Selling a Car in New Jersey

When you’re selling a vehicle in New Jersey, there are some requirements that you must meet. We’ve collected the appropriate information here on these requirements so you can get yourself ready to have a smooth, hassle-free vehicle sale.

1. Title Information

In New Jersey, 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. If you have paid off a lien, double-check your title to make certain that the lien has been released. If not, have the lienholder submit a lien release letter to the state. You will not be able to sell the vehicle until the lien release has been accepted by the state.

You should also make certain that you have the actual title. If you cannot find the title, you’ll need to request a replacement title from the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC). You will need the physical title so that you can fill out the necessary information for the buyer as proof of the transfer of the vehicle. Both your signature and the buyer’s signature will be necessary but are not required by law to be notarized.

2. Bill of Sale Requirements

When you sell a vehicle in New Jersey, the state requires you to submit a Bill of Sale only if the vehicle does not have a title. If you need to make a Bill of Sale, be sure it includes the following:

  • The new owner’s name
  • The full address of the new owner, which cannot be a P.O. box
  • The seller’s name
  • The full address of the seller, which cannot be a P.O. box
  • 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)
  • The vehicle odometer reading at the time of sale
  • The signature of the seller
  • The signature of the buyer

Keep in mind that if you do not get the Bill of Sale and submit it to the state, your vehicle will not be successfully transferred.

3. Inspections

New Jersey requires emission inspections on almost all vehicles. If you are selling a vehicle less than five years old, it will be exempt from inspections. There is also a long list of vehicles that are exempt for other specific reasons.

Any other vehicle will need to be tested every two years and will get a sticker when it passes. The vehicle can be inspected for free at either a state-run station or at a private station; you can examine online a long list of qualified stations.

You are responsible for making certain that the emission tests are current before you sell your vehicle.

4. License Plates

In New Jersey, when you sell a vehicle, the license plates stay with you rather than remain with the vehicle. Transferring the plates is entirely legal within the state and is possible as long as your new vehicle has the same owner as the previous vehicle. If you are not going to transfer the plates to a new vehicle, make sure you return them to an MVC office before you cancel your insurance or you could face unintended fines or liability for the vehicle after you’ve sold it.

5. Odometer Disclosure Requirements

New Jersey requires people to formally disclose the vehicle odometer reading when they sell a vehicle that is 10 years old or newer. Noting the odometer reading in the title transfer section of the vehicle title is sufficient to fulfill this requirement, but you also have the option of using a separate state form if you would prefer.

6. Other Information

If you have questions or want more details regarding vehicle selling, check out the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission website.