Craigslist Hack: Selling a car on Craigslist

There are a couple things I didn’t read anywhere on the internets about selling a car on Craigslist.  Here they are…

  • If you are a member of AAA, they can handle the transaction at a local office, free of charge.  They offer the same services as a DMV without the lines!
  • The pink slip is the title.  You do not need both.
  • You don’t need to take the license plate off when you sell the car.
  • The buyer pays for a smog test.  I went to the place where I last had a smog test to ask for the certificate and was told the certificate is only valid for 90 days, even though smog checks are required every two years.

Posting an Ad on Craigslist

You should easily be able to shoot 24 good photos of your car. Here’s how we recommend breaking down your shot list:

One overview from each angle of the car; think front profile, rear profile, side profile (times two), a 3/4 shot from each corner.
Detail shots of any exterior damage and a shot of the wheels and tires showing about how much tread is left on the tires.
Photos of the front and back seats, the dashboard, and the odometer showing current mileage.
Open the hood and take an overview photo.

Documents to complete (if you are not an AAA member)

The seller submits a Notice of Transfer and Release of Liability to DMV within 5 days of releasing ownership of the vehicle, trailer, or vessel. The Notice of Transfer and Release of Liability may be filed online at
To process an NRL, you must have the:

  1. License plate number
  2. Last five digits of the vehicle identification number
  3. New owner’s name and address

The Notice of Transfer and Release of Liability relieves you of responsibility for parking and/or traffic violations and civil or criminal actions involving the vehicle after your date of sale. Your name, however, will not be removed from the DMV’s records until the new owner submits the vehicle title to the DMV for transfer of ownership, and pays the appropriate fees, and completes all transfer requirements. This form should be submitted by you directly to DMV; if you give this form to the new owner, the new owner may never submit it to DMV on your behalf.

Finalize the Sale of Your Car

Once a sale has been agreed upon, you’ll need to finalize all the paperwork. If you accept a cashier’s check, go with the buyer to his or her bank to get your money. When payment has been completed, you’ll need to:

* Complete the bill of sale.
* Sign over the title.
* Fill out the Release of Liability.
* Submit this form to your state DMV if required.
* Provide warranty documents, if applicable.
* Provide copies of maintenance records.
* Be sure to black out personal information to avoid identity theft.
* Include any additional transfer paperwork your state may require.
* Hand over the keys!

Don’t forget to remove your vehicle from your insurance policy.

When can I turn the vehicle and keys over to the buyer?
You may safely turn the vehicle and keys over to the new owner when you do all of the following:
* Provide the buyer with all the appropriate documentation, signatures, and certifications noted in this brochure.
* Submit a completed Notice of Transfer and Release of Liability to DMV.
* Receive payment from the buyer.


Will I have to pay for anything after I have sold my vehicle?
All of the transfer fees are the responsibility of the buyer.

Should I keep any papers after the vehicle is transferred?
Keep a copy of the completed Notice of Transfer and Release of Liability.

Let me know if you have any questions.

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