Guide to Selling Your Car in Illinois

By Kristen May , last updated November 20, 2011

The process of selling your car in Illinois requires that you carefully follow the steps laid out by the Secretary of State's office. If you do not transfer ownership of the car correctly, you could be held liable for the vehicle after you sell it. In addition, follow some general procedures that apply to car sales nationwide to get the best possible price for your car.

Preparation
Locate your car's title, which you will need to transfer ownership to the buyer. If you cannot find the title, you will need to pay a fee of $95 and submit the Application for Vehicle Transaction(s), which is form VSD 190, and check the box that indicates you would like a duplicate title. If you have a loan on your car, contact the lender to let it know you are planning to sell the vehicle. Find out what the lender's procedure is for paying off the loan and signing over the title to the buyer.
Clean your car thoroughly so it looks its best and assures potential buyers that you have taken care of it well. Gather your maintenance and service records for buyers to look at. If you would like, you can order a vehicle history report from an independent service like Carfax.
Finding a Buyer
List your car for sale in the major newspaper in your area and online. Some high traffic websites for car listings include Craigslist, Cars Direct and Auto Trader. Set a purchase price based on estimates of its value on Kelley Blue Book or NADA Guides.
When potential buyers contact you, set up appointments to show the car. Encourage buyers to inspect it or go with them to have it inspected at a mechanic of their choosing. If a buyer is interested in purchasing the vehicle, agree on a price and take a down payment if you will not complete the sale right away.
Completing Paperwork
The only paperwork you need to complete to transfer the title is the section for transfer of ownership located directly on the Illinois title. Fill in the mileage, date, and your name and signature. Fill in the seller's name yourself based on photo identification and verify that he signs it before he leaves. You also need to remove the license plates from the vehicle. You can either transfer these to another vehicle you own or are about to purchase or destroy them if you will not use them again.
You might also want to draw up a bill of sale and make two copies so you and the buyer can each keep one. The bill of sale should list the vehicle identification number, make, model, year, color, mileage, purchase price and date of sale. You and the buyer should each fill in your names, mailing addresses and signatures. You can show the bill of sale in the future if a dispute over ownership arises. You can also use the bill of sale to specify that the vehicle is being sold "as is" and that you make no guarantees to its performance after the sale.
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