buying a car from a private seller in nc

We have researched Buying A Car From A Private Seller In Nc. Hence, this article on how to privately sell a car in nc. Below, in this article, you will find how to transfer a car title in nc. Read on to discover them.

Are you selling a car in NC and aren’t sure where to start? Don’t stress, because many people find themselves wondering this same thing. There are several unique points to keep in mind about the “Tar Heel State” that might trip you up. Thankfully, in this article, we’re going to cover everything that’s involved. Continue reading to find out.

how to privately sell a car in nc

Buying A Car From A Private Seller In Nc

Auto Repairs Are EXPENSIVE

The first step when selling a car in NC is to prepare all the required documents. Most importantly, the title and bill of sale. The next step is to determine the fair market value using online tools like Kelly Blue Book and NADA Guides. Once you’ve done that, you’ll want to prepare the vehicle for sale by making sure it’s mechanically sound. As well as detailing it inside and out. Next, you’ll want to market it for sale using local resources like bulletin boards and online listing sites. Lastly, once you’ve found a buyer, you’ll need to fill out the back of the title and sign it in the presence of a notary public.

Let’s now go over each of these in detail. We will also cover a few extra things. Such as how to get the most for one, and who the buyers are.  As well as what to do with the license plates when selling a car in NC.

Preparing the Required Paperwork

Required Paperwork
  • Back of Title/Title Application

The first, and most crucial required document – is the title of ownership. Whether you’re selling, gifting, or donating a car in NC, you’ll need to transfer possession to the recipient. Start by filling out the back of the title with their name, address, and date of sale. You should also complete a new Title Application (MVR-1).  Both forms need to be signed in the presence of a notary public. 

  • Odometer Disclosure/Damage Disclosure

If the vehicle is 10 years old or newer, you need to complete an Odometer Disclosure (MVR-180).  Which states the exact number of miles at the time of sale. If the vehicle is 5 years old or newer, you also need to fill out a Damage Disclosure (MVR-181). Which is required by NC law to inform buyers of any known damage during the history of the vehicle. Such as flood damage, a reconstructed title, or a salvaged title.

  • Lien Release

If there’s money still owed on the vehicle, to complete the sale, you need to include a Lien Release.  Which your bank will provide once it’s paid in full. You cannot sell an automobile in NC if there’s a lien still on it.

  • Bill of Sale

A Bill of Sale is only required when selling a car in NC to a dealer, which they will provide. However, even when selling to a private buyer, it’s always a good idea to include one to protect yourself. A Bill of Sale should show the make, model, and year of the vehicle, the VIN, the odometer reading, and the amount of the sale. Be sure to sign this in the presence of a notary public at the same time as the title.

Determining the Fair Market Value

 Fair Market Value
  • NADA Guides

One of the best things about NADA Guides is how simple it is to use. Start by entering the year, make, model, number of miles, the trim package, and any additional items. Once you’ve done that, a set of values will display. These include Rough Trade, Average Trade, Clean Trade, and Retail. Depending on the shape your vehicle is in, these numbers will help you set a fair listing price.

Another great thing about NADA is that almost everyone in the country uses it to price their vehicles. Meaning you’ll be on the same page as anyone interested. While this doesn’t mean you won’t receive lower offers. It does serve as a solid starting point to ensure you get the most out of the sale.

  • Kelly Blue Book

Kelly Blue Book (or KBB for short), is similar to NADA Guides in that it allows you to enter the specifics of your vehicle and receive a set of values in return. Instead of labeling your vehicle as Rough or Clean. The categories include Fair, Good, Very Good, or Excellent. It even shows the percentage of cars that meet each tier. Which helps when determining where yours falls. Where KBB shines, is that it also provides a Private Party value. Ensuring you get the absolute most when selling a car in NC.

Preparing your Vehicle for Sale

Preparing your Vehicle for Sale
  • Mechanical Condition

The last thing buyers want is to inherit someone else’s problems. For this reason, the more mechanically sound your vehicle is, the easier it will be to sell. If you’ve priced it fair using the above advice, then shoppers should be aware of the condition. If you’re trying to get the most cash out of the sale as possible. It’s always a good idea to have your car inspected by a trusted mechanic. Be sure to save a copy of the report, as well as a receipt of any repairs recently made. Use this information to defend your asking price if anyone offers a low number.

