Paperwork Needed to Sell a Vehicle

If you sell your vehicle in Wisconsin, you’ll need to inform the DMV of the sale. You’ll also want to keep copies of the sale for your own records. Selling your car doesn’t have to be overwhelming as long as you keep in mind the paperwork you’ll need.



Before Finding a Buyer

Before you even put your vehicle on the market, you’ll want to appraise your vehicle’s worth based on its make, model, and condition. Then you can compare it with other similar vehicles to set a price that’s fair for both you and your owner. You’ll want to read up on places to advertise your vehicle’s sale as well as buyer negotiation.

During the selling process, it helps to have a vehicle history available. Many buyers will ask you for a vehicle history report, and if they can’t find it with you, they can acquire one elsewhere. Vehicle history reports will answer questions about maintenance, previous damages, accident histories, and odometer readings. Getting a vehicle history report can sometimes help you price the car even before you seek buyers.


After Finding a Buyer

After you’ve negotiated the final sale price with a buyer, you’ll need to transfer the car’s ownership by filing paperwork with the DMV. The main document you’ll need is the vehicle’s title, which has information about the vehicle and the current ownership. In the designated area, you’ll need to supply the following information on the title:

  • The date the vehicle is sold
  • Your authorized signature along with the signature of anyone else who owns the vehicle
  • The name and current address of the buyer
  • The vehicle’s odometer mileage (not required if the vehicle is ten years old or older)
  • The final negotiated price of the vehicle
  • If applicable, the brand disclosure section (applicable to salvaged and rescued vehicles)


If your car’s title has a lien, the buyer needs to be given a lien release that has been completed by the current lien holder.

Wisconsin does not legally require vehicle owners to file a bill of sale, but you may want one for your own edification. These bills are helpful during tax time or as proof of your release of liability should the automobile be involved in an accident or abandoned after it has been sold. The Wisconsin has a downloadable form that you can print from their website for your own convenient. You can also find generic forms on many other websites.


Duplicate Titles

If you don’t have the original title for the vehicle, or it’s been destroyed or damaged, you will need to order a duplicate. It’s easy to apply for a duplicate; there’s an online replacement application as well as an official replacement application form. If you choose not to apply online, you can fill out the form by hand and either send it by mail or bring it in person to your local DMV office.

When you apply for your duplicate online, you’ll be required to pay a $20 application fee as well as an online convenience fee. If you visit your local DMV office in person, you’ll have to pay a $20 application fee and a $5 counter service fee.


Transferring Plates

License plates remain with you and should not be given to the vehicle’s new owner. You can transfer the plates to another vehicle that has been registered in your name. You can also surrender the plates if you do not intend to use them again. The buyer is responsible for getting the new plates after the vehicle is sold.