Car Deal Canada

How to Sell a Car in Alberta

How to sell a car in Alberta

Selling a used car on your own in Alberta can seem like a daunting task. There’s paperwork to figure out, pricing your car competitively, creating ads, negotiating with potential buyers, and ensuring the sale is done properly and legally. While the process does require some effort on your part, it’s very manageable if you understand the key steps involved.

This comprehensive guide will walk you through how to successfully sell your used car in Alberta from start to finish. We’ll cover determining your car’s value, gathering the right documents, writing an effective ad, pricing strategically, transferring ownership properly, and more.

By following the tips outlined here, you can sell your car smoothly for a fair price without any hassles. Avoiding common mistakes will make the process quicker and easier for both you and the buyer. Most importantly, you’ll walk away with the most money in your pocket.

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Determine Your Vehicle’s Value

Getting an accurate appraisal of your vehicle’s value is one of the most important steps when selling your car privately in Alberta. This will help you set a competitive asking price and properly market your car.

There are a few ways to determine your car’s estimated value:

 

  • Get a vehicle appraisal – Take your car to a professional appraiser or auto shop and have them assess its overall condition and value. This will likely cost $50-$150 but provides an expert opinion.
  • Compare prices for similar vehicles – Research current asking prices for the same make, model, year and trim of your car being sold in your local market. Look at both dealership and private sale listings to get a good sense of real market value.
  • Use online pricing tools like the Canadian Black Book or Carproof’s My Car Value tool to get a free instant valuation based on your vehicle’s specifics.
  • Check recent selling prices for your car’s make and model on autoTrader.ca’s Price Trends tool.

 

Aim to determine a realistic market value range for your vehicle based on its age, mileage, equipment and overall condition. This will allow you to price it fairly for buyers.

 

Gather the Required Documents

Before you can sell your car in Alberta, you’ll need to gather some important paperwork. This documentation provides proof of ownership and details the service history to share with potential buyers.

 

Ownership Documents

The main document you’ll need is the vehicle registration certificate. This certificate of title shows your name as the legal owner of the car. It should be signed and transferred to the new owner when you sell the vehicle.

You’ll also need the bill of sale from when you originally purchased the car. This will show the sales price, date of sale, vehicle details and info on the previous owner.

 

Service Records

Any service and maintenance records will be useful to have on hand. These documents list all the repairs, parts replacements and regular service the car has received over the years.

Service records show that you have properly maintained the vehicle. It gives buyers confidence in the car’s condition and may help you negotiate a higher selling price.

 

List of Repairs

In addition to service records, make a list of any major repairs or replacements like the timing belt, water pump, transmission rebuild, etc. Major repairs can significantly extend the lifespan of certain components.

Providing a full repair history allows buyers to better evaluate the health and value of your used vehicle before purchasing.

 

Clean and Photograph Your Vehicle

Making your vehicle sparkle inside and out is essential to getting top dollar. Buyers will be turned off by dirt, stains, garbage and other messes left behind in the car.

Give the interior a deep and thorough cleaning. Shampoo floor mats and carpets, use a leather cleaner on upholstery, wipe down all surfaces, vacuum, and make sure to get rid of any lingering odors or smoke smells.

The exterior should be hand-washed and waxed for maximum shine. Pay extra attention to the wheels and try to get rid of brake dust. Inspect the paint for any chips or scratches that could be touched up. Make it look as close to showroom condition as possible.

After cleaning, park the vehicle somewhere with abundant natural daylight. Avoid shadows. Take high-resolution photos from multiple angles inside and out. Capture any imperfections you couldn’t remove. Include close ups of the tires, wheels, seats, dashboard, odometer etc. Clean photos help buyers gain confidence in the accuracy of your listing.

 

Write a Detailed Listing

The listing description is one of the most important parts of selling your car privately. This is where you can highlight all the great features and attributes of your vehicle to attract potential buyers. Be sure to include key details like:

 

  • Make, model, year
  • Mileage
  • Engine size
  • Transmission type
  • Exterior color
  • Interior features
  • Maintenance records
  • Modifications or upgrades

 

Provide an accurate odometer reading and maintenance history. Buyers want to know the true condition of the vehicle. Be upfront about any issues, repairs needed, or defects. Disclose any accidents or damage. This builds trust and avoids problems down the line.

Include high-quality photos that showcase your vehicle inside and out. Clean it thoroughly before taking pictures. Capture the exterior from multiple angles in good lighting. Get shots of the interior from both the front and back seats. If you have any prior damage, take photos of that as well.

Your listing should highlight what makes your car worth buying. Mention sought-after options, upgrades, or recent maintenance. Provide detailed descriptions to create excitement and draw buyers in.

 

Decide on a Price

One of the most important steps when selling a used car in Alberta is deciding on an appropriate asking price. This requires carefully factoring in the vehicle’s condition, features, mileage, demand and the current market value. Be objective when assessing your car’s worth – don’t get attached to what you originally paid or invested into it. Look up prices for similar vehicles locally and nationally to get a realistic range.

The condition of your car will be a major determinant of its value. Have it thoroughly inspected and detail any defects, damage or wear and tear. Vehicles in excellent or good condition can fetch higher prices. However, even cars requiring some repairs can sell with proper disclosure and adjusted pricing.

Consider demand for your particular year, make, model and trim when pricing it. Research sales data to see which types of vehicles are popular among buyers in your area. If it’s a common model, you may need to price it competitively. Rare, classic or specialty vehicles can potentially command higher premiums.

Ultimately, pick an asking price near the higher end of your estimated fair market value range. This leaves room for negotiation later. Expect buyers to make lower counteroffers – don’t take it personally or get offended. Remain flexible and willing to adjust your price if you really want to make the sale. Set a minimum threshold you’re willing to accept, and be prepared to walk away from lowball offers.

 

Advertise the Vehicle

When you’re ready to sell your vehicle, advertising it is key to connecting with interested buyers. There are a few main ways to get the word out that your car is for sale:

 

Online Platforms

Listing your vehicle on popular online sites exposes it to a huge audience of potential buyers. Platforms like AutoTrader, Kijiji, and Facebook Marketplace allow you to create detailed listings with photos that people can browse when searching for cars for sale. Dedicated automotive marketplaces like AutoTrader tend to attract more serious buyers since people go there specifically to shop for vehicles.

 

Local Classifieds

Posting in classified ad sections of local newspapers and community websites targets buyers right in your area. While this may be a smaller audience than national sites, it zeroes in on people looking to buy locally. Creating concise but descriptive classified ads and including your contact info and a few photos can generate local interest.

 

Dealerships

Some dealerships buy used vehicles directly from owners through their finance and insurance departments. This provides a quick and convenient option for selling, but you may not get top dollar. Dealers need to make a profit reselling vehicles, so research valuation and consider your options before going this route.

