How to Sell a Car in Boston: State Laws, Paperwork, and Methods to Consider

January 27, 2012

If you want to sell a car in Boston, you need to be familiar with the law regarding auto sales in Massachusetts. You don’t just need to have all the paperwork in order, but you also need to be sure the vehicle you’re selling is in good shape.

Tools and Materials

  • Bill of Sale
  • Title
  • List Of Defects

Step 1 - Preparing Your Car

Massachusetts has some of the stronger consumer protection laws in the United States, and they extend to privately owned vehicles. This means you’ll need to assemble a list of all the known defects on the car under the Used Vehicle Warranty Law. Failure to list them all is against the law and can bring penalties. If you want to sell a junk car in Boston, you'll need to list it as such.

The car you’re selling must also be able to pass the state inspection under the state’s Lemon Aid law. After purchase, the buyer must take the vehicle for state inspection within 7 days prior to registering it. If the car fails, he can return it to you for a refund.

Step 2 - Selling the Car

To sell in a car in Boston, you can advertise the car in the newspaper; either the daily papers or local papers. Research online to find the value of the car and ask for that in your ad, but be willing to negotiate on the price with a buyer. Clean your car inside and out, and keep a for sale sign in the side window. You can also advertise on websites, either with photos or without (adding photos will increase your chances of a sale).

Step 3 - The Sale

When someone is interested in buying the vehicle, make sure they know about all the faults. If there’s a test drive, drive the vehicle yourself unless the other person has coverage to drive your car.

Once you’ve come to agreement on the price for the vehicle, make out a bill of sale once you’ve received the full purchase price. Accept only cash or a cashier’s check. Remember that in most cases, when you sell a car, it is on the buyer to file all the paperwork with the DMV Boston. For your own safety, have both parties sign the bill of sale (it can be either handwritten or you can download a form), date it, and make a copy for your own records.

Step 4 - Final Notes

To complete the transaction when you sell a car in Boston, make sure you sign off on the title of the car and give it to the buyer. If there’s any kind of lien on the car, such as a loan, you need to have talked to the lien holder beforehand and gained their approval for the sale. Also, keep your own copy of the vehicle’s list of defects for comparison if any issues arise later.

The license plate doesn’t go with the car. It stays with you. The purchaser has to buy new tags for the vehicle. Make sure you’ve emptied all of your personal possessions out of the car, and hand over all sets of keys.