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  • State Regulations in Delaware

    Most of us will buy a vehicle at some point in our lives, and many of us will even sell a few; however, unless you are a car dealer, you probably won't be familiar with the ropes, such as title transfers and Bill of Sale forms the first time around.

    Some vehicles are bought through a private sale between two Delaware residents; other times retail or wholesale auto dealers will make the transfer between buyer and seller. Regardless of how the ownership changes, the title must be transferred with the Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

    Selling a Vehicle

    There's quite a bit of paperwork that goes into selling a vehicle; the transaction doesn't stop after the completion of a Bill of Sale. Private sales can go just as smoothly as retail sales if you read up on the required steps first. Also, the DMV encourages you to finish the deal at its offices so its staff can help you with the paperwork.

    If you have a lien on your vehicle, you'll need to get the lienholder to release the title to you before you can complete the transaction. Typically you can only get the title released once you settle the debt. If the buyer is also financing the car, his or her bank will often send payment right to your bank.

    All transfer information will be recorded on the back of the Certificate of Title. As the seller, you will assign the title to the new buyer. Doing this at the DMV office will reduce the chances of making a paperwork mistake―it sometimes happen.

    If your Certificate of Title didn't include a section for report of sale, you can use the Vehicle Transfer Notification, which is available both with buyer information and without buyer information. You can obtain these forms online using the free Adobe Reader.

    Trading your vehicle at a dealership is also considered a vehicle sale. Dealers are licensed and trained in titling paperwork and they will handle everything for you.

    Buying or Selling Without Paperwork

    Buying or selling a car without its registration papers is not difficult as long as you have the title. But if the title is missing, a lengthy paper trail will need to be processed.

    The easiest way to proceed is for the seller to apply for a duplicate title before selling the car. Failing that, however, it's best to take the information you do have, such as the bill of sale, your driver's license, the car's VIN, and its tag number to the local DMV office (along with the appropriate title transfer fees) to process the paperwork.

    Buying a Vehicle

    Buying a car or truck can be very exciting, especially if you're shopping for your first vehicle. The Bill of Sale is a legal document that should contain all the details about what you are buying. You will want to check the bill of sale for warranty information, serial numbers or VIN, make, model, price, and terms.

    If you feel that negotiations have been done properly and the bill of sale represents the deal you wanted to make, proceed with all the paperwork. As the buyer, you have more work to do in terms of paperwork and DMV transactions.

    You can't drive the vehicle until you have transferred the title and purchased auto liability insurance. Plus, your vehicle must pass inspection before the title can be transferred. So how do you get all this accomplished?

    A temporary registration is available to you for just $10, with about 30 days before expiration. You'll need to bring some paperwork to the DMV office for the temporary license plates:

    • Bill of sale
    • Proof of insurance
    • Drivers license or proof of residency

    Your new car will have to be inspected. Use the temporary license plate to drive it in for inspection. Once you pass the inspection you'll be given the application for title which proves you passed the safety and emissions checks.

    Completing the title transfer is easiest if both you and the seller go the DMV together. The staff at each DMV office is happy to help you with the title assignment and report of sale. Be sure to bring:

    • Application for Title
    • Vehicle Inspection Report
    • Drivers license
    • Proof of insurance
    • Payment―cash, check, or credit card

    There are fees associated with applying for a Certificate of Title that you must pay. At the same time you will want to pay the annual registration fees.

    Remember, if you bought your car from a dealer and find yourself dissatisfied, you may have rights under the Lemon Law. Even well-researched deals can turn out badly; but if you negotiate carefully, assess the vehicle objectively, and deal fairly, you should be happy with your purchase.

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