What is a Buyer’s/Seller’s Contract?

If you're buying or selling a car on the private market (i.e. one individual selling a car to another, rather than a dealer or trade-in scheme), you'll need a buyer's/seller's contract. This is fairly simple to set up, so read on to find out more about how to do it.

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What is a buyer’s/seller’s contract?

In a nutshell, a buyer’s/seller’s contract is a document signed by both the buyer and the seller when a car is sold privately. It confirms that both parties are aware of and happy with all aspects of the car being sold, such as its mileage and price. The buyer’s/seller’s contract is signed when the car is sold.

Why do you need a buyer’s/seller’s contract?

A buyer’s/seller’s contract functions as a private car sale receipt, so it’s important that both buyer and seller get a copy as proof of sale/purchase. The contract protects the legal rights of the buyer and the seller by confirming that the car has been sold as described and is roadworthy. It’s illegal in the UK to sell an unroadworthy car except in special circumstances.

What does a buyer’s/seller’s contract include?

Buyer’s/seller’s contracts don’t need to be complicated. You can use a car sale receipt template, or make one yourself. A buyer’s/seller’s contract should include answers to the following questions:

  • Does the vehicle identification number (VIN) match the V5C document?
  • Has the Registration Document (V5C) been completed by the buyer/seller?
  • Has the Registration Document (V5C) been exchanged?
  • Has the buyer received the V5C/2 (green slip)?

It should also include space for any additional notes, and a statement that acknowledges the receipt of the vehicle. Finally, there should be a space at the end of the contract for both the buyer and seller to sign and date.

How to complete a buyer’s/seller’s contract

To fill out a buyer’s/seller’s contract:

  • Print out two copies (one for the buyer and one for the seller)
  • On both copies, complete the questions listed in section 3. The answer to all should be ‘yes’ – if not, complete and check the V5C
  • Add any extra information about the vehicle to the ‘additional notes’ section
  • Read through the statement and check that the price is correct
  • Read over both copies of the contract and check that they match
  • Both parties should sign and date both copies

Store your copy of the contract somewhere safe, along with a note of the buyer’s and seller’s contact details.

Other documents you’ll need to buy or sell a car privately

Alongside the buyer’s/seller’s contract, there are some other documents that should always be completed and/or exchanged during a private sale. Make sure you’ve completed the V5C with the new owner details and sent it to the DVLA. The car handbook, service logbook, maintenance receipts and any old MOT certificates should be passed to the new owner, too.

A buyer’s/seller’s contract protects both buyer and seller and functions as a car sale receipt. These contracts are simple to complete, and you can find templates online or write your own if preferred. For more information on buying or selling a car, check out our other advice guides on the topic.

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