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How to Sell a Tesla Privately and Transfer Tesla Ownership Hassle-Free

I recently sold my 2020 Tesla Model Y and, although the process to transfer Tesla ownership was fairly seamless, it wasn’t very intuitive. With that in mind, I thought I would share my lessons learned and tips on how to sell a Tesla including how to sell a Tesla privately and how to transfer Tesla ownership using the app.

How to Sell a Tesla

Like any used vehicle, there are several ways to sell a Tesla. The best option for you will, of course, depend on your priorities and needs. Here are some of the most popular ways to sell a Tesla.

Sell it Privately

If you decide to sell your Tesla privately, using online marketplaces like Craigslist, Autotrader, Facebook Marketplace, or eBay, can net you more money, but it might take more of your time and energy.

You will have to take your own photos, create your own listing, and deal with lowball offers and people that are not serious about your car.

Trade it In

Trading in your Tesla at a Tesla dealership or another car dealership is a quick and convenient option. This is perfect for those that are short on time and patience.

That said, you likely won’t get as much money for your vehicle as you would by selling it privately. Dealerships have to make a profit after all.

Use a Car-Buying Service

Car-buying services such as CarMax or Carvana can provide a quick and hassle-free option for selling your Tesla. This does, of course, come with the tradeoff that you may not get the highest sale price.

Also, it’s important to note that if your vehicle has had any repairs or current damage, the service may not be interested in your ride. Ask me how I know 🙁

Sell it to Tesla

Tesla offers an official Buyback Program that allows you to sell your Tesla back to them for a predetermined price. This can be a convenient option, but, again, you likely won’t get the highest sale price.

For more details on the Tesla Trade-In program, check out the section below.

What is the Best Way To Sell a Tesla?

At the end of the day, the way that you sell your Tesla is gonna depend on how much time you have, and what you want to get out of it financially.

If you are in a rush to sell and not concerned about getting the best offer, selling your Tesla to a dealership or car-buying service is the easiest and quickest path.

If you have time and would like to get the most out of the sale, selling a Tesla privately is the best way to sell a Tesla. If you are buying a new Tesla, using Tesla’s trade-in program may be the easiest option.

Does the Buyer Pay Tax on a Used Tesla?

That all said, some provinces and states offer tax incentives on used electric vehicles. Furthermore, some locations (such as British Columbia where I live) offer tax breaks for private electric vehicle sales.

This can make the purchase much more attractive and give an edge to those selling used electric vehicles privately rather than using a dealership. The downside, of course, is there is no trade-in or financing option so the customer base is going to be smaller.

Be sure to consult your local motor vehicles department to determine what taxes apply to used electric vehicles, both sold privately and through dealerships.

Tesla Trade-In Program

How to Sell a Tesla Privately and Transfer Tesla Ownership Hassle-Free - Tesla delivery centre signage with cars in the background.

Tesla has a trade-in program that allows you to trade in your current vehicle for a new or used Tesla. The program offers a convenient and hassle-free way to get rid of your current ride while simultaneously purchasing a new one.

To use the program, you simply provide Tesla with information about your current vehicle, including VIN, make, model, and condition. After you’ve given Tesla the details they need, they’ll give you a trade-in value that you can put towards a new Tesla. This is conveniently all done online.

One benefit of Tesla’s trade-in program is that it can simplify the process of purchasing a new Tesla, as you can complete the trade-in and purchase in one transaction.

That said, it’s worth noting that you may not get the highest possible value for your vehicle by using the trade-in program. As such, it may be worth exploring other options if getting the highest sale price is a priority.

How to sell a Tesla Privately

Two Tesla Model Y's linned up. The front one is battleship grey and back one is matte grey. Pile of snow in the foreground.

I chose to sell my Tesla privately and used Facebook Marketplace to do it.

Although it was annoying dealing with a ton of lowball offers and buyers that were not serious, I ultimately found a buyer through Marketplace and was happy with the experience.

