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What To Do When Selling A Car In Florida

If you’ve decided to sell your car in Florida, congratulations! But before you hand over the keys, there are some important steps you need to take to ensure a smooth transaction. From preparing your car for sale to transferring ownership, this guide covers everything you need to know about selling a car in Florida.

Step 1: Gather Your Documents

Before you sell your car in Florida, you’ll need to gather all the necessary documents. These include:

  • Title: The title of the vehicle should be in your name, and it should be free of liens. If the title isn’t in your name, you’ll need to get it transferred to your name before you can sell the car.
  • Bill of Sale: A bill of sale is a legal document that proves you sold the car to the buyer. It should include the date, the buyer’s name and address, the seller’s name and address, the purchase price, the vehicle identification number (VIN), and the signatures of both the buyer and seller.
  • Odometer Disclosure: Under Florida law, you’re required to disclose the mileage of the vehicle at the time of sale. You can do this on the title, on a separate form called the Odometer Disclosure Statement, or on the bill of sale.
  • Release of Liability: Once you’ve sold the car, you’ll need to fill out a Release of Liability form with the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV). This will protect you from any liability for accidents or violations that occur after the sale.

Step 2: Prepare Your Car for Sale

Once you have all the necessary documents, it’s time to prepare your car for sale. Here are some tips to get your car ready:

  • Clean Your Car: First impressions are important, so make sure your car looks its best. Give it a thorough cleaning, both inside and out.
  • Fix Any Mechanical Issues: If your car has any mechanical issues, get them fixed before you sell it. This will make your car more attractive to buyers and increase its value.
  • Gather Maintenance Records: If you have any maintenance records, gather them together and provide them to the buyer. This will show that you’ve taken good care of the car.
  • Determine the Value of Your Car: Before you set a price, research the value of your car. You can use websites like Kelley Blue Book or NADA to get an estimate of your car’s worth.

Step 3: Advertise Your Car

Once your car is ready for sale, it’s time to advertise it. Here are some ways to get the word out:

  • Online: Websites like Craigslist, Autotrader, and Cars.com are great places to advertise your car. Make sure you include all the necessary information, such as the make and model, year, mileage, and price.
  • Social Media: Post about your car on your social media accounts, and ask your friends to share the post.
  • Signs: Put a “For Sale” sign in the window of your car, and park it in a high-traffic area. Make sure the sign includes your phone number and the asking price.

Step 4: Show Your Car to Potential Buyers

Once you start getting inquiries about your car, it’s time to show it to potential buyers. Here are some tips for showing your car:

  • Meet in a Public Place: When you meet with a potential buyer, choose a public place, like a shopping mall parking lot. This will help ensure your safety.
  • Bring a Friend: It’s always a good idea to bring a friend with you when you’re showing your car to a potential buyer. They can help with the sale, and provide an extra level of security.
  • Be Honest: Make sure you’re honest about the condition of your car. If there are any issues, disclose them to the buyer upfront.

Step 5: Transfer Ownership

Once you’ve found a buyer, it’s time to transfer ownership. Here’s what you need to do:

  • Sign the Title: Sign the title over to the buyer, and make sure they sign it as well.
  • Provide a Bill of Sale: Give the buyer a bill of sale that includes all the necessary information.
  • Remove the License Plates: Remove the license plates from the car, and return them to the DHSMV.
  • Fill Out a Release of Liability: Fill out a Release of Liability form with the DHSMV.


Selling a car in Florida can be a daunting task, but by following these steps, you can ensure a smooth transaction. Remember to gather all the necessary documents, prepare your car for sale, advertise it, show it to potential buyers, and transfer ownership once you’ve found a buyer. Good luck with your sale!


  1. Do I need to have my car inspected before selling it in Florida?

    No, Florida doesn’t require a vehicle inspection before a car can be sold.

  2. Can I sell my car if I still owe money on it?

    Yes, but you’ll need to pay off the loan before you can transfer ownership to the buyer.

  3. Do I need to have a notary present when I sign the title over to the buyer?

    No, a notary isn’t required in Florida, but it can provide an extra level of protection.

  4. How long do I have to notify the DHSMV that I’ve sold my car?

    You have 30 days to notify the DHSMV that you’ve sold your car.

  5. What should I do if the buyer doesn’t transfer ownership after buying my car?

    If the buyer doesn’t transfer ownership, you may be liable for any accidents or violations that occur. Contact the DHSMV to report the sale and protect yourself from liability.

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