Selling a Car in Florida

When you’re selling a vehicle in Florida, you need to pay attention to some requirements that are specific to the state. We’ve collected the appropriate information here on those requirements so you can make certain you’re completely prepared for a smooth vehicle sale.

1. Title Information

First, make sure that you actually own your vehicle entirely. In Florida, you can only sell a vehicle if you have full ownership of it. In other words, any “lien” (loan) on the vehicle must be paid off before you can sell the vehicle.

Second, make certain that you have the actual title in your possession. If you have an electronic title, you will need to get it printed out before selling the vehicle. If you cannot find the title, you’ll need to request a replacement title from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV). You need an official title because you will be signing the title over to the vehicle purchaser as proof of the transfer of ownership from you to them. Make sure you fill out the title transfer section of the title completely.

Also note that in Florida, you must continue to keep insurance on the vehicle until you either put its license plates on a new vehicle or turn the plates over to the DHSMV office.

2. Bill of Sale Requirements

Florida requires you to put together a Bill of Sale when you sell a vehicle. The Bill of Sale must include the following:

  • The new owner’s name
  • The full address of the new owner
  • The seller’s name
  • The full address of the seller
  • The date of the sale
  • The sale price
  • A full and detailed vehicle description, including the vehicle’s make, model, year, series number (if applicable) and body type (2-door, 4-door, sedan, etc.), as well as the vehicle identification number (VIN)
  • If the new owner has taken out a loan on the vehicle, the name of the lienholder
  • The date of the lien (if such exists)
  • A lien release from any previous lienholder on the vehicle if that has not been registered with the state previously
  • The vehicle odometer reading at the time of sale
  • The signatures of the seller and new owner

You can get an official copy of the Bill of Sale from the DHSMV website. Also be aware that the sale of your vehicle may be taxable; check with your accountant or financial adviser for more on this.

3. Inspections

Florida used to have emission testing requirements, but they were repealed in 2000. Currently, the state does not require inspections or emission testing but does require that any vehicle sold must be currently registered before the sale can happen. So make sure that your vehicle’s registration is up-to-date before you sell the vehicle.

4. License Plates

In Florida, when you sell your vehicle, its license plates remain with you and not the vehicle. You can then transfer them onto your next vehicle. If you are not going to do so within 30 days, the DHSMV suggests that you turn the plates into one of its offices. Florida requires continuous insurance on the vehicle connected to the plates, and if you cancel your insurance before you turn in the plates, you can lose your driver’s license. Therefore, you should make sure to either transfer the plates or return them.

5. Odometer Disclosure Requirements

In Florida, when you sell your vehicle, you are required to disclose its odometer reading if the vehicle is 10 years old or newer. You can simply fill in the odometer reading space on the back of the title in order to fulfill this requirement.

6. Other Information

If you have questions or want more details on anything having to do with selling your vehicle, check out the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles website.