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North Carolina Selling a Vehicle

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What Are The Basics?

When you sell a car in North Carolina, you comply with certain legal requirements to ensure the sale is properly documented and to avoid penalties. You must sign the title in front of a notary and remove the license plates. Only dealers must supply a bill of sale when they sell a vehicle; however, providing one often prevents disputes later on.

How Do I Sign the Title?

You wait until you are in the presence of the notary, then sign your name in the seller’s section of the reverse side of the title and handprint your name below your signature. All those listed on the front of the title must sign as sellers. NCDMV has notaries available if you and the buyer can go to the office together; if not, you can use another notary. After you’ve signed the title, you give it to the buyer, along with a black and white copy of your driver’s license. You also provide a copy of the lien release, if applicable, the odometer disclosure form (MVR-180), and the Damage Disclosure (MV-181), if the vehicle is five years old or newer.

What if I’ve Lost the Title?

You cannot sell a vehicle without a title. If you’ve lost it, you’ll need to obtain a duplicate title from the NCDMV by filling out Form MVR-4. Plan ahead. NCDMV has a mandatory 15-day waiting period after receipt of the form. You can mail the form or deliver it in person. If you mail the application, use this address:

3148 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699

You must show identification if you apply in person. The fee is $21.50.

What Information is Included in the Bill of Sale?

  • The name and address of the buyer
  • The date of the sale
  • The name and address of the seller
  • The vehicle’s model, year, make, body style, and vehicle identification number (VIN)
  • The purchase amount and terms, including what is paid upfront and the agreed-upon payment plan.
  • The portion of that amount that was paid upfront in cash and the balance the buyer still owes
  • The price of the insurance that the buyer is taking out on the car
  • Any charges levied against the buyer
  • The agreed-upon payment plan
  • Odometer reading

Why do I Need a Bill of Sale?

A bill of sale records the information the buyer will need to title and register the vehicle in their own name. It also protects you from liability should the vehicle later be involved in an accident. The bill of sale also can settle legal disputes between you and the buyer should they arise later.

May I Transfer Plates?

License plates cannot be transferred to a new owner. However, you may transfer them to another vehicle that you own as long as the names on the registration are the same, the vehicle receiving the plates has been inspected, both vehicles have insurance, and the license plate is valid. The fee to transfer plates is $21.50.

What if I Don’t Transfer Plates to a New Vehicle?

North Carolina license plates can be returned at any NCDMV license plate agency or by mail to:

NCDMV Vehicle Registration Section
Renewal Title & Plate Unit
3148 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27697-3148


They also can be dropped off at NCDMV Headquarters, at 1100 New Bern Avenue in Raleigh. However, customers who need a receipt should turn in the plates at a license plate agency or by mail.

What if I Am Giving the Car to Someone Rather than Selling It?

If you are giving the car to someone, such as a relative, you still sign the title and remove the license plates. Cars given to relatives are eligible for exemption from the highway use tax and claim that exemption on form MVR-613.

Last Verified:
Mar 30, 2023