Here are some steps to sell a Tesla privately:

  1. Determine the value of your Tesla: To set a fair price for your Tesla, research the value of similar models in your area using websites such as Kelley Blue Book, Edmunds, or Facebook Marketplace. Be sure to consider the condition, mileage, and any optional features and add-ons when setting your price.
  2. Gather all the necessary documents: Make sure you have all the required documents ready for the sale, including the title, registration, maintenance records, and any warranties or service agreements. Tesla warranty information is easily accessible through the Tesla App and can be found under “Specs & Warranty” at the bottom of your vehicle screen.
  3. Clean and detail your Tesla: Giving your Tesla a thorough cleaning and detailing can make it more attractive to potential buyers. Be sure to wash and wax the exterior, clean the interior, and remove any clutter or personal items.
  4. Take high-quality photos: Good photos are essential to make a strong impression on potential buyers. Take pictures from multiple angles, including the front, back, sides, and interior, and be sure to highlight any unique features or upgrades. The buyers of my Tesla commented on my photos thinking they were too good to be real 😂
  5. Create an online listing: Once you have gathered all the necessary information, create an online listing on reputable marketplaces such as Autotrader, Craigslist, Facebook, or eBay. Be sure to include all the details about your Tesla, including the year, make, model, mileage, and asking price.
  6. Be transparent and honest: To build trust with potential buyers, be transparent and honest about the condition of your Tesla. Provide accurate information about any defects or issues, and include detailed photos to help buyers make an informed decision. For me, this meant including details on the repairs to my Model Y.
  7. Respond promptly to inquiries: When potential buyers reach out with questions or requests for more information, respond promptly and professionally. Schedule test drives for serious buyers and be available to answer any questions they may have. Again, dealing with non-serious buyers is the biggest downside to selling a Tesla privately.
  8. Complete the sale: Once you have found a buyer, complete the sale by signing over the title and transferring ownership. Be sure to follow all the necessary legal requirements, such as registering the transfer of ownership with your local Department of motor vehicles. Writing up a bill of sale is a good idea as well. You can find templates online that cover the basics.

Transferring Tesla Ownership

selling Tesla privately - photo of women standing in front of matte grey Tesla Model Y

Transferring ownership of a Tesla involves several steps and can largely be done through the Tesla App.

  1. Obtain the necessary documents: Before you can hand over your Tesla to someone else, you gotta get your hands on some documents first. These include the title and registration of the vehicle. These documents will need to be signed over to the new owner.
  2. Verify the identity of the buyer: To ensure that you are transferring ownership to the correct person, it’s important to verify the buyer’s identity. You can do this by asking for a driver’s license or another form of government-issued identification.
  3. Complete the sale agreement: It’s important to have a written agreement between you and the buyer that outlines the terms of the sale, including the sale price and any conditions of the sale.
  4. Sign over the vehicle title: Once the sale agreement has been signed, you will need to sign over the vehicle title to the new owner. This is typically done by filling out the necessary information on the back of the title or through a form provided by your vehicle registry office.
  5. Remove your license plates: Before handing over the Tesla to the new owner, be sure to remove your license plates. In most locations, you are required to return the license plates to the Department of Motor Vehicles.
  6. Notify your insurance company: Once ownership of the Tesla has been transferred, be sure to notify your insurance company so that they can update their records.
  7. Register the transfer of ownership: In most locations, you will need to notify the Department of Motor Vehicles of the transfer and register the change in ownership. This will usually include filling out a form and paying a fee.

Hot Tip: Make selling a Tesla privately easier by purchasing a removable licence plate.

How to Transfer Tesla Ownership in the Tesla App

On my sale all of the paperwork was done at my local register office however there was a long delay as the agent working did not know that there are no taxes on used electric vehicles in my province. The time it took him to validate this allowed me to work through the steps to transfer Tesla ownership through the Tesla App.

1. Select “Add/Remove Products” in the Tesla App and click on the vehicle you are selling. Read through the checklist (covered above) and then click “Get Started.”

2. Confirm that you have sold the vehicle and if it was to an individual or third party. In my case, I sold to an individual so I filled in their contact information including email address.

3. Transfer Tesla ownership to the new party by clicking on “Yes, Remove.” This will remove the Tesla from your app and notify the new owner. Through that notification, they will be able to set up their new vehicle under their profile in the Tesla App.

How To Reset a Tesla for a New Owner

Once your transfer of Tesla ownership is completed, it’s important to delete your settings and information from the vehicle itself. This is much like wiping an iPhone before selling it.

To reset the car’s touchscreen, go to the settings menu and select “Safety & Security.” From there, select “Factory Reset” and follow the prompts.

Wrapping Up How to Sell a Tesla Privately

Aside from a less-than-informed insurance agent, the process of selling a Tesla privately was pretty smooth. The added time it took the agent to figure out the taxes owed (or not owed) allowed me to properly figure out how to transfer Tesla ownership to the new owner.

If you are wondering how to sell a Tesla privately and how to transfer Tesla ownership, the steps outlined above will make your transaction seamless. This is depending on the knowledge of your automobile registry agent of course 😉

HOW TO SELL A TESLA PRIVATELY FAQs

Does Tesla FSD Transfer to new owner?

Yes, Tesla Full Self-Driving (FSD) transfers to the new owner when selling a Tesla. Once purchased, FSD stays with the vehicle and not the account owner who originally purchased it.

Can I sell my Tesla to anyone?

Yes, if you own a Tesla you can legally sell it to anyone. This includes dealerships, back to Tesla, or privately. If you lease a Tesla you can not sell it.

Do Tesla’s hold their value?

Tesla vehicles generally hold their value quite well compared to other vehicles in their class. This is partly due to their high initial cost and limited production, which creates a level of exclusivity and demand among buyers.

How do I clear my Tesla when I sell it?

To clear a Tesla before selling it go to the “Controls” menu on the touchscreen and select “Safety & Security.” Then, scroll down and choose “Factory Reset.” You’ll be prompted to confirm that you want to proceed with the factory reset, and if you’re sure, select “Yes, Delete All.” The car will begin the factory reset process, which may take a few minutes to complete. Keep in mind that performing a factory reset will erase all data, settings, and personal information from your Tesla’s system. After the factory reset is complete, your Tesla will be restored to its original factory settings, just like it was when you first got it. I

How do I change ownership of a Tesla?

To change ownership of a Tesla use the “Add/Remove Product” feature in the Tesla app. Open the app and under your account (icon top right of screen) select “Add/Remove Product.” Select “Remove” for the vehicle you are selling and provide the required information of the new owner, including their name, email, phone number, and delivery address. Confirm the transfer by tapping “Submit.” The new owner will receive an email with instructions on how to set up their own Tesla account and accept the ownership transfer. It’s important to note that this is only one part of the ownership transfer process, and you’ll still need to complete the necessary paperwork and notify the DMV to legally transfer ownership of the vehicle.

Should I factory reset Tesla before selling?

Yes, it is recommended that you factory reset your Tesla before selling it to a new owner. This ensures that all of your personal information and data, such as phone contacts, navigation history, music preferences, and saved Wi-Fi networks, are completely removed from the vehicle’s system. By doing so, you’re protecting your privacy and ensuring that the new owner starts with a clean slate. Additionally, it’s a good idea to remove any personal belongings from the car and clean it thoroughly before handing it over to the new owner. By taking these steps, you can help ensure a smooth and hassle-free transaction.

Can you have two Teslas on one app?

Yes, it is possible to have two or more Tesla vehicles linked to the same Tesla mobile app. This allows you to control and monitor multiple Tesla vehicles from a single app, making it more convenient and efficient to manage your fleet of Teslas. When you log into your Tesla app, you’ll be able to see all of your linked vehicles, and you can switch between them with a simple tap. You can also customize settings for each vehicle individually, such as setting charging schedules and adjusting climate controls. Keep in mind that if you’re sharing your Tesla account with other users, they will also have access to all the vehicles linked to that account. Therefore, it’s important to keep your account credentials secure and only share access with trusted individuals.

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If you are thinking about placing a Tesla order, be sure to use my referral code to get 500 free Supercharger kilometres!*

*As of May 2023 Tesla has updated their referral program to a points system. 1,500 credits = 500 KM. Points can be redeemed for car accessories and Tesla swag as well.

2 Comments

  • Avatar
    Scott
    April 17, 2023 at 4:35 pm

    When using the method you document would Full Self Driving be transferred to the new private sale owner?

    Reply
    • Avatar
      Shaun Robertson
      April 18, 2023 at 10:40 am

      Hi Scott, yes FSD stays with the vehicle. This is regardless of private sale or selling to a dealer or back to Tesla. I will add this to the post.

      Thanks!

      Reply

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