Selling a car registered in one state in another, how to?
May 20, 2016 3:12 PM   Subscribe

I have a 1999 Subaru Forester I want to sell ("as is", it starts/runs, but has a misfire issue that makes it not something I want to drive at this point even short distances and it also has a small oil leak and small coolant leak). I drove this car from PA to Baton Rouge, LA and now want to be rid of it. I have the title (no lien), it is registered in PA, and I still have it under my insurance policy.

I was thinking I would post it on Craigslist, but am concerned about how I actually finalize a car sale, do I need to make sure the person has gotten insurance before I hand it over? Do we need to go to the dmv (all my documents are for PA, as I am down here just temporarily). What other paper work is my responsibility? I have never sold a car in any state. My concerns are whether it being from another state is an issue. Additional but I think (?) minor point, is that the car is co-owned with my uncle, but I have a signed, witnessed and notarized power of attorney document for anything related to the car, including its sale.
posted by PinkPoodle to Grab Bag (6 answers total)
I'd register it in LA, THEN sell it.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 3:17 PM on May 20, 2016 [1 favorite]

can't speak to LA or PA but having sold a car that my wife and I co-owned on CL I can tell you that a legal requirement of the sale here in Washington was that both of us had to present a signed title, and possibly other signed docs. So even if you have power of attorney you may have to obtain his signatures as required. Consider completing a title transfer into your sole ownership if you can't obtain his signatures, preferably in LA as Ruthless Bunny suggests.

Another piece of anecdata: I was very close to closing on a car purchase via CL when the seller disclosed that he was a proxy seller and that the car's title was in the name of another man, not a relative, in another state. Since he could not demonstrate to me that he had the legal right to sell the car, I backed out of the sale, and he flipped out completely, swearing at me and threatening to kill me.

I would be very hesitant to engage in a purchase of this car under your stated situation of co-ownership with a power of attorney regarding the sale, and this may reduce your potential market for the car if other prospective buyers feel similarly.

Looking up LA's state law on car sales and title transfer requirements should be a simple google search (although, given that it's Louisiana, who knows).

Best of luck.
posted by mwhybark at 3:32 PM on May 20, 2016

The problem you'll almost certainly run into is that if you're going to sell it in Louisiana in an as-is private sale, they're going to want a Louisiana title. It looks like this FAQ should get you started with that process.
posted by Aleyn at 3:33 PM on May 20, 2016

Additional but I think (?) minor point, is that the car is co-owned with my uncle, but I have a signed, witnessed and notarized power of attorney document for anything related to the car, including its sale.

As a buyer, I'd be very suspicious of this. I don't have a good way of checking the authenticity of that document.

If you don't want to change the registration, you can go to a dealership that buys cars, they might have better ways to confirm that you are indeed able to sell this car and it isn't stolen or half stolen.
posted by yohko at 8:06 PM on May 20, 2016

We did this at Carmax with no issues.
posted by Comrade_robot at 4:12 AM on May 21, 2016 [1 favorite]

I recently purchased a car in Tennessee that was titled in Maryland. There was no trouble with documents, I just had the Maryland title signed over to me and took it to my county clerk's office (where registration is done in TN) and they didn't even bat an eyelash, just issued me a new registration and title in Tennessee. I think you are probably worried over nothing, out of state sales happen all the time. Call the LA DMV and ask if you want to be sure.

Re: power of attorney, the car I bought was also being sold under power of attorney, and yeah, I was a bit sketched out as the buyer but ended up satisfied that his story checked out. In my case the documentation in that part of it was only to assure me, as the buyer, the state didn't care how it was being conveyed. I ended up getting a copy of his power of attorney docs and wrote and had him sign in front of a notary a separate thing (including a copy of his driver's license) affirming that he had the right to sell the car etc.
posted by ghharr at 8:21 AM on May 21, 2016

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