If you are curious on how to sell a car in Ontario privately, you may be confused as to where to start. There are several factors that go into the private sale of a vehicle, leaving the seller overwhelmed.

Here at isure, we want to take the guess work out of the transaction for you. We’ve outlined the best practices to selling a car in Ontario and have answered some common questions along the way.

Where to begin…

Deciding to sell used vehicles has grown in popularity over the past few years. But few understand the amount of work that goes into preparing your car for sale. Before listing, it is important to establish a few key details:

  • Timeline: How quickly do you want or need to sell the car? Are you looking for a quick sale or the right offer?
  • Preparation: Will you repair any existing damage or sell “as is”?
  • Listing: Where are you going to list the vehicle for sale? What are the best websites to choose?
  • Vehicle value: Have you considered your listing price? How much would you like to receive and how little are you willing to settle for?

Details to get in order

Before entertaining offers, there are a few details that need to be taken care of first:

1. Used Vehicle Information Package (UVIP): This package contains the vehicle details, including the year, make, model, colour, body type, cylinders and power.

2. Make sure that the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) on your car matches the number on your permit a.k.a. your green ownership document.

3. Check to ensure the vehicle has no money owing on it.

Once you have cleared the vehicle of any liens and establish that the paperwork is in order, you can move onto listing your vehicle.

Listing your vehicle

Once you have decided to list privately and have the UVIP in order, you can now list your vehicle. Make sure to:

  • Prepare your vehicle for sale, as in having it cleaned/detailed
  • Be sure to snap photos to emphasize your car’s best features
  • Set a competitive price in order to sell quickly and for the best amount possible. The CARFAX Canada Value Range tool considers what similar cars have actually sold for in your area, and then provides you with the average price that they were purchased at

Selling your car privately

Most Canadians start their used car search online. In fact, Canadian car shoppers spend 63% of their vehicle research time online, and 42% of them visit a listing site first. By posting your vehicle on popular listing sites, like AutoTrader, Kijiji and Used.ca, you’re putting yourself in front of potential buyers.

  • Once you have found your buyer and have a mutually agreed upon sale price, it is now your duty to hand over the UVIP, making sure to complete the information on the package.
  • You must also complete and sign the Application for Transfer, located on the back of the vehicle portion” of the permit (registration) and give it to the buyer. You will also need to write the name and address of the buyer, record the current mileage, the date of sale and sign the form yourself. Be sure to keep the “plate” portion of the ownership for your own use.
  • Remove your license plates from the vehicle. Remember, plates travel with the driver, not the vehicle. Make sure you keep the “plate portion” of your permit (ownership) as well. You will need this if you want to register your plates on another vehicle.
  • Transfer funds. Cash and bank drafts that are delivered in person are the best and most secure forms of payment when privately selling your used car. Avoid personal cheques or wire transfers, as these are more susceptible to fraud.

Common questions surrounding the purchase of a user car

What can affect my car’s value?         

Factors such as history of the vehicle, mileage and condition of the car are some of the more obvious determinants of a car’s value. However, there are other factors that have bearing on the vehicle’s value:

  • Color
  • Non-smoker owner
  • Service history & work required
  • Extended warranties
  • After-market features
  • Extras, like winter tires
  • Recent replacements (i.e. battery, brakes, windshield, etc.)
  • Reliability and safety ratings
  • Demand for used cars

Is trading my car in the better option?

While trading your vehicle back to the dealership may seem like the easier and safer option, be aware that you may not get as much money for the car as you would if you sold it privately. Any little scratch, dent or upholstery stain will need to be fixed, and the cost of that repair will likely impact the trade-in value and be deducted from your offer. Visit several dealerships and compare offers when you’re wondering how to sell a car in Ontario.

While selling privately may require more work on your part, the increased profits from putting in the work to advertise and negotiate for yourself can translate to higher profits.

Should I have a contract for selling the car?

Absolutely. If you are wondering how to sell a car in Ontario, well in simple terms, you are making a legal sales transaction. A bill of sale is a type of sales receipt. For private sales, it details the transaction between a buyer and seller. In the case of a car sale, it acts as a proof of ownership transfer. They are both sales receipts and proof of purchase.

What does listing the car “As Is” really mean?

The term “As Is” on a bill of sale means you are selling the car in its current condition. There is no warranty or quality guarantee being offered. As the seller, you are not liable for issues with the car once the sale is completed.

If you list the car “As Is”, the seller will expect that the vehicle may require some work to be done. As a result, this will also mean that they will expect to pay less than the market value. Some of your negotiating power will be lost with cars listed this way, so adjust your expectations. For those in the market for vehicles that don’t mind a little work, it could be a win/win for both the buyer and the seller.

Protect yourself when selling a vehicle privately

Here are a few helpful tips to ensure that you protect yourself while selling a car privately in Ontario :

  • Understand the whole process involved in private vehicle sales
  • Understand what your vehicle is worth “As Is”
  • Don’t give into the pressure of accepting a low offer. Have a friend or family member with you during negotiations, if need be
  • Ensure paperwork is in order prior to listing and to sale
  • Avoid making false claims in the vehicle listing

The question on how to sell a car in Ontario may seem like a daunting task. But with a little bit of research and preparation, it can be the more lucrative option to selling your vehicle. Still have unanswered questions? Contact your isure broker for more information surrounding selling your car and how your car insurance rates will be affected.


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