Live in the Garden State and thinking of selling your car for some extra cash? Right now may be a good time to sell your car on the private market, as the market is hot. You can make room in your garage and earn more than you would at a dealership to help cover rising costs, pay down debt, or you can use it as a down payment for another car. If you’re a NJ resident, here’s how to sell your car in New Jersey.
Step 1: Get your car photo-ready
Just like you might get ready with hair, wardrobe and makeup for new headshots, you need to get your car photo-ready too. Do an in-depth cleaning of the car and remove your personal belongings. Vacuum the floor mats, get a car wash, take out any trash, and make it look as good as new (even if it isn’t).
Once your car is photo-ready, snap some pictures so you can advertise your car properly. These photos of your car will essentially be a prospective buyer’s first impression of the vehicle, so be sure to capture the car’s good angles and make the photos appealing for buyers.
Step 2: Add your listing to several car marketplaces
When selling a car in New Jersey, you need a place to connect with buyers. The good news is there are various car marketplaces that make the process easier for you. For example, many people are using the power of apps and social media to sell cars. You can check out Facebook Marketplace, OfferUp, Craigslist, and AutoTrader, and any options unique to New Jersey.
Put your photos up, add a catchy and comprehensive description, and publish your listing so buyers know your car is officially on the market.
Step 3: Agree to a car inspection, if asked
If you have a serious buyer on your hands, they may want to move forward in the process but with a caveat — they want a car inspection first. Typically, prospective buyers will go to a mechanic of their choice to execute the inspection. If a potential buyer wants an inspection, coordinate with them to make it happen. If you’re not asked, you can provide a Vehicle History Report from CarFax to give the buyer an idea about the vehicle’s history and condition.
Step 4: Get your vehicle records in order
Before selling a car, get your vehicle records in order. That can include the vehicle history report, maintenance records, owner’s manual, emission testing records (NJ typically requires vehicles to be inspected every two years), and the vehicle title. Your car title shows that you’re the rightful owner of the vehicle and is required as part of selling a car in New Jersey.
If you need a replacement title, you’ll need to schedule an appointment and complete the Form OS/SS-UTA, which is the Universal Title Application. You’ll also need to provide proof of insurance or registration and pay a fee of $60 to get a new title.
Step 5: Sign the title and provide Bill of Sale NJ
When you have a serious buyer, it’s time to close the sale and accept payment. As the seller, you need to sign the back side of your title as part of transferring ownership to the new buyer. You can use a Bill of Sale NJ template as well to have a record of the transaction. According to the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (NJ MVC) website, you’ll need to include:
- The buyer’s full name and address
- The date of the sale
- Mileage odometer reading
- Sale price
Step 6: Take off your license plates
As part of transferring ownership of the vehicle, you’ll need to remove your license plates. You can either transfer them to a new vehicle or “surrender” them at a motor vehicle agency, which you can find here.
It’s important to note that to officially transfer the title the buyer will need to fill out their part of the title and bring it to a local motor vehicle agency and fill out the Vehicle Registration Application (Form BA-49).
Make sure you keep all receipts and records to prove you’ve sold the car and surrendered the license plates so that the MVC knows that you’re no longer the owner. This will complete the car selling process and ensure you have a paper trail in case there are any questions.
The bottom line
Figuring out how to sell a car in New Jersey can be a process. Using this guide, you can take these six steps to simplify the process and have your records in order. After selling your old car, you may be ready to buy a brand new set of wheels. If so, it might be time for an update of your insurance as well. Check out affordable car insurance with pay-per-mile coverage with Metromile, where you pay a low base rate and for the miles you drive, nothing more, nothing less. Check out your savings here.
Melanie Lockert is a freelance writer, podcast host of the Mental Health and Wealth show, and author of Dear Debt. She’s a cat mom to two jazzy cats, Miles and Thelonious, an amateur boxer, music lover, and needs coffee to function.