Buying / Selling a car

Buying a Vehicle 

Buy from a trustworthy Seller – Vehicles can be sold only through a licensed dealer or by the person whose name is on the title.  (Make sure all people on the title have a notarized signature) 

Test Drivers & Mechanics – Take a test drive on the kinds of roads you plan on using the most.  Ask the seller if you can take the vehicle to a mechanic of your choice. 

Check for Liens against the vehicle – It’s critical to have the security interest/lien resolved before buying the vehicle because the lien holder could have a legal claim to your vehicle if the previous owner doesn’t pay the loan.

Get a Vehicle History Report – Diligent research before buying is worth the price when it could save you hundreds of dollars in the future. 

Beware of odometer & VIN fraud – Mileage must be disclosed on any vehicle newer than nine years.  Compare the vehicle identification number (VIN) on the title with the VIN on the vehicle.  They must match. 

Leave the License plates with the seller – You must buy new license plates when you title and register your vehicle at the County Treasurer’s Office in your county of residence. 

Keep a written record of your purchase – This can be a photocopy of the reassigned title or a document that lists the vehicle year, make and VIN; seller’s name, address, driver license number and notarized signature; and purchase price and sale date. 

Buy insurance – It’s state law that you must have motor vehicle liability insurance.

Selling a Vehicle

Legally Selling the Vehicle – You must be the owner listed on the Certificate of Title.  Every owner listed on the title needs to sign (and have signature notarized) over the title to the buyer. 

Resolve any liens on the vehicle – If you owe money on the vehicle, have the security interest/lien released before selling the vehicle. 

Test Drives & Mechanics – Make sure the prospective buyer has a driver license and that you agree on who will pay for the mechanic’s inspection. 

Take your license plates off the vehicle before giving it to the buyer – The plates belong to you, not the vehicle.  If you don’t remove the plates, you may be liable for any parking or traffic violations that happen after the sale. 

Keep a written record of the sale – This can be a photocopy of the reassigned title or document that lists the vehicle year, make, VIN; Buyer’s name, address, driver license number, notarized signature; and purchase price and sale date.

Forms you might need – 

-          MV1 – Application for Certificate of Title for a Motor Vehicle
-          MV7 – Application for Replacement Certificate of Title
-          MV24 – Bill of Sale
-          MV37A – Release of Security Interest or Lien 

Forms are free online

Title Tips 

Replace a Missing Title – To sell your vehicle, you must have the title in your possession.  If you don’t, you or the owner of record need to apply for a replacement from the state where the vehicle was last titled. 

Filling out the title to sign it over to the buyer:

All fields must be completed in blue or black ink only.
-          White-out or attempts to erase or scratch out entries void the title.
-          Sellers need to complete the odometer (mileage) disclosure for any vehicle newer than nine years.
-          All owners must sign the title in front of a notary public.
-          The buyer’s name and address must be written on the title.
-          The person who signs as the buyer must be the same buyer written on the title. 

Transferring Ownership – As the buyer, you have 40 days from the sale date to transfer vehicle ownership to you.  This is done by applying for the title to and registering the vehicle at the County Treasurer’s Office in your county of residence.