major repairs, you can leave them and indicate such to your buyer. Just because you have an engine or transmission that slips, doesn't mean you will not sell your car. Lots of Florida folks make a living or a hobby out of rebuilding a car!
  • Choose what online platforms you will sell on. Are you a Craigslist, Facebook person? Do you prefer Autotrader? Choose the websites that you will sell your car on. Be mindful of any fees that are associated with posting an online car ad. For example, Craigslist charges $5 for a car ad.
  • Gather your pictures and/or video. Once you know where you want to sell your car, you should have a good video that is about 30-60 seconds long. You also want at least 10-15 good clean, sharp and focused pictures. Then, get ready to post those pictures and video on Instagram and Facebook. You can only post pictures on Craigslist.
  • Make sure potential buyers can contact you! Make sure that you put a good email or phone number in your ad. You want Florida residents to call or email you about your car! You also want to be able to get to those phone calls and messages in a quick amount of time. No one wants to talk about a car that they were interested in two months ago!
  • When scheduling meet and greet sessions to see your car, be safe! When you decide to meet a buyer, do so in a safe space. Have a friend or family member with you too. If a car buyer wants you to ride with them, so they can go to the bank or ATM to get funds for the payment of your car, you say no. Serious buyers know to either have money readdy, or they will drive themselves to the financial institution of his/her choice.
  • Want to sell your car the fast, convenient and easy way? Click here!