 

Screen Potential Buyers

Thoroughly screening potential buyers before moving forward with a sale is crucial. This helps weed out non-serious inquiries and prevents wasted time. When a prospective buyer contacts you about the car, ask them questions to confirm they are a legitimate buyer. Some important questions to ask include:

 

  • Why are they interested in this particular car?
  • Do they have financing already lined up or will they be paying cash?
  • Have they taken a test drive yet or inspected the car?
  • Are they available to complete the sale within your timeframe if everything checks out?

 

Pay attention to how promptly and thoroughly they answer your questions. Serious buyers will be happy to provide details on their situation. Be wary of those who dodge questions or seem reluctant to provide information.

It’s also a good idea to have potential buyers fill out a pre-qualification form where they provide contact details, financial information, and references. This allows you to confirm they have the funds available and are ready to make a purchase. Avoid wasting time on buyers who appear flaky or keep delaying meeting in person.

Thoroughly screening all potential buyers protects you from scams and ensures you only proceed with motivated customers truly ready to purchase your vehicle.

 

Conduct Test Drives

Once you have screened potential buyers and set up appointments, you will need to accompany them on a test drive. Test drives allow buyers to experience how the car handles and identify any issues. As the seller, you should take the following steps during test drives:

 

  • Meet the buyer at the predetermined location and time.
  • Verify their driver’s license is valid before allowing them to drive.
  • Have the buyer show you proof of valid auto insurance before the test drive. This protects you in case of an accident.
  • Ride along in the passenger seat during the test drive.
  • Direct the route and duration of the test drive. A 10-15 minute local drive is usually sufficient.
  • Closely observe how the buyer handles your vehicle.
  • Highlight features and controls of your car during the drive.
  • Take note of any issues or questions raised during the test drive.
  • Have a discussion after the drive to address any concerns.

 

Taking these steps helps ensure your safety and gives you a chance to evaluate interested buyers. Never let a potential buyer test drive the vehicle alone.

 

Receive Payment

When selling a used car in Alberta, it’s important to receive payment in a secure way. Avoid accepting cash, as there is no paper trail or proof of payment. Instead, require a certified cheque or electronic funds transfer.

A certified cheque is a cheque that is guaranteed by the bank, so it won’t bounce. Require the buyer to get a certified cheque made out to you. Only accept the cheque once it has cleared and the funds are in your account. This provides proof of payment.

You can also have the buyer make an electronic transfer directly to your bank account. This also provides a record of the payment. Have the buyer send you confirmation of the transfer before handing over the keys.

By avoiding cash and only accepting cheque or electronic transfer, you reduce the risk of non-payment or fraudulent funds. This provides security when finalizing the used car sale. Be sure to provide a receipt to the buyer as well documenting the sale price and that the payment has been received.

 

Sign Over Ownership

Once you have agreed to a price and received payment from the buyer, it’s time to formally sign over ownership of the vehicle. The most important document in any private vehicle sale in Alberta is the bill of sale. This is a legal document that records the sale and officially transfers ownership from seller to buyer. Both parties must complete and sign two copies of the standard bill of sale – one copy for the buyer and one for the seller.

Make sure to accurately fill in all the required information on the bill of sale, including:

 

  • Your name and buyer’s name
  • Addresses for both parties
  • Date of sale
  • Vehicle details – make, model, year, VIN
  • Odometer reading
  • Purchase price

 

In addition to the bill of sale, it’s highly recommended to provide the buyer with a used vehicle information package that includes a vehicle history report. This comprehensive report will verify the car’s history based on its VIN number. Providing this builds trust and transparency with the buyer. The report should include:

 

  • Verification that the car has not been reported stolen
  • Accident and damage records
  • Odometer readings over the car’s lifetime to detect rollbacks
  • Registration history and number of previous owners
  • Service and repair records

 

Once you have signed the bill of sale and provided supporting documents like the vehicle history report, ownership of the car has been officially transferred to the buyer.

 

Cancel Insurance

Once you’ve sold your vehicle, it’s important to inform your insurance company right away so they can cancel your policy. Most standard auto insurance policies automatically terminate when the insured vehicle is sold, but it’s still a good idea to proactively contact your provider.

Call your insurance company or agent and let them know the date you sold the car. Provide details like the name of the new owner and date of sale. The insurer will then cancel your policy effective on the date of sale.

You may be eligible for a prorated refund on any unused premium. For example, if you sold your car halfway through your annual policy term, you may get back around 50% of the premium. Check with your provider – some may automatically issue a refund check within a few weeks.

Canceling the old policy promptly can also help avoid insurance gaps or overlaps when insuring your next vehicle. Having continuous coverage helps maintain a clean claims record. Be sure any new car you purchase has active insurance before driving it.

 

Remove License Plates

Once you have sold your vehicle and transferred ownership, you’ll need to deal with the license plates. You have two options:

 

  1. Transfer the plates to your new vehicle. To do this, bring your new vehicle ownership, bill of sale, ID, and the plates to a registry agent. They can transfer the registration over to the new vehicle.
  1. Return the plates. If you are not transferring to a new vehicle, you will need to return the plates to a registry agent so they can be cancelled. Make sure to keep your plate cancellation receipt for your records.

 

Returning plates avoids paying registration fees for a vehicle you no longer own. And transferring plates can save time and money since you avoid cancelling and getting new plates.

Discuss plate options with the buyer in case they want to purchase your existing plates. This is permitted in Alberta, but the buyer will have to officially transfer the registration into their name.

Remember to remove the plates from the vehicle once it is sold. Don’t allow the new owner to drive off still displaying your license plates.

 

Report the Sale

Within 10 days of the sale, you must notify the registry office to update the vehicle registration. This ensures the records are accurate and you are no longer liable for the vehicle. Bring the signed bill of sale and your license plates to a registry agent. They will cancel the registration in your name and notify you if there are any outstanding charges.

Make sure to update your driver’s license as well if you are no longer the registered owner of a vehicle. You can do this online through the provincial registry’s website, by phone, or in person at a registry office. Your license may need to be changed from a class 5 license to a class 7 if you no longer have a personal vehicle registered in your name.

 

Conclusion

Selling a car privately in Alberta can seem daunting, but following the step-by-step process outlined in this guide will ensure the transaction goes smoothly. The keys are properly valuing your vehicle, creating an attractive listing, screening buyers carefully, and completing all the paperwork correctly.

By gathering the required documents, cleaning and photographing the vehicle, writing a detailed ad, pricing it right, and advertising it widely, you’ll be able to get your car in front of motivated buyers. Taking the time to meet potential buyers, allow test drives, negotiate tactfully, and accept payment securely will result in finding the ideal purchaser.

Finally, signing over the ownership officially, canceling your insurance, removing license plates, and reporting the sale, will wrap up the obligations of the seller. You’ll then be free to enjoy the proceeds and move on to your next automotive adventure.

