How to Sell a Car Privately in Pennsylvania

pennsylvania garden park area with statue downtown

In Pennsylvania, used car prices at vehicle dealerships have increased by 10.8% since 2021. This means that more and more interested buyers are turning to private sellers to get a better deal on their next vehicle purchase. This also means that if you’re looking to sell your car in Pennsylvania, then you have the competitive advantage.

Now all you have to do is figure out how to sell a used car in Pennsylvania.

Every state has different requirements when it comes to the paperwork. However, many of the steps required to sell a car in Pennsylvania — and elsewhere — are similar. Consider this your step-by-step guide for how to sell a used car in Pennsylvania, the Keystone State.

Selling a Used Car in Pennylvania

When you decide to sell your car privately and take charge of the sale, you’ll need to have a firm grasp on the used car selling laws in Pennsylvania — along with some other critical knowledge. 

For example, you’ll need to dig in and do a little research to find out what your car is worth and how much you’re willing to let it go for. As for the required legal documents, you’ll need to get a little more specific.

These are the steps to selling a used car in Pennsylvania:

selling used car with key fob

Provide Proof of Ownership

ownership spelled out proof

The first of the required documents you’ll need to present is your proof of ownership for the vehicle in question. Once you find a buyer for your car, there are only two important ownership documents that you should need for the sale:

  • The current vehicle registration
  • The Pennsylvania Certificate of Title

If you’re not sure what these documents look like or where to locate them, the State of Pennsylvania has some great online resources, including example documents on the Department of Motor Vehicles in Pennsylvania (DMVP) site.

Lastly, if you’ve misplaced your original title, you’ll have to request a new one using the DMVP Form MV-380 for a $58 fee. This process can take a few weeks, so plan ahead and confirm you have this title before you advertise the vehicle.

Provide a Vehicle History Report

While this isn’t exactly a requirement for car selling laws in Pennsylvania, it is good practice. 

Providing a vehicle history report shows potential buyers that you’re not attempting to hide anything about the vehicle’s past. Thorough vehicle history reports don’t just show reported accidents, they can also include service history, odometer history, titles, registration and more.

Most private party buyers will ask about these items, so it’s best to have the information handy for them. Anything you can do to make the purchase easier for your potential buyer is a win for you.

inspection being done on white sedan for vehicle history report

Prepare a Bill of Sale

motor vehicle bill of sale

A bill of sale is also not necessarily a legal requirement for selling a vehicle in Pennsylvania, but again, it’s good practice to provide one. A bill of sale serves as proof of purchase and proof of the transfer of ownership of a vehicle. It’s essentially a combination of a contract and a sales receipt and it’s beneficial to both parties involved in the transaction.

For the seller, a bill of sale is proof that the sale has been made and that the ownership and title have been surrendered to the buyer. 

For the buyer, the bill of sale is proof of payment and new ownership. It also helps the buyer to register the vehicle in their name and get the title transferred over as it serves as their proof of ownership.

Keep in mind that a bill of sale for a vehicle should always include the following:

  • The year, make, and model of the vehicle
  • The vehicle identification number (the VIN number)
  • The date of the sale and the official purchase price of the vehicle
  • The buyer’s legal full name, address, and signature
  • The seller’s legal full name and signature

Research the Market Value

Skip the generic online book values that give you an opinion that you can’t do anything with and get a real offer along with private party value guidance on the Motobyo platform. Motobyo has done all the research for you. We’ve evaluated the wholesale transactions and the retail sales data. Our fancy pricing tool deciphers millions of real world transactions and delivers values to you that you can take action with. Once your pricing research is done, you’ll have a better idea of how to adequately price your car.

calculating value for the market of used cars

Our pricing tool takes into consideration your vehicle’s options, miles and condition and delivers pricing guidance that you can actually use. Knowing your car’s true value will help you avoid falling for lowball offers as it will help you decide what a fair value is.

Consider Your Selling Options

Gone are the days when you would take out an ad in the newspaper. Nowadays there are online options to help prospective buyers find your vehicle ad.

thinking about multiple options

If you choose to sell your car on generic marketplace sites or social media platforms like Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace, you’ll need to be very careful. These sites were never designed to sell vehicles, so they offer very little assistance. There are also a lot of cybercriminals out there posing as potential buyers and you’ll have to be very diligent to weed out the scammers and not be taken advantage of. From fake certified checks to nonsense stories about  out of country buyers, you’ll definitely hear many stories if you advertise a car on these platforms.

You could try a website that dealers advertise on like, Autotrader, Cargurus, etc as well. The problem with these sites is that they cater to dealers who pay them for premium placement, so your ad rarely gets found. These sites advise private party sellers that the sale could take 75 days or more to sell and that timeframe doesn’t match many seller’s plans.

Alternatively, you could advertise your vehicle for sale on a site that is built for private party vehicle buyers and sellers to succeed. A site that knows exactly what paperwork is needed, what a fair value is for your vehicle, how to properly prepare a vehicle for sale, how to properly complete the sale and how to do all of this in seven days or less. There’s only one solution that does all of this for you, that’s Motobyo. The only platform dedicated to private party success.

Have the Car Washed or Detailed

You want your car to be presentable for both the photos you’ll be taking for the advertisement and for the buyer.

First impressions mean a lot, so having a shiny appearance and pleasant smell will help close the deal when the time is right.