If, for some reason, your Service Engine light is on, be sure to inquire about the cause. Sometimes it’s as simple as a loose gas cap.

  • Detail the Interior/Wash the Exterior

If your cars in excellent shape, it signals to the buyer that it’s been well-maintained. A great way to improve the appearance is to clean it inside and out. While hand-washing it yourself and applying a coat of wax is preferred. Even something as simple as a $10 laser wash will do the trick. For that extra level of clean, be sure to invest in a decent tire cleaning spray. The same goes for the interior. Vacuuming the floorboards, shampooing the carpets and seats. And wiping down the trim and dash will make it look fantastic in comparison to doing nothing.

If there’s a smokey smell, try placing a cup of coffee beans inside, it will help absorb some of the odor. Try to air your vehicle out before showing it, you don’t want interested parties to develop a headache.

  • Fix Small Issues

Fixing small things like dings, dents, tears, scratches, and minor mechanical issues. Will go a long way towards getting the most for your vehicle. Why? Because when a buyer sees something that’s noticeable, that draws their attention, it lowers their perceived value. Using a dealer, for instance. When they see a ding or dent, they immediately make a note to reduce their offer, usually between $300 to $500. Small body damage can be fixed for a fraction of this amount, usually about $50. The same goes for interior damage. Instead of taking a hit because of a small tear in your upholstery, consider bringing it to a repair shop yourself.

  • Remove the License Plates

The final step to completing the sale of a car in North Carolina is to remove the license plates. Be sure to wait until the sale is completed.  While in some states, you keep them or transfer them to another vehicle, in NC, you must turn them in at the nearest DMV. You have 10-days to do so. Otherwise, you risk having to pay a $50 restoration fee, a $50 service fee, and any additional license fees.

how to transfer a car title in nc

  • Online Listing Sites

We currently live in a time when selling a car is easier than ever, thanks to online listing sites. Popular ones include Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, CarGurus, and eBay. If you choose to try this route.  Be sure to include several clear photos showing your vehicle from every direction, as well as several of the interior. You can use a quarter to show the tread left on each tire as well.

Be sure to include as much accurate information about your vehicle as possible to ensure you don’t run into any issues. While deciding to hide a problem might seem like a solid idea, it’s usually better to disclose them. People tend to buy from those they trust.

  • Bulletin Boards

The trick to selling a car in NC in the shortest time possible is getting the highest number of people to see that it is for sale as you can. While online listing sites are great to reach a mass market, not everyone uses them. To ensure you don’t miss a chunk of the buyers, consider some old-school bulletin boards.

Try local universities, supermarkets, or shopping malls – places where lots of people will see it. Be sure to include as much information about your vehicle as possible.  Including the suggested market price, the listing price, the condition, and any recent repairs or additions.

  • For-Sale Sign

Another old-school tactic that works, For-Sale signs. Whether sitting in your driveway or sitting in traffic, there’s no reason not to post a sign showing it’s for sale. Be sure to place it somewhere it won’t obstruct your view. An asking price and your phone number are all you need to show.

Who Buys Cars in NC?

  • Dealers

Dealers are likely the first thought by many when selling their cars in NC. But that doesn’t mean they’re the best. Dealers make their money by buying your car for the least amount possible and then selling it for the most. If you’re willing to put in the time to market it yourself, then you’ll get a lot more out of it. Another thing to remember is that dealers look for cars that are no more than 10-years old. Why? Because anything older is more difficult to approve a loan on. The same goes for miles, if there’s much more than 100,000, they’ll offer a lot less.

Be sure to use NADA Guides and KBB if you do choose to visit a dealer, this will ensure you at least receive a fair price.

  • Private Buyers

If you’ve followed the advice given in this article about completing the required documents, pricing it fair, preparing it for sale. And how to market it, then selling to a private buyer should be simple. Selling a car in NC, privately, is also likely to yield the highest price, as long as you’re willing to invest the time. Remember to provide as much data as possible, including receipts of recent repair work, any estimates, and printouts from NADA and KBB.