With this guide’s step-by-step advice, you now have all the knowledge needed to successfully sell your car privately in Alberta. Just stay organized, patient, and focused on getting the best value, and your for-sale-by-owner experience will be a smooth ride.

Common Questions About Selling a Car in Alberta

To sell your car privately in Alberta, you’ll need to gather information about your vehicle, determine a fair asking price, clean and prepare the car to show potential buyers, advertise online and in your local area, meet interested buyers to show them the vehicle and take them on test drives, negotiate a selling price, complete a bill of sale to transfer ownership, and cancel your license plate or transfer it to another vehicle you own.

The main paperwork required is a bill of sale. The bill of sale contains key details about the vehicle and seller, buyer information, the date of sale, the sale amount, and statements from both parties that the information is accurate. Other paperwork like maintenance records and ownership history can help make the sale but aren’t legally required.

Yes, a standard bill of sale is used to legally transfer ownership from the seller to the buyer when selling/buying a used vehicle in Alberta in a private sale. Both the seller and buyer must complete and sign it for ownership to be exchanged.

As the seller, you just need to provide basic ID information like your full name, address, phone number and driver’s license number on the bill of sale. You do not need to show your physical ID. However, you may want to ask the buyer for ID when accepting payment to ensure the funds are legitimate.

No, Alberta does not require private sellers of used vehicles to have a valid safety inspection certificate like some other provinces. However, having a recent safety certificate showing the vehicle passed inspection can increase buyer confidence and allow you to likely sell it for more money.

No, you do not charge any GST or PST tax when selling a used vehicle privately in Alberta. The buyer may have to pay GST when registering the vehicle under their name depending on its age and value, but no sales taxes apply on private sales.

Yes, you can sell a car with an outstanding loan in Alberta. The process involves paying out the loan balance first so you can provide the buyer with a lien-free title. This usually means taking out a separate loan to pay off the car loan right before selling it. Then the sale proceeds repay your new loan.



The buyer will need the signed bill of sale showing the transfer of ownership from you, their proof of insurance, and identification. If financing, they may also need approval from their lender. They will bring these documents to their local registry agent office to register the car under their name.

Pricing your car appropriately is important to sell it quicker. Check sites like AutoTrader.ca and Kijiji Autos to compare similar vehicle models for sale in your local area. Consider the overall condition, features and mileage compared to those listings to price yours fairly. Leave some room for negotiation as most buyers will make lower offers.

The best places to advertise online are AutoTrader, Kijiji Autos, Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist and online classified sites specific to your nearest large Alberta city like Calgary, Edmonton or Red Deer. Paying to feature your ad can also get more visibility. Advertise locally with “for sale” signs in visible areas and let family, friends and co-workers know you have a car for sale.

To get top dollar, change the oil and fluids, replace worn parts like brake pads and expired items like wiper blades. Fix any mechanical issues and clean the interior spotlessly. Wax the exterior, touch up paint chips, clean the engine bay and make sure there are no warning lights illuminated on the dash.

Provide copies of maintenance and ownership records if possible, but the main document is the bill of sale when it comes time to transfer ownership. Providing Carfax reports and an existing safety certificate can also help justify your asking price and instill buyer confidence.

As the seller, you do not have to transfer ownership into the buyer’s name yourself. Your responsibility is completing and signing over the documentation – bill of sale – and providing it to the buyer. They must use that documentation to visit a registry agent office and register the vehicle under their name.

The buyer should inspect the car first, test drive it next, and if satisfied negotiate a purchase price with you. They must have their own insurance ready before taking ownership. Their other main responsibility is properly registering the car under their name using a signed bill of sale, insurance, and identification.



Legally you should not allow the buyer to drive the vehicle away before formally registering it under their name. However, some sellers do allow a grace period of a few days for the buyer to get insurance and transfer the registration. This comes with risk though as you remain responsible if an issue arises before they register it.

Unlike dealers, there are no sales taxes charged when selling a used car privately in Alberta. You do not need to charge or collect any GST, PST or other taxes. The buyer may later need to pay GST depending on the vehicle’s age and value when registering it.

When selling your car in Alberta, you have two choices regarding your license plate. You can either cancel your plate altogether and be refunded for any unused registration time over 12 months. Or, you can transfer your plate over to another vehicle you own, which avoids cancellation fees.

If you neglect to properly transfer ownership and registration duties when selling your car, you could face fines or demerits. As the registered owner, you will remain responsible for speeding tickets, parking and photo radar tickets, tolls, impound fees and accidents associated with that car until the new buyer registers it under their name.

After purchasing your car with a bill of sale, the buyer must acquire vehicle insurance under their name first. Next, they will bring that insurance document, bill of sale, their driver’s license and payment for any registration fees to their local registry agent office to transfer ownership and register the car under their name.



The buyer should register your vehicle into their name as quickly as possible, ideally within 1-3 days. This transfers legal liability from you as the previous owner over to them. If they delay registration for weeks or months, it creates risk for both parties and is against the law.

 

Determine Your Vehicle’s Value

Getting an accurate appraisal of your vehicle’s value is one of the most important steps when selling your car privately in Alberta. This will help you set a competitive asking price and properly market your car.

There are a few ways to determine your car’s estimated value:

 

  • Get a vehicle appraisal – Take your car to a professional appraiser or auto shop and have them assess its overall condition and value. This will likely cost $50-$150 but provides an expert opinion.
  • Compare prices for similar vehicles – Research current asking prices for the same make, model, year and trim of your car being sold in your local market. Look at both dealership and private sale listings to get a good sense of real market value.
  • Use online pricing tools like the Canadian Black Book or Carproof’s My Car Value tool to get a free instant valuation based on your vehicle’s specifics.
  • Check recent selling prices for your car’s make and model on autoTrader.ca’s Price Trends tool.

 

Aim to determine a realistic market value range for your vehicle based on its age, mileage, equipment and overall condition. This will allow you to price it fairly for buyers.

 

Gather the Required Documents

Before you can sell your car in Alberta, you’ll need to gather some important paperwork. This documentation provides proof of ownership and details the service history to share with potential buyers.

 

Ownership Documents

The main document you’ll need is the vehicle registration certificate. This certificate of title shows your name as the legal owner of the car. It should be signed and transferred to the new owner when you sell the vehicle.

You’ll also need the bill of sale from when you originally purchased the car. This will show the sales price, date of sale, vehicle details and info on the previous owner.

 

Service Records

Any service and maintenance records will be useful to have on hand. These documents list all the repairs, parts replacements and regular service the car has received over the years.

Service records show that you have properly maintained the vehicle. It gives buyers confidence in the car’s condition and may help you negotiate a higher selling price.

