Selling a Car in Maryland

When you’re selling a vehicle in Maryland, you must meet some state-specific. We’ve collected the appropriate information on these requirements here so you can make certain that the sale of your vehicle goes smoothly.

1. Title Information

In Maryland, you can only sell a vehicle if you have complete ownership of it. In other words, any “lien” (loan) on the vehicle must be paid off before you can sell the vehicle. In Maryland, when you pay off a lien, a “Notice of Security Interest Filing” is sent to you. Keep that notice, as you will need to give it to the buyer of your vehicle as part of the proof that the vehicle can be sold.

You should also make certain that you have the actual title. If you cannot find the title, you will need to request a replacement title from the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA). You will need the physical title so that you can fill out the necessary information for the buyer as further proof of the transfer of the vehicle. Both your signature and the buyer’s signature will be necessary, and Maryland requires the signatures to be notarized.

In Maryland, all vehicles require a title.

2. Bill of Sale Requirements

Maryland has strange requirements for a Bill of Sale. If the information can all be correctly put onto the back of the current title, then that mostly suffices as proof that you sold the vehicle. If, however, the vehicle is less than seven years old and is being purchased for less than its blue book value, then you will have to get a notary involved. If you are in that situation, the Bill of Sale for Maryland has an official version. If you end up needing a Bill of Sale, it will include the following elements:

  • 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 its vehicle identification number (VIN)
  • The vehicle odometer reading at the time of sale
  • The signatures of the seller and new owner

Even if you don’t need it, you may wish to make a Bill of Sale anyway for tax purposes at the end of the year.

3. Inspections

Maryland requires emission testing on most vehicles on a biannual basis before the vehicles can be registered. Vehicles that are a 1976 model or older are exempt as well, as are electric cars and hybrids that pass the Maryland exemption standard. All other vehicles must be tested, using the most advanced test possible for each model, at one of various testing stations around the state.

It is your responsibility as the seller to make certain that all necessary inspections are up to date on the vehicle before you sell it.

4. License Plates

In Maryland, when you sell your vehicle, its license plates can stay with you and not the vehicle under certain circumstances. If you do not (or cannot) transfer the plates to a new vehicle, make absolutely certain that you return the plates to the MVA immediately before you cancel your insurance on the vehicle. If you fail to return the plates first, you could find yourself fined $150/day.

5. Odometer Disclosure Requirements

Maryland requires people to formally disclose the odometer reading on their vehicle when they sell the vehicle and it is 10 years old or newer. The state offers an Odometer Form for you to record the information on.

6. Other Information

If you have questions or want more details regarding vehicle selling, check out the website for the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration.