How to sell a car privately in Nova Scotia, Canada

Selling a vehicle privately can be a frustrating experience but it doesn’t have to be. If you live in Nova Scotia, it is actually one of the simplest experiences for privately selling a vehicle. Just remember, a private sale of a vehicle can easily net you 15-30% more money for your car than simply trading it in. At those rates, it is definitely worth a bit more leg work to sell it yourself. Let’s get started!

1) Consider whether you are going to sell your car as-is or certified

It really comes down to how much money and time you want to put into the vehicle before you sell it. If you are looking to just get rid of the car, then selling it as-is might be the best route for you. However, if you are looking to maximize your sale price then you should really consider selling your vehicle certified with an inspection from a certified shop.

2) Detail the car, take pictures

Pretty self-explanatory, also optional, but a clean car is much easier to sell. It is also estimated that simply detailing a vehicle nets 5-10% more for the vehicle. Of course, if you are selling as-is then maybe a detail is not something you will end up doing. Take good pictures of the vehicle after the detail that show the vehicle condition.

3) Do the maintenance

Also optional, but any good buyer will at the very least check the oil dip stick to see what condition the oil is in. Doing an oil change and toping up fluids will give buyers the peace of mind that the vehicle has been well cared for. 

4) List the car

The nice things these days is that as a private seller you have many different channels to list your vehicle through. You can easily list your car for sale on Kijiji, Autotrader, and Most of these are free to list but might have additional features you can pay for such as a “featured” listing option. How effective the “featured” listing options will honestly come down to the vehicle you are selling and the market it attracts. I would argue it is not worthwhile for all vehicles. 

5) Setup a meeting with a buyer

Ideally use a public place but can also be your house. Your local police service parking lot might not be a bad idea as most will have a spot setup for “online sales”. If someone wants to test drive the vehicle, you can ask for a copy of their driver’s license (use your phone to take a picture) and even have them sign a waiver. Make sure to show them the UVIP. If the buyer wants the vehicle taken for an inspection, go with them to the mechanic. They should pay for any inspection fees.

6) Complete the Certificate of Registration – Transfer of Ownership portion 

As the seller you must sign the reverse of the Certificate of Registration, which is also known as the Transfer of Ownership portion. Then fill out the sectioned that is headed “Transfer of Title Certificate of Sale (Part 1)” and provide this to the buyer. As the seller you must also sign the Notice of Sale portion of the Certificate of Registration and indicate who the vehicle was sold to. As the seller, you are responsible for returning the Notice of Sale to the Registry of Motor Vehicles in Nova Scotia.

7) Cancel or reassign the plate

When you go to hand over the keys to the car, you have two options. You can either cancel the plates on the vehicle or you can reassign them to a new vehicle. You cannot, under any circumstance, provide the plates to the new buyer to use. 

8) Let insurance know

Report to your insurance company that you sold the vehicle so they remove it from your insurance policy. 

That’s it, you’re done and your car is sold!