 

List of Repairs

In addition to service records, make a list of any major repairs or replacements like the timing belt, water pump, transmission rebuild, etc. Major repairs can significantly extend the lifespan of certain components.

Providing a full repair history allows buyers to better evaluate the health and value of your used vehicle before purchasing.

 

Clean and Photograph Your Vehicle

Making your vehicle sparkle inside and out is essential to getting top dollar. Buyers will be turned off by dirt, stains, garbage and other messes left behind in the car.

Give the interior a deep and thorough cleaning. Shampoo floor mats and carpets, use a leather cleaner on upholstery, wipe down all surfaces, vacuum, and make sure to get rid of any lingering odors or smoke smells.

The exterior should be hand-washed and waxed for maximum shine. Pay extra attention to the wheels and try to get rid of brake dust. Inspect the paint for any chips or scratches that could be touched up. Make it look as close to showroom condition as possible.

After cleaning, park the vehicle somewhere with abundant natural daylight. Avoid shadows. Take high-resolution photos from multiple angles inside and out. Capture any imperfections you couldn’t remove. Include close ups of the tires, wheels, seats, dashboard, odometer etc. Clean photos help buyers gain confidence in the accuracy of your listing.

 

Write a Detailed Listing

The listing description is one of the most important parts of selling your car privately. This is where you can highlight all the great features and attributes of your vehicle to attract potential buyers. Be sure to include key details like:

 

  • Make, model, year
  • Mileage
  • Engine size
  • Transmission type
  • Exterior color
  • Interior features
  • Maintenance records
  • Modifications or upgrades

 

Provide an accurate odometer reading and maintenance history. Buyers want to know the true condition of the vehicle. Be upfront about any issues, repairs needed, or defects. Disclose any accidents or damage. This builds trust and avoids problems down the line.

Include high-quality photos that showcase your vehicle inside and out. Clean it thoroughly before taking pictures. Capture the exterior from multiple angles in good lighting. Get shots of the interior from both the front and back seats. If you have any prior damage, take photos of that as well.

Your listing should highlight what makes your car worth buying. Mention sought-after options, upgrades, or recent maintenance. Provide detailed descriptions to create excitement and draw buyers in.

 

Decide on a Price

One of the most important steps when selling a used car in Alberta is deciding on an appropriate asking price. This requires carefully factoring in the vehicle’s condition, features, mileage, demand and the current market value. Be objective when assessing your car’s worth – don’t get attached to what you originally paid or invested into it. Look up prices for similar vehicles locally and nationally to get a realistic range.

The condition of your car will be a major determinant of its value. Have it thoroughly inspected and detail any defects, damage or wear and tear. Vehicles in excellent or good condition can fetch higher prices. However, even cars requiring some repairs can sell with proper disclosure and adjusted pricing.

Consider demand for your particular year, make, model and trim when pricing it. Research sales data to see which types of vehicles are popular among buyers in your area. If it’s a common model, you may need to price it competitively. Rare, classic or specialty vehicles can potentially command higher premiums.

Ultimately, pick an asking price near the higher end of your estimated fair market value range. This leaves room for negotiation later. Expect buyers to make lower counteroffers – don’t take it personally or get offended. Remain flexible and willing to adjust your price if you really want to make the sale. Set a minimum threshold you’re willing to accept, and be prepared to walk away from lowball offers.

 

Advertise the Vehicle

When you’re ready to sell your vehicle, advertising it is key to connecting with interested buyers. There are a few main ways to get the word out that your car is for sale:

 

Online Platforms

Listing your vehicle on popular online sites exposes it to a huge audience of potential buyers. Platforms like AutoTrader, Kijiji, and Facebook Marketplace allow you to create detailed listings with photos that people can browse when searching for cars for sale. Dedicated automotive marketplaces like AutoTrader tend to attract more serious buyers since people go there specifically to shop for vehicles.

 

Local Classifieds

Posting in classified ad sections of local newspapers and community websites targets buyers right in your area. While this may be a smaller audience than national sites, it zeroes in on people looking to buy locally. Creating concise but descriptive classified ads and including your contact info and a few photos can generate local interest.

 

Dealerships

Some dealerships buy used vehicles directly from owners through their finance and insurance departments. This provides a quick and convenient option for selling, but you may not get top dollar. Dealers need to make a profit reselling vehicles, so research valuation and consider your options before going this route.

 

Screen Potential Buyers

Thoroughly screening potential buyers before moving forward with a sale is crucial. This helps weed out non-serious inquiries and prevents wasted time. When a prospective buyer contacts you about the car, ask them questions to confirm they are a legitimate buyer. Some important questions to ask include:

 

  • Why are they interested in this particular car?
  • Do they have financing already lined up or will they be paying cash?
  • Have they taken a test drive yet or inspected the car?
  • Are they available to complete the sale within your timeframe if everything checks out?

 

Pay attention to how promptly and thoroughly they answer your questions. Serious buyers will be happy to provide details on their situation. Be wary of those who dodge questions or seem reluctant to provide information.

It’s also a good idea to have potential buyers fill out a pre-qualification form where they provide contact details, financial information, and references. This allows you to confirm they have the funds available and are ready to make a purchase. Avoid wasting time on buyers who appear flaky or keep delaying meeting in person.

Thoroughly screening all potential buyers protects you from scams and ensures you only proceed with motivated customers truly ready to purchase your vehicle.

 

Conduct Test Drives

Once you have screened potential buyers and set up appointments, you will need to accompany them on a test drive. Test drives allow buyers to experience how the car handles and identify any issues. As the seller, you should take the following steps during test drives:

 

  • Meet the buyer at the predetermined location and time.
  • Verify their driver’s license is valid before allowing them to drive.
  • Have the buyer show you proof of valid auto insurance before the test drive. This protects you in case of an accident.
  • Ride along in the passenger seat during the test drive.
  • Direct the route and duration of the test drive. A 10-15 minute local drive is usually sufficient.
  • Closely observe how the buyer handles your vehicle.
  • Highlight features and controls of your car during the drive.
  • Take note of any issues or questions raised during the test drive.
  • Have a discussion after the drive to address any concerns.

 

Taking these steps helps ensure your safety and gives you a chance to evaluate interested buyers. Never let a potential buyer test drive the vehicle alone.

 

Receive Payment

When selling a used car in Alberta, it’s important to receive payment in a secure way. Avoid accepting cash, as there is no paper trail or proof of payment. Instead, require a certified cheque or electronic funds transfer.

A certified cheque is a cheque that is guaranteed by the bank, so it won’t bounce. Require the buyer to get a certified cheque made out to you. Only accept the cheque once it has cleared and the funds are in your account. This provides proof of payment.

You can also have the buyer make an electronic transfer directly to your bank account. This also provides a record of the payment. Have the buyer send you confirmation of the transfer before handing over the keys.

