Paperwork When Buying a Car in Alabama

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Paperwork When Buying a Car in Alabama

When you buy a car in Alabama, you are required as the new owner to apply for a title and have the car registered in your name. If you buy a car from a dealership, they will handle this paperwork on your behalf. But if you buy your car from a private seller, you'll need to handle the paperwork yourself.

Keep reading for more information about required documents as well as tips to help you choose and buy a car.

Buying a Car

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.
  • Bill of Sale.
  • Applicable fees and taxes.

The title fee is $15, plus a $1.50 processing fee. Sales tax, ad valorem, and license fees vary in each county.

If you are buying a vehicle at a dealership, they will assist you in filing the required paperwork.

Tips for Buying a Car in AL

Finding and choosing the right car can be overwhelming. These tips can help you make your decision easier:

  • 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 vehicle history report on it. This car report will provide a title search, accident report, lemon report, odometer check, and registration details.
  • Have a mechanic that you trust examine the car to look for 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.

Bill of Sale

Remember, you'll need a Bill of Sale for registering and titling your new vehicle. You can download one from our Bill of Sale page in seconds.

Alabama Lemon Law

Alabama enforces the Lemon Law to protect car buyers from repeated and excessive repairs. This law applies to any vehicle that comes with a warranty and does not perform as it should.

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