Guide to Selling a Car in Virginia

If you live in the state of Virginia and are ready to upgrade your car, you want to figure out what to do next with your old car. You could always bring it to a dealership and trade it in but that might not be the best option for you financially. It’s convenient but if you want to get the most for your used car, it’s best to sell it on the private market. If you’re wondering about the process, here’s how to sell a car in Virginia.

How to Sell a Car In Virginia | Metromile

Step 1: Organize and clean your vehicle 

You have to do a little prep work as part of selling your car. That includes organizing and cleaning your vehicle. You want to get it ready for a new owner, so you want to:

  • Remove your personal belongings
  • Take out any trash
  • Vacuum the floor mats
  • Get a car wash 
  • Make any minor repairs like buffing out scratches

Once it’s clean and organized, you can take the next step to make sure it’s sell-ready. 

Step 2: Have a car photoshoot

You know the saying a picture is worth a thousand words? Well, it’s true especially when it comes to selling a car. When your car is clean and ready, take photos at various angles and viewpoints. 

Let a prospective buyer see the inside and outside and take any photos of parts of the car that may have some damage. You want to sell your car and make sure your photos look good but you also want to be upfront to avoid wasting anyone’s time. 

Step 3: List your used car on several car marketplaces 

Now that you have the photos to entice prospective buyers, you want to put those pretty photos on various car marketplaces. Put your images up, write a thorough yet succinct description of your car and press publish. Make sure that you include the year, make, and model and be honest about any potential issues with the car. 

You can list your used car on Autotrader, Facebook Marketplace, OfferUp, and other local car sites in your area. 

After hitting publish, you want to respond in a timely manner to prospective buyers and answer their questions. 

Step 4: Get a vehicle history report and inspection, if applicable 

To make the selling process go smoother, you can get a Vehicle History Report from CarFax. This can show a comprehensive vehicle history and include things like any accidents or major repairs, previous sales, and more. The vehicle history report will help the buyer get a good idea of the car’s history and provide info they should know before making the purchase. 

On top of that, a prospective buyer may want to get the car inspected by a mechanic. If that’s the case, they’ll pay for it and likely go somewhere they feel comfortable with. It can add another layer to the process, but it means they’re serious, so be open about getting one scheduled if you’re asked. 

Step 5: Get your vehicle documentation in order 

As part of selling a car in Virginia, you need to have a valid vehicle title. If you lost your vehicle title, you’ll need to get a new one to make the sale happen. 

You can apply for a new title online here or fill out the “Application for Replacement and Substitute Titles” (VSA 67). You’ll also need to pay the replacement title fee of $15 as well. 

It’s important to note that if you have a lien on your car, you won’t be able to get the replacement title as it would go to the lienholder. You also can’t sell your car if you still have a balance on your car loan, so you want to make sure that’s taken care of before making moves to sell. 

Step 6: Accept payment and turn over title to the new owner 

When you have a serious buyer and your title is ready, you can settle on a price and accept payment. Once you do that, you need to sign your vehicle title in the Section A portion and include the full name and address of the buyer. 

You’ll also need to include the odometer reading and include the final price you’re selling the car for as well. The buyer will also need to sign the title and include their information as well. 

Step 7: Create and fill out a car Bill of Sale in Virginia

Though the Virginia DMV makes no mention of a car Bill of Sale in Virginia, you still want to create one yourself and fill it out to make sure you have a record of the transaction. 

To create your own car Bill of Sale in Virginia, you can use a template online and make sure that you and the buyer both fill it out, Make sure to create a copy for yourself. 

Step 8: Remove license plates and report the sale to the Virginia DMV

As the final step in the selling a car in Virginia process, you want to remove the license plates as those belong to you. If you have over six months left on your car registration, you may also be eligible for a partial refund. You can do that by completing the Application for Vehicle Registration Refund Form (FMS-210) and mailing it along with your license plates.

To make sure you’re absolved of all liability, be sure to report the sale of the vehicle to the Virginia DMV. You can do that online or by calling (804) 497-7100. Also, be sure to notify your car insurance that you’ve sold your vehicle as well. 

The bottom line 

Figuring out how to sell a car in Virginia can be a process. Using these eight steps, you can be guided through to make it easier. The most important part is the paperwork, especially the vehicle title, car Bill of Sale Virginia, as well as notifying the DMV. 

If you’re ready to buy a new set of wheels and get affordable car insurance after selling a car in Virginia, you can look at all your options. You may find that pay-per-mile coverage offers you steep savings. If you’re a low-mileage driver, check out Metromile for a free quote and start saving. 

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.