By avoiding cash and only accepting cheque or electronic transfer, you reduce the risk of non-payment or fraudulent funds. This provides security when finalizing the used car sale. Be sure to provide a receipt to the buyer as well documenting the sale price and that the payment has been received.

 

Sign Over Ownership

Once you have agreed to a price and received payment from the buyer, it’s time to formally sign over ownership of the vehicle. The most important document in any private vehicle sale in Alberta is the bill of sale. This is a legal document that records the sale and officially transfers ownership from seller to buyer. Both parties must complete and sign two copies of the standard bill of sale – one copy for the buyer and one for the seller.

Make sure to accurately fill in all the required information on the bill of sale, including:

 

  • Your name and buyer’s name
  • Addresses for both parties
  • Date of sale
  • Vehicle details – make, model, year, VIN
  • Odometer reading
  • Purchase price

 

In addition to the bill of sale, it’s highly recommended to provide the buyer with a used vehicle information package that includes a vehicle history report. This comprehensive report will verify the car’s history based on its VIN number. Providing this builds trust and transparency with the buyer. The report should include:

 

  • Verification that the car has not been reported stolen
  • Accident and damage records
  • Odometer readings over the car’s lifetime to detect rollbacks
  • Registration history and number of previous owners
  • Service and repair records

 

Once you have signed the bill of sale and provided supporting documents like the vehicle history report, ownership of the car has been officially transferred to the buyer.

 

Cancel Insurance

Once you’ve sold your vehicle, it’s important to inform your insurance company right away so they can cancel your policy. Most standard auto insurance policies automatically terminate when the insured vehicle is sold, but it’s still a good idea to proactively contact your provider.

Call your insurance company or agent and let them know the date you sold the car. Provide details like the name of the new owner and date of sale. The insurer will then cancel your policy effective on the date of sale.

You may be eligible for a prorated refund on any unused premium. For example, if you sold your car halfway through your annual policy term, you may get back around 50% of the premium. Check with your provider – some may automatically issue a refund check within a few weeks.

Canceling the old policy promptly can also help avoid insurance gaps or overlaps when insuring your next vehicle. Having continuous coverage helps maintain a clean claims record. Be sure any new car you purchase has active insurance before driving it.

 

Remove License Plates

Once you have sold your vehicle and transferred ownership, you’ll need to deal with the license plates. You have two options:

 

  1. Transfer the plates to your new vehicle. To do this, bring your new vehicle ownership, bill of sale, ID, and the plates to a registry agent. They can transfer the registration over to the new vehicle.
  1. Return the plates. If you are not transferring to a new vehicle, you will need to return the plates to a registry agent so they can be cancelled. Make sure to keep your plate cancellation receipt for your records.

 

Returning plates avoids paying registration fees for a vehicle you no longer own. And transferring plates can save time and money since you avoid cancelling and getting new plates.

Discuss plate options with the buyer in case they want to purchase your existing plates. This is permitted in Alberta, but the buyer will have to officially transfer the registration into their name.

Remember to remove the plates from the vehicle once it is sold. Don’t allow the new owner to drive off still displaying your license plates.

 

Report the Sale

Within 10 days of the sale, you must notify the registry office to update the vehicle registration. This ensures the records are accurate and you are no longer liable for the vehicle. Bring the signed bill of sale and your license plates to a registry agent. They will cancel the registration in your name and notify you if there are any outstanding charges.

Make sure to update your driver’s license as well if you are no longer the registered owner of a vehicle. You can do this online through the provincial registry’s website, by phone, or in person at a registry office. Your license may need to be changed from a class 5 license to a class 7 if you no longer have a personal vehicle registered in your name.

 

Conclusion

Selling a car privately in Alberta can seem daunting, but following the step-by-step process outlined in this guide will ensure the transaction goes smoothly. The keys are properly valuing your vehicle, creating an attractive listing, screening buyers carefully, and completing all the paperwork correctly.

By gathering the required documents, cleaning and photographing the vehicle, writing a detailed ad, pricing it right, and advertising it widely, you’ll be able to get your car in front of motivated buyers. Taking the time to meet potential buyers, allow test drives, negotiate tactfully, and accept payment securely will result in finding the ideal purchaser.

Finally, signing over the ownership officially, canceling your insurance, removing license plates, and reporting the sale, will wrap up the obligations of the seller. You’ll then be free to enjoy the proceeds and move on to your next automotive adventure.

With this guide’s step-by-step advice, you now have all the knowledge needed to successfully sell your car privately in Alberta. Just stay organized, patient, and focused on getting the best value, and your for-sale-by-owner experience will be a smooth ride.

Common Questions About Selling a Car in Alberta

To sell your car privately in Alberta, you’ll need to gather information about your vehicle, determine a fair asking price, clean and prepare the car to show potential buyers, advertise online and in your local area, meet interested buyers to show them the vehicle and take them on test drives, negotiate a selling price, complete a bill of sale to transfer ownership, and cancel your license plate or transfer it to another vehicle you own.

The main paperwork required is a bill of sale. The bill of sale contains key details about the vehicle and seller, buyer information, the date of sale, the sale amount, and statements from both parties that the information is accurate. Other paperwork like maintenance records and ownership history can help make the sale but aren’t legally required.

Yes, a standard bill of sale is used to legally transfer ownership from the seller to the buyer when selling/buying a used vehicle in Alberta in a private sale. Both the seller and buyer must complete and sign it for ownership to be exchanged.

As the seller, you just need to provide basic ID information like your full name, address, phone number and driver’s license number on the bill of sale. You do not need to show your physical ID. However, you may want to ask the buyer for ID when accepting payment to ensure the funds are legitimate.

No, Alberta does not require private sellers of used vehicles to have a valid safety inspection certificate like some other provinces. However, having a recent safety certificate showing the vehicle passed inspection can increase buyer confidence and allow you to likely sell it for more money.

No, you do not charge any GST or PST tax when selling a used vehicle privately in Alberta. The buyer may have to pay GST when registering the vehicle under their name depending on its age and value, but no sales taxes apply on private sales.

Yes, you can sell a car with an outstanding loan in Alberta. The process involves paying out the loan balance first so you can provide the buyer with a lien-free title. This usually means taking out a separate loan to pay off the car loan right before selling it. Then the sale proceeds repay your new loan.



The buyer will need the signed bill of sale showing the transfer of ownership from you, their proof of insurance, and identification. If financing, they may also need approval from their lender. They will bring these documents to their local registry agent office to register the car under their name.

Pricing your car appropriately is important to sell it quicker. Check sites like AutoTrader.ca and Kijiji Autos to compare similar vehicle models for sale in your local area. Consider the overall condition, features and mileage compared to those listings to price yours fairly. Leave some room for negotiation as most buyers will make lower offers.