  • Scrapyards

Not all of us can say we own a vehicle that others would want. Whether it’s in rough shape, has a ton of miles, or is more than a few years old, some sell better at a scrapyard. Scrapyards make their money by selling a vehicle part by part and melting down the remaining metal. Because of this, the more metal your car has, the more it’s worth, which usually equates to the more it weighs, the higher the value. The price of metal rises and falls, so it’s not always the best route to take.

If you think you’ll have the most luck at a scrapyard, be sure to check out our previous article on how to scrap your car for the most cash possible.

Selling a Car in NC to Someone Out of State

The first step to selling a car in NC to someone out of state – is to protect yourself. The last thing you want is to make an error with your paperwork. For this reason, the best advice is to call the DMV and inquire about the specific state in question.

Used Car Websites

Buying a new or used vehicle is a big decision — both financially and in terms of the amount of time we spend in our cars. In the twenty-first century, there is an app for car buying. Cars, trucks, and SUVs of all types can be found online. You do not even need to leave your couch to research, browse, inquire, and finance your next vehicle.

Here are some of the best used-car websites today.


Because Autolist is an aggregator (like, the easy-to-use Autolist site displays millions of vehicles from many different sources. Users can view details such as the length of time a given vehicle has been on the market, plus any price changes for that vehicle. Autolist has one of the highest-rated used-car apps available. It works with both Android or iOS phones, and just like the website, it checks multiple online databases to help you locate your dream car.

The app also has instant price-drop alerts and high-res pictures to help you find the best deals on the most local listings. Shoppers can even apply for financing through the Autolist app. Autolist offers a unique feature called family sharing. With family sharing, as many as six family members can share information through the app in real-time. Autolist also offers reviews, industry insights, a Rotten Tomatoes-style aggregator of older vehicle reviews, and buyer’s guides to help steer you through the car-buying process.

Go to Autolist


Similar to other websites on this list, AutoTempest’s search results are drawn from multiple sources. Their website and app work similarly to the others sites, including the ability to save searches. They have a lot of other useful information as well, including an up-to-date blog, buying guides, and car reviews. While you can filter your car searches, the criteria for doing so are much more limited compared to other sites, although some might consider it to be streamlined. Either way, the essential information is provided. Choices include make, model, distance, price, year, mileage, vehicle type, transmission, and whether it’s for sale from a private party or by a dealer.

Go to Autotempest


Because nearly predates the internet itself, it has a longstanding reputation that has been built upon decades of trust. Available as a website since 1997, Autotrader has over 3 million listings drawn from 40,000 dealers and 250,000 private sellers, and its vehicle selection is immense. The Autotrader website has a wide variety of filters that can help you narrow your search down to exactly the type of vehicle you’re looking for. You can save your searches and even apply for insurance and a loan through the site.

Go to Autotrader


Bring A Trailer started as a listing of interesting cars for sale around the country, now it is a full-blown auction site, with rare and unusual vehicles often selling for astounding figures. It is the place to find that social ride or merely kill an endless amount of time browsing high-dollar exotics and absurdly clean early 2000s commuters. Recently, a pristine 2000 Honda Civic SI sold for $50,000. If you are in the market for something unusual or have wads of cash to blow, check out

Go to Bring A Trailer

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This is a company that seeks to build trust through transparency. You will find many of the same search options on their website as you’ll find on the other sites. However, you will also find the CarGurus valuation of a given vehicle based on typical search criteria on top of usual search options. This algorithm used by CarGurus is similar to the methods used by KBB. The information they use to make this determination includes comparable car listings and pricing data on vehicles that have recently sold. Ratings are based on mileage, trim, vehicle history, and a multitude of other factors. CarGurus honestly rates each available car deal as being Overpriced, High, Fair, Good, or Great.

Go to CarGurus

Carmax is a dealership specializing in high-quality used cars, many available with the internet-famous Carmax warranty. This website isn’t the best for those looking for a killer deal because of its no-haggle policy, but it is an excellent place for people who want the most effortless car shopping and buying experience. For those looking for the ease of browsing and buying online, without the anxiety-inducing Craigslist test drive, Carmax can be a good option. Browse, buy, and the car can be ready for pick up, virtually all online or on their mobile app.

