What documents do I need to sell my van?

It’s not all about cleaning up your van, fixing any faults and advertising it in the right places, you need to be prepared for the sale by gathering a number of documents too. Some paperwork will be strictly required, though all paperwork will help you to sell your van quicker and easier, with less hassle from your buyer or any legal entities.

To have the best chance at selling your van, you’ll want to have the following documents and paperwork ready: V5C (registration document or logbook), MOT certification, service history, warranty information. The only document you are legally required to complete a sale is section 6 of the V5C, which we discuss in more detail below.

We’ve broken down the main documents you’ll want to get your hands on before you start advertising your van for sale, along with the implications of not having these ready. If you’re looking for other advice about selling your van, check out our van selling guidance section.

V5C Logbook

The V5C registration certificate (more commonly known as the V5 registration document or logbook) is the document that details the registered keeper (not necessarily owner) of a vehicle. While it isn’t technically impossible to sell your van if you don’t have a V5, most buyers will be seriously put off if you can’t prove that you’re the registered keeper of the van. If you’ve lost, damaged or never received your V5C, it is possible to request a new one through the government website – you’ll be charged for the privilege, of course.

The V5 logbook also plays an important role in the post-sales process. It’s your duty as the seller of the van to complete and send off section 6 of the form, which will let the DVLA know that the buyer is now registered to the van and will be responsible for tax purposes. As the buyer isn’t capable of completing this step, It’s vital that you as the seller, must complete this step – you don’t want to be responsible for any outstanding tax of the van in the future, and the buyer doesn’t want any issues when you’re still registered to the vehicle in six months time!

Read more about informing the DVLA.

MOT Certificate

As any vehicle that’s active on the road needs to have passed an MOT test in the last 12 months, it’s incredibly important that you can prove your van is roadworthy with the appropriate certificate. An MOT is only valid for 12 months from the test date, so make sure you check when it last passed – a van for sale that has 3 weeks left until its MOT certificate expires isn’t much more attractive to a buyer than one without!

You can still legally sell your van if it doesn’t have a legal MOT certificate, though the buyer cannot drive it away from the premises under any circumstances, or they’ll be liable to face a fixed penalty notice. This will naturally reduce the value of your van drastically, as there will be a lot of questions surrounding why you haven’t got an MOT or why you’re selling the van as the next test approaches. Is the van faulty? Did it fail on the previous test? Have the faults been fixed? Do you think it’s going to fail on the upcoming MOT? All of these questions will have an impact on your success when selling your van, so it’s worth weighing up your options.

My van’s MOT has failed. What should I do?

If you find yourself in this situation, you should follow these steps to decide on how to deal with the situation.

  1. Find out the rough value of your van. You can retrieve this by inputting your van’s registration number on our “Sell my Van” page.
  2. Find out how much it will cost to repair your van and re-test it.
  3. Weigh up these figures against each other. Will you earn enough after deducting repairs to warrant the time and effort required?

Once you’ve decided, follow through and either get your van fixed and re-tested or look to find a buyer willing to take it on – it might just be easier to scrap it at that point, however.

Service history

This isn’t as important as the previous documents, but having a complete or near-complete service history will show buyers that you’ve properly cared for the van during your ownership and gives them a better idea of how it’s been used.

Of course, there are circumstances where you might not have a full-service history, and it’s always wise to explain any gaps ahead of time – transparency is key to a successful sale. It’s hard to determine exactly how much the lack of any service history will affect a buyer and what they’re willing to pay, but it will reduce the value to an extent, so it’s worth gathering as much as possible.

Warranty Information

If your van has any remaining warranty from the date of purchase, make sure you provide the new buyer with details regarding the warranty. In many cases, second-hand vans won’t have any warranty remaining, so don’t worry if your van doesn’t have any left. It’s certainly a selling point though and will give buyers more confidence when considering purchasing your van.