The best places to advertise online are AutoTrader, Kijiji Autos, Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist and online classified sites specific to your nearest large Alberta city like Calgary, Edmonton or Red Deer. Paying to feature your ad can also get more visibility. Advertise locally with “for sale” signs in visible areas and let family, friends and co-workers know you have a car for sale.

To get top dollar, change the oil and fluids, replace worn parts like brake pads and expired items like wiper blades. Fix any mechanical issues and clean the interior spotlessly. Wax the exterior, touch up paint chips, clean the engine bay and make sure there are no warning lights illuminated on the dash.

Provide copies of maintenance and ownership records if possible, but the main document is the bill of sale when it comes time to transfer ownership. Providing Carfax reports and an existing safety certificate can also help justify your asking price and instill buyer confidence.

As the seller, you do not have to transfer ownership into the buyer’s name yourself. Your responsibility is completing and signing over the documentation – bill of sale – and providing it to the buyer. They must use that documentation to visit a registry agent office and register the vehicle under their name.

The buyer should inspect the car first, test drive it next, and if satisfied negotiate a purchase price with you. They must have their own insurance ready before taking ownership. Their other main responsibility is properly registering the car under their name using a signed bill of sale, insurance, and identification.



Legally you should not allow the buyer to drive the vehicle away before formally registering it under their name. However, some sellers do allow a grace period of a few days for the buyer to get insurance and transfer the registration. This comes with risk though as you remain responsible if an issue arises before they register it.

Unlike dealers, there are no sales taxes charged when selling a used car privately in Alberta. You do not need to charge or collect any GST, PST or other taxes. The buyer may later need to pay GST depending on the vehicle’s age and value when registering it.

When selling your car in Alberta, you have two choices regarding your license plate. You can either cancel your plate altogether and be refunded for any unused registration time over 12 months. Or, you can transfer your plate over to another vehicle you own, which avoids cancellation fees.

If you neglect to properly transfer ownership and registration duties when selling your car, you could face fines or demerits. As the registered owner, you will remain responsible for speeding tickets, parking and photo radar tickets, tolls, impound fees and accidents associated with that car until the new buyer registers it under their name.

After purchasing your car with a bill of sale, the buyer must acquire vehicle insurance under their name first. Next, they will bring that insurance document, bill of sale, their driver’s license and payment for any registration fees to their local registry agent office to transfer ownership and register the car under their name.



The buyer should register your vehicle into their name as quickly as possible, ideally within 1-3 days. This transfers legal liability from you as the previous owner over to them. If they delay registration for weeks or months, it creates risk for both parties and is against the law.

 

Determine Your Vehicle’s Value

Getting an accurate appraisal of your vehicle’s value is one of the most important steps when selling your car privately in Alberta. This will help you set a competitive asking price and properly market your car.

There are a few ways to determine your car’s estimated value:

 

  • Get a vehicle appraisal – Take your car to a professional appraiser or auto shop and have them assess its overall condition and value. This will likely cost $50-$150 but provides an expert opinion.
  • Compare prices for similar vehicles – Research current asking prices for the same make, model, year and trim of your car being sold in your local market. Look at both dealership and private sale listings to get a good sense of real market value.
  • Use online pricing tools like the Canadian Black Book or Carproof’s My Car Value tool to get a free instant valuation based on your vehicle’s specifics.
  • Check recent selling prices for your car’s make and model on autoTrader.ca’s Price Trends tool.

 

Aim to determine a realistic market value range for your vehicle based on its age, mileage, equipment and overall condition. This will allow you to price it fairly for buyers.

 

Gather the Required Documents

Before you can sell your car in Alberta, you’ll need to gather some important paperwork. This documentation provides proof of ownership and details the service history to share with potential buyers.

 

Ownership Documents

The main document you’ll need is the vehicle registration certificate. This certificate of title shows your name as the legal owner of the car. It should be signed and transferred to the new owner when you sell the vehicle.

You’ll also need the bill of sale from when you originally purchased the car. This will show the sales price, date of sale, vehicle details and info on the previous owner.

 

Service Records

Any service and maintenance records will be useful to have on hand. These documents list all the repairs, parts replacements and regular service the car has received over the years.

Service records show that you have properly maintained the vehicle. It gives buyers confidence in the car’s condition and may help you negotiate a higher selling price.

 

List of Repairs

In addition to service records, make a list of any major repairs or replacements like the timing belt, water pump, transmission rebuild, etc. Major repairs can significantly extend the lifespan of certain components.

Providing a full repair history allows buyers to better evaluate the health and value of your used vehicle before purchasing.

 

Clean and Photograph Your Vehicle

Making your vehicle sparkle inside and out is essential to getting top dollar. Buyers will be turned off by dirt, stains, garbage and other messes left behind in the car.

Give the interior a deep and thorough cleaning. Shampoo floor mats and carpets, use a leather cleaner on upholstery, wipe down all surfaces, vacuum, and make sure to get rid of any lingering odors or smoke smells.

The exterior should be hand-washed and waxed for maximum shine. Pay extra attention to the wheels and try to get rid of brake dust. Inspect the paint for any chips or scratches that could be touched up. Make it look as close to showroom condition as possible.

After cleaning, park the vehicle somewhere with abundant natural daylight. Avoid shadows. Take high-resolution photos from multiple angles inside and out. Capture any imperfections you couldn’t remove. Include close ups of the tires, wheels, seats, dashboard, odometer etc. Clean photos help buyers gain confidence in the accuracy of your listing.

 

Write a Detailed Listing

The listing description is one of the most important parts of selling your car privately. This is where you can highlight all the great features and attributes of your vehicle to attract potential buyers. Be sure to include key details like:

 

  • Make, model, year
  • Mileage
  • Engine size
  • Transmission type
  • Exterior color
  • Interior features
  • Maintenance records
  • Modifications or upgrades

 

Provide an accurate odometer reading and maintenance history. Buyers want to know the true condition of the vehicle. Be upfront about any issues, repairs needed, or defects. Disclose any accidents or damage. This builds trust and avoids problems down the line.

Include high-quality photos that showcase your vehicle inside and out. Clean it thoroughly before taking pictures. Capture the exterior from multiple angles in good lighting. Get shots of the interior from both the front and back seats. If you have any prior damage, take photos of that as well.

Your listing should highlight what makes your car worth buying. Mention sought-after options, upgrades, or recent maintenance. Provide detailed descriptions to create excitement and draw buyers in.

 

Decide on a Price

One of the most important steps when selling a used car in Alberta is deciding on an appropriate asking price. This requires carefully factoring in the vehicle’s condition, features, mileage, demand and the current market value. Be objective when assessing your car’s worth – don’t get attached to what you originally paid or invested into it. Look up prices for similar vehicles locally and nationally to get a realistic range.