Go to Carmax

7. is one of the largest automotive search engines. With thousands of listings covering almost every car, there is also a new tool that rates the value of used vehicles relative to the current market trends. has fewer private sellers, but it’s a great way to search dealers in your area and compare pricing for similar vehicles. also has extensive sorting options to narrow your search by the specs and features you are looking for and leaving out those you do not want. In addition to consumer reviews, the site has now built up an extensive archive of expert reviews written by its editorial staff.

Go to

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This site works to simplify buying a car, and like Autotrader and others on this list, they can help you find financing. The search criteria include make, model, distance, price, mileage, year, color, engine, and even photo availability. CarsDirect also features buying guides, rankings, and vehicle comparisons. Like similar sites, you can save your searches and vehicles of interest. The website also has educational videos, including reviews, car news and reports, and tools that include a trade-in valuation.

Go to CarsDirect


Carvana is another used car dealer that built a business around making the buying experience easier. Buy with confidence with a 7-day money-back guarantee, and have your car delivered to your door. All Carvana vehicles have accident-free vehicle history and pass a 150-point inspection. You can also sell your vehicle to Carvana, even without buying from them. They claim you will get a real offer after filling out a form, which takes just a couple of minutes. With used car values near all-time highs, it may be a good time to see what your car is worth to them. Carvana is also the inventor of the car vending machine changing car sales forever. It is a neat gimmick worth checking out if you want to purchase a car in person.

Go to Carvana


Primarily a classified site, Craigslist doesn’t have many fancy graphics or options, but the site’s selection is fairly broad, and postings usually include photos. You will need to be super savvy and utilize auto checks if you’re going this route because the site is rife with scammers, but it is possible to negotiate a worthwhile deal here.

Search filters through Craigslist include distance, price, make and model, year, mileage, condition, number of cylinders, drivetrain and fuel type, color, size, title status, vehicle type, and transmission type. A point of interest for some is that some sellers on Craigslist might accept cryptocurrency like Bitcoin in exchange for the vehicle they’re selling. You can also create email alerts for the specific attributes of a vehicle that you’re looking for.

Go to Craigslist

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Edmunds originated as a paperback booklet available at newsstands. Decades of experience have made Edmunds a well-respected name in the industry. The website allows you to save searches and favorites and also lets you filter your selections. Although their search functions look similar to the ones available on other sites, they often have more features and options to choose from. Features that allow buyers to narrow and refine more thoroughly. Edmunds also has a wealth of advice and articles to help educate people about the car-buying process and the vehicles themselves.

Go to Edmunds


If you don’t mind a car with plenty of miles on it, Enterprise’s former rental cars can be a good choice. They offer a no-questions-asked, seven-day “buyer’s remorse” period, in addition to their 12-month or 12,000-mile limited powertrain warranty and one year of roadside assistance. Enterprise also provides financing. Unlike most of the other sites mentioned here, the company sells cars only from one source: their retired rental fleets. They also take trade-ins and have special programs for college graduates or first-time car buyers. The website allows you to search by the monthly payment you can afford alongside the same criteria you’ll find on other sites.

Go to Enterprise Car Sales


The words “Blue Book price” have been a part of the American vocabulary for nearly a century, and the Kelley Blue Book website and app both trade on this longstanding name recognition. Not only are they known for providing accurate estimates of your car’s market value, but their site has tools for checking your credit score and calculating car payments. Expert reviews, top ten lists, and recall postings make this site a longtime go-to favorite for automotive information. They also cover motorcycles, snowmobiles, and personal watercraft such as jet skis. KBB also offers an instant cash offer section on their website.

Go to Kelley Blue Book


For classic car, truck, or motorcycle collectors, this is a ‘don’t-miss’ destination. In addition to vehicles, Hemmings helps you locate hard-to-find parts for project cars. Search for vehicles or parts by make, model, type, price range, and category. Hemmings offers a more community feel, through maintaining a blog and regularly sending out newsletters. Hemmings also sells merchandise related to this niche market. They have an email list, fantastic videos, and special events, not to mention apps for Android and iOS, and several print publications to subscribe to.

Go to Hemmings

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