Paperwork When Buying a Car in Arizona
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The holder of the title is the owner of the vehicle in the state of Arizona. If you pay for the vehicle in full at the outset, you should receive the title from the seller to take to the MVD. It will need the seller's signature notarized.
However, if you plan to pay for the vehicle in installments, the vehicle's seller will hold the title of the vehicle until you pay it off. They will put their own name on the title as a lienholder until you do. This will allow you to register the car under your name, which you must do in person at a local MVD office within 15 days of purchasing it. When you have paid for the vehicle in full, the seller will document it on the title, have it notarized, and mail it to you.
The seller must provide the title at the time of delivery of the vehicle. If the lienholder still has the title, the seller must first obtain it from the lienholder. If the seller has lost the title, he or she must obtain a duplicate from the MVD before the sale can proceed.
If you purchase a car through a dealer, they will complete the necessary forms for you for a fee.
Acquiring valid proof of the sale in the form of a Bill of Sale will help ensure that your registration, insurance, and titling go smoothly. Even though the Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) does not require that you file the Bill of Sale, having the signatures of both you (the buyer) and the seller on a single notarized document will alleviate any confusion about the legitimacy of the transaction.
If you have trouble downloading the Arizona MVD's version of the Bill of Sale, DMV.org provides a generic form as well.
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