Have the Car Inspected

When it comes to selling your car privately, it’s important to have a vehicle that’s in proper working order and not in need of any repairs that could be considered safety concerns. You should arrange to have it inspected before listing the car and keep the records handy for potential buyers to examine. If you choose to sell on the Motobyo platform, don’t bother having it inspected on your own because we’ll help. Vehicle inspections performed by our partner shops are automatically uploaded to your online listing saving you time and questions from potential buyers.

mechanic looking under the hood

Create Your Listing

car driving through mountains

Once you’ve decided upon the platform you’ll use to sell the car privately, and you have it ready to go, now is the time to put your vehicle out for all to see.

When you create your online listing, you’ll want to take high-quality photos of your car from all angles. Think about what you would want to see if you were looking at used cars online and what would appeal to you most.

For example, make sure each photo is well-lit so potential buyers can actually see everything. 

That way, there are no surprises if they come to see the car in person prior to making the purchase.

From there, you’ll also need to write a detailed description of the car. Include information about the make and model, trim level, year, features, mileage, and overall condition. Be sure to also include any special features, options and anything else that might be unique.

It’s also a good idea to mention the service history, any recent repairs and any needed cosmetic or mechanical repair work.

Transfer the Title

Once your potential buyer decides to make things official, the next step is to transfer the title. This is one of the most important steps and being thorough here can save you headaches in the future. First of all, if you’re going to meet your buyer in person to hand over the vehicle and collect your money – an excellent place to meet is your local tag agent. You’ll want to make sure that your buyer handles their business at the tag agent and transfers ownership right away. The vehicle is still in your name until this title transfer has been officially completed.

  • Write your name on the title and sign it where indicated
  • Meet with an authorized agent (Tag Agent) of the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) to make the transfer official
  • Be sure to include the mileage on the title and Bill of Sale
  • Have the buyer sign the title and Bill of Sale
  • Schedule a time for the buyer to pick up the car and handle the title transfer
  • Make copies of everything and keep for your file
transfer files and car title

Remove the License Plate

The very last thing you’ll need to do before handing over the keys to the new buyer is removing your license plate. Once removed, you can send back to the State of Pennsylvania at:

remove license plate

PennDOT at Bureau of Motor Vehicles
Return Tag Unit
P.O. Box 68597
Harrisburg, PA 17106-8597

PENNDOT has not required the return of old license plates for years, but you may want to return it if you won’t be using it. If you plan to just throw it away, make sure to cut i up into small pieces so it cannot be used again if found.

You’ll also want to get in touch with your insurance company ad update them on the sale of your vehicle.

How to Sell Your Car in Pennsylvania with Motobyo

The best way to sell a car privately is a no-brainer: Come to Motobyo!

For starters, Motobyo will make you an instant cash offer that you can redeem immediately at any of our conveniently located Buying Centers.

You may be thinking right now, “Well I want to sell my car to a Private Party buyer so I can get the most money for it. Why would I care about this cash offer?” The folks here at Motobyo couldn’t agree more. You should find a Private party buyer and get paid what your car is worth. Nobody is a bigger fan of people that take control of their sales process and succeed! What the cash offer does for you is set a floor price. Now you know exactly what the cash value is for your vehicle and you can confidently deal with your potential buyers and you can turn down low offers and turn away time wasters.


Next, Motobyo scours the Earth for vehicle transaction data to deliver you our expert opinion and guidance on your Private party value. From auction websites, retail websites and state DMV records – we do the research to save you time. It’s no surprise that mispricing your car and advertising it to the world will produce little results, it’s best to start with the correct value.

After that, Motobyo empowers our Private Party buyers with everything they need to successfully purchase a used vehicle. These services and solutions include instant vehicle financing approvals, instant automobile insurance quotes, 50 State DMV service, door to door vehicle transport services, independent vehicle inspections, extended service contracts and more.

You may be asking “What do these buyer benefits have to do with me? I’m looking to sell my car. Why should I care?” Motobyo offers all of these purchasing solutions to our Private Party buyers to make their purchase experience safe, seamless and efficient. In fact, Motobyo is the only used car marketplace that does this.

Why should that matter to our sellers? Because masses of informed, empowered cash buyers who are ready and able to make a purchase are good folks to have looking at your vehicle that’s for sale. These services and solutions make it possible for your vehicle to sell on Motobyo in ten days or less while other online ads brag about selling a car in seventy five days! 

The Motobyo platform was built exclusively for Private Party sellers and buyers to succeed. 

Learn more about how we work today and how we can help you sell your Pennsylvania car with ease.

Pennsylvania Car Selling FAQs

Can I Sell My Pennsylvania Car in Other States?

The short answer here is yes, you can sell your Pennsylvania car in another state. However, there may be a few extra steps you’ll need to take to complete the sale in regard to other state requirements and PennDOT. Do your research on the other state DMV website to confirm.

Can I Sell My Car in Pennsylvania Without a Title?

If you’ve misplaced your title, apply for a new one before advertising your vehicle for sale. This process can take weeks and being prepared for your sale will save time and headaches later. Use PENNDOTForm MV-380 to apply for your duplicate.

Can I Sell My Car with a Lien?

A lien is established as soon as you finance a car, which means the lender holds your car’s title as collateral until the loan is paid in full. You can still sell your car with a lien, but you’ll need to address the requirements with your lender and make sure the loan is paid in full during the sales transaction.