How to Sell a Car in Minnesota

Got a new or used car that you want to sell in Minnesota, on your own terms, without having to trade it in at a car dealership? You can sell a car on your own and potentially reap great financial rewards, even if your car isn't in the best shape. There are plenty of car enthusiasts out there who will buy used cars for the purpose of fixing them up or parting them out to fix other cars. If your car is drivable, you might be able to sell it to a college student.

Determine the car's selling price. Before you can sell your car in Minnesota, you need to find out how much money you will accept for your car. You can find out how much your car is worth by visiting online car value calculators such as the one provided by Kelley Blue Book (see Resources). You may choose to set a price range that spans from the minimum amount you will take, such as $900, up to the ideal selling price, say $2,000, and place your asking price at or near the top of the range (such as $2,000 or $1,800). That way you'll have room to negotiate the price of the car without going lower than your minimum requirement.

Advertise your car. Once you set your selling price, it's time to get the word out. The latest and greatest technique, and also one of the cheapest, is to advertise your car online, particularly on a website such as Craigslist. To advertise on Craigslist, which is free, click My Account to log in or sign up for a free account. Select the Post to Classifieds link and follow the instructions to post your advertisement. You can select the region where the posting will appear, so you can choose to post only in your city or in nearby Minnesota cities as well.

Other methods of advertising your car include placing a paid advertisement in your local newspaper or in a publication, such as Thrifty Nickel. You also can place flyers on bulletin boards inside local colleges, libraries and groceries stores and place a "For Sale" sign on your car. This one could be particularly effective if you live or work in high-traffic areas and if the car is in good shape.

Obtain a release of liability. Once you sell your car, you'll want to consider obtaining a release of liability, which is essentially a form that notifies the state DMV offices that the sold car is no longer registered to you. While a release of liability is not required in Minnesota, as it is in some states, this simple form can protect you from potentially being held responsible for traffic violations performed by the car's new owner. You can visit your local Department of Motor Vehicles office to pick up a form, which is called the "Affidavit to Correct the Ownership Record of a Motor Vehicle," or you can access a copy of this form online by using the link in the Resources section.

Give the car's title of ownership to the buyer. Once the payment clears, you will need to supply the car's buyer with the official title of ownership. If you don't have the title for some reason, contact your local DMV for a replacement copy. You also can supply the buyer with a bill of sale, which is essentially a receipt that includes the year, make, model and vehicle identification number of the vehicle, along with the purchase details, such as price and date of purchase. If you do create a bill of sale, which is highly recommended to make sure there is no disagreement, either currently or in the future, among either party, have it signed by both parties and make a copy for your own records.