The condition of your car will be a major determinant of its value. Have it thoroughly inspected and detail any defects, damage or wear and tear. Vehicles in excellent or good condition can fetch higher prices. However, even cars requiring some repairs can sell with proper disclosure and adjusted pricing.

Consider demand for your particular year, make, model and trim when pricing it. Research sales data to see which types of vehicles are popular among buyers in your area. If it’s a common model, you may need to price it competitively. Rare, classic or specialty vehicles can potentially command higher premiums.

Ultimately, pick an asking price near the higher end of your estimated fair market value range. This leaves room for negotiation later. Expect buyers to make lower counteroffers – don’t take it personally or get offended. Remain flexible and willing to adjust your price if you really want to make the sale. Set a minimum threshold you’re willing to accept, and be prepared to walk away from lowball offers.

 

Advertise the Vehicle

When you’re ready to sell your vehicle, advertising it is key to connecting with interested buyers. There are a few main ways to get the word out that your car is for sale:

 

Online Platforms

Listing your vehicle on popular online sites exposes it to a huge audience of potential buyers. Platforms like AutoTrader, Kijiji, and Facebook Marketplace allow you to create detailed listings with photos that people can browse when searching for cars for sale. Dedicated automotive marketplaces like AutoTrader tend to attract more serious buyers since people go there specifically to shop for vehicles.

 

Local Classifieds

Posting in classified ad sections of local newspapers and community websites targets buyers right in your area. While this may be a smaller audience than national sites, it zeroes in on people looking to buy locally. Creating concise but descriptive classified ads and including your contact info and a few photos can generate local interest.

 

Dealerships

Some dealerships buy used vehicles directly from owners through their finance and insurance departments. This provides a quick and convenient option for selling, but you may not get top dollar. Dealers need to make a profit reselling vehicles, so research valuation and consider your options before going this route.

 

Screen Potential Buyers

Thoroughly screening potential buyers before moving forward with a sale is crucial. This helps weed out non-serious inquiries and prevents wasted time. When a prospective buyer contacts you about the car, ask them questions to confirm they are a legitimate buyer. Some important questions to ask include:

 

  • Why are they interested in this particular car?
  • Do they have financing already lined up or will they be paying cash?
  • Have they taken a test drive yet or inspected the car?
  • Are they available to complete the sale within your timeframe if everything checks out?

 

Pay attention to how promptly and thoroughly they answer your questions. Serious buyers will be happy to provide details on their situation. Be wary of those who dodge questions or seem reluctant to provide information.

It’s also a good idea to have potential buyers fill out a pre-qualification form where they provide contact details, financial information, and references. This allows you to confirm they have the funds available and are ready to make a purchase. Avoid wasting time on buyers who appear flaky or keep delaying meeting in person.

Thoroughly screening all potential buyers protects you from scams and ensures you only proceed with motivated customers truly ready to purchase your vehicle.

 

Conduct Test Drives

Once you have screened potential buyers and set up appointments, you will need to accompany them on a test drive. Test drives allow buyers to experience how the car handles and identify any issues. As the seller, you should take the following steps during test drives:

 

  • Meet the buyer at the predetermined location and time.
  • Verify their driver’s license is valid before allowing them to drive.
  • Have the buyer show you proof of valid auto insurance before the test drive. This protects you in case of an accident.
  • Ride along in the passenger seat during the test drive.
  • Direct the route and duration of the test drive. A 10-15 minute local drive is usually sufficient.
  • Closely observe how the buyer handles your vehicle.
  • Highlight features and controls of your car during the drive.
  • Take note of any issues or questions raised during the test drive.
  • Have a discussion after the drive to address any concerns.

 

Taking these steps helps ensure your safety and gives you a chance to evaluate interested buyers. Never let a potential buyer test drive the vehicle alone.

 

Receive Payment

When selling a used car in Alberta, it’s important to receive payment in a secure way. Avoid accepting cash, as there is no paper trail or proof of payment. Instead, require a certified cheque or electronic funds transfer.

A certified cheque is a cheque that is guaranteed by the bank, so it won’t bounce. Require the buyer to get a certified cheque made out to you. Only accept the cheque once it has cleared and the funds are in your account. This provides proof of payment.

You can also have the buyer make an electronic transfer directly to your bank account. This also provides a record of the payment. Have the buyer send you confirmation of the transfer before handing over the keys.

By avoiding cash and only accepting cheque or electronic transfer, you reduce the risk of non-payment or fraudulent funds. This provides security when finalizing the used car sale. Be sure to provide a receipt to the buyer as well documenting the sale price and that the payment has been received.

 

Sign Over Ownership

Once you have agreed to a price and received payment from the buyer, it’s time to formally sign over ownership of the vehicle. The most important document in any private vehicle sale in Alberta is the bill of sale. This is a legal document that records the sale and officially transfers ownership from seller to buyer. Both parties must complete and sign two copies of the standard bill of sale – one copy for the buyer and one for the seller.

Make sure to accurately fill in all the required information on the bill of sale, including:

 

  • Your name and buyer’s name
  • Addresses for both parties
  • Date of sale
  • Vehicle details – make, model, year, VIN
  • Odometer reading
  • Purchase price

 

In addition to the bill of sale, it’s highly recommended to provide the buyer with a used vehicle information package that includes a vehicle history report. This comprehensive report will verify the car’s history based on its VIN number. Providing this builds trust and transparency with the buyer. The report should include:

 

  • Verification that the car has not been reported stolen
  • Accident and damage records
  • Odometer readings over the car’s lifetime to detect rollbacks
  • Registration history and number of previous owners
  • Service and repair records

 

Once you have signed the bill of sale and provided supporting documents like the vehicle history report, ownership of the car has been officially transferred to the buyer.

 

Cancel Insurance

Once you’ve sold your vehicle, it’s important to inform your insurance company right away so they can cancel your policy. Most standard auto insurance policies automatically terminate when the insured vehicle is sold, but it’s still a good idea to proactively contact your provider.

Call your insurance company or agent and let them know the date you sold the car. Provide details like the name of the new owner and date of sale. The insurer will then cancel your policy effective on the date of sale.

You may be eligible for a prorated refund on any unused premium. For example, if you sold your car halfway through your annual policy term, you may get back around 50% of the premium. Check with your provider – some may automatically issue a refund check within a few weeks.

Canceling the old policy promptly can also help avoid insurance gaps or overlaps when insuring your next vehicle. Having continuous coverage helps maintain a clean claims record. Be sure any new car you purchase has active insurance before driving it.

 

Remove License Plates

Once you have sold your vehicle and transferred ownership, you’ll need to deal with the license plates. You have two options:

 

  1. Transfer the plates to your new vehicle. To do this, bring your new vehicle ownership, bill of sale, ID, and the plates to a registry agent. They can transfer the registration over to the new vehicle.
  1. Return the plates. If you are not transferring to a new vehicle, you will need to return the plates to a registry agent so they can be cancelled. Make sure to keep your plate cancellation receipt for your records.

