Paperwork When Buying a Car in Alabama
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Alabama enforces the Lemon Law to protect buyers. This federal law applies to any product which costs more than $25, comes with a warranty, and does not perform as it should.
When you buy a used car from a private party, you will need to transfer registration with the state, apply for a title, and pay taxes on your purchase. Take the following information to the tag office, usually located in your county courthouse:
- The original title signed over to the buyer from the seller on the back of the title
- Applicable fees and taxes
The title fee is $18. Sales tax, ad valorem, and license fees vary in each county. Transfer fee is $1.25.
If you are buying a vehicle at a dealership, they will assist you in filing the paperwork.
A few tips for buying a car:
- Do your homework. Figure out what kind of car you want or need to fit your lifestyle and budget. Read consumer reports, comparison guides, and forums to learn about the car you are researching. Comparison shop for prices.
- Test drive each car. You'll want to know if you are comfortable behind the wheel. Climb in the backseat to check for leg room and head space.
- Check on insurance rates for the vehicle you are exploring. Rates vary greatly depending on make, model, year, and body style.
- Once you decide on a car, get a car report on it. This car report will provide a title search, accident report, lemon report, odometer check, and registration details.
- Have a mechanic examine the car to warn you of any damage or problems with the vehicle.
- Negotiate a price. Don't pay more than you should. Most sellers do not expect the buyer to pay their original asking price. Offer a dollar amount lower than you are willing to pay, then work upwards as the seller makes a counter-offer.
- You have 20 days to register your new car. A title application must be completed before the registration can be processed.
Important Notice for Alabama Car Buyers
Due to Hurricane Katrina and other numerous storms in recent years, thousands of new and used vehicles were flooded and totaled out by insurance companies. Now, they are back on the market for sale in other states. Flood damage may not be visible, so be on the alert to avoid future headaches.
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