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Selling a motor vehicle privately is an experience most owners would rather not have to go through. It's often far easier to negotiate a trade-in price with a licensed dealer, exchange keys and walk away. Job done, move on. But there are several reasons why some owners give the private sale option a go, and some important things to remember about taking care of the associated paperwork.

Don't ever rely on a buyer saying they will take care of the change of ownership. That is a job best handled and controlled by the seller to ensure any parking fines, licensing fees and speeding tickets are not directed to them because they are still the registered owner of the vehicle on the NZ Transport Authority database. It's a fairly painless procedure provided the seller has the necessary papers on hand when the handover takes place.

Sometimes it's convenient for the seller and purchaser to meet at a NZTA agent (AA, PostShop, Vehicle Inspection NZ or Vehicle Testing NZ) and complete the change of ownership together. If it's done at the seller's home or at another location then the seller should ensure notification of the sale to the NZTA is done quickly.

It is also important to obtain a receipt of the financial transaction and the conditions under which a vehicle is bought. It doesn't have to be anything flash as long as it covers the main points, including:

  • Date of the sale
  • Full amount paid
  • Name of the purchaser and seller
  • Status of the warrant of fitness and registration at time of sale
  • Any agreed special conditions the vehicle was sold under

Two copies should be made; each should be signed and a copy kept by each party. The same set of rules should apply if mums and dads want to hand over the car and all the personal responsibilities that go with vehicle ownership to a son, daughter or other relation.

And don't forget about the car insurance when vehicles change principal drivers and the decision is made to retain vehicle ownership with the current policy holder. It can get very messy when more than one party is involved in an accident and the new driver is at fault and uninsured.

Source: New Zealand Herald

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