 

Returning plates avoids paying registration fees for a vehicle you no longer own. And transferring plates can save time and money since you avoid cancelling and getting new plates.

Discuss plate options with the buyer in case they want to purchase your existing plates. This is permitted in Alberta, but the buyer will have to officially transfer the registration into their name.

Remember to remove the plates from the vehicle once it is sold. Don’t allow the new owner to drive off still displaying your license plates.

 

Report the Sale

Within 10 days of the sale, you must notify the registry office to update the vehicle registration. This ensures the records are accurate and you are no longer liable for the vehicle. Bring the signed bill of sale and your license plates to a registry agent. They will cancel the registration in your name and notify you if there are any outstanding charges.

Make sure to update your driver’s license as well if you are no longer the registered owner of a vehicle. You can do this online through the provincial registry’s website, by phone, or in person at a registry office. Your license may need to be changed from a class 5 license to a class 7 if you no longer have a personal vehicle registered in your name.

 

Conclusion

Selling a car privately in Alberta can seem daunting, but following the step-by-step process outlined in this guide will ensure the transaction goes smoothly. The keys are properly valuing your vehicle, creating an attractive listing, screening buyers carefully, and completing all the paperwork correctly.

By gathering the required documents, cleaning and photographing the vehicle, writing a detailed ad, pricing it right, and advertising it widely, you’ll be able to get your car in front of motivated buyers. Taking the time to meet potential buyers, allow test drives, negotiate tactfully, and accept payment securely will result in finding the ideal purchaser.

Finally, signing over the ownership officially, canceling your insurance, removing license plates, and reporting the sale, will wrap up the obligations of the seller. You’ll then be free to enjoy the proceeds and move on to your next automotive adventure.

With this guide’s step-by-step advice, you now have all the knowledge needed to successfully sell your car privately in Alberta. Just stay organized, patient, and focused on getting the best value, and your for-sale-by-owner experience will be a smooth ride.

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Common Questions About Selling a Car in Alberta

To sell your car privately in Alberta, you’ll need to gather information about your vehicle, determine a fair asking price, clean and prepare the car to show potential buyers, advertise online and in your local area, meet interested buyers to show them the vehicle and take them on test drives, negotiate a selling price, complete a bill of sale to transfer ownership, and cancel your license plate or transfer it to another vehicle you own.

The main paperwork required is a bill of sale. The bill of sale contains key details about the vehicle and seller, buyer information, the date of sale, the sale amount, and statements from both parties that the information is accurate. Other paperwork like maintenance records and ownership history can help make the sale but aren’t legally required.

Yes, a standard bill of sale is used to legally transfer ownership from the seller to the buyer when selling/buying a used vehicle in Alberta in a private sale. Both the seller and buyer must complete and sign it for ownership to be exchanged.

As the seller, you just need to provide basic ID information like your full name, address, phone number and driver’s license number on the bill of sale. You do not need to show your physical ID. However, you may want to ask the buyer for ID when accepting payment to ensure the funds are legitimate.

No, Alberta does not require private sellers of used vehicles to have a valid safety inspection certificate like some other provinces. However, having a recent safety certificate showing the vehicle passed inspection can increase buyer confidence and allow you to likely sell it for more money.

No, you do not charge any GST or PST tax when selling a used vehicle privately in Alberta. The buyer may have to pay GST when registering the vehicle under their name depending on its age and value, but no sales taxes apply on private sales.

Yes, you can sell a car with an outstanding loan in Alberta. The process involves paying out the loan balance first so you can provide the buyer with a lien-free title. This usually means taking out a separate loan to pay off the car loan right before selling it. Then the sale proceeds repay your new loan.



The buyer will need the signed bill of sale showing the transfer of ownership from you, their proof of insurance, and identification. If financing, they may also need approval from their lender. They will bring these documents to their local registry agent office to register the car under their name.

Pricing your car appropriately is important to sell it quicker. Check sites like AutoTrader.ca and Kijiji Autos to compare similar vehicle models for sale in your local area. Consider the overall condition, features and mileage compared to those listings to price yours fairly. Leave some room for negotiation as most buyers will make lower offers.

The best places to advertise online are AutoTrader, Kijiji Autos, Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist and online classified sites specific to your nearest large Alberta city like Calgary, Edmonton or Red Deer. Paying to feature your ad can also get more visibility. Advertise locally with “for sale” signs in visible areas and let family, friends and co-workers know you have a car for sale.

To get top dollar, change the oil and fluids, replace worn parts like brake pads and expired items like wiper blades. Fix any mechanical issues and clean the interior spotlessly. Wax the exterior, touch up paint chips, clean the engine bay and make sure there are no warning lights illuminated on the dash.

Provide copies of maintenance and ownership records if possible, but the main document is the bill of sale when it comes time to transfer ownership. Providing Carfax reports and an existing safety certificate can also help justify your asking price and instill buyer confidence.

As the seller, you do not have to transfer ownership into the buyer’s name yourself. Your responsibility is completing and signing over the documentation – bill of sale – and providing it to the buyer. They must use that documentation to visit a registry agent office and register the vehicle under their name.

The buyer should inspect the car first, test drive it next, and if satisfied negotiate a purchase price with you. They must have their own insurance ready before taking ownership. Their other main responsibility is properly registering the car under their name using a signed bill of sale, insurance, and identification.



Legally you should not allow the buyer to drive the vehicle away before formally registering it under their name. However, some sellers do allow a grace period of a few days for the buyer to get insurance and transfer the registration. This comes with risk though as you remain responsible if an issue arises before they register it.

Unlike dealers, there are no sales taxes charged when selling a used car privately in Alberta. You do not need to charge or collect any GST, PST or other taxes. The buyer may later need to pay GST depending on the vehicle’s age and value when registering it.

When selling your car in Alberta, you have two choices regarding your license plate. You can either cancel your plate altogether and be refunded for any unused registration time over 12 months. Or, you can transfer your plate over to another vehicle you own, which avoids cancellation fees.

If you neglect to properly transfer ownership and registration duties when selling your car, you could face fines or demerits. As the registered owner, you will remain responsible for speeding tickets, parking and photo radar tickets, tolls, impound fees and accidents associated with that car until the new buyer registers it under their name.

After purchasing your car with a bill of sale, the buyer must acquire vehicle insurance under their name first. Next, they will bring that insurance document, bill of sale, their driver’s license and payment for any registration fees to their local registry agent office to transfer ownership and register the car under their name.



The buyer should register your vehicle into their name as quickly as possible, ideally within 1-3 days. This transfers legal liability from you as the previous owner over to them. If they delay registration for weeks or months, it creates risk for both parties and is against the law.

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See if you qualify in under 60 seconds