Paperwork When Buying a Car in Delaware

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Paperwork When Buying a Car in Delaware

Buying a car is exciting, but it also requires some work. As the new owner of a car, you have to make sure that it's properly titled and registered.

If you buy from a dealer, they'll help you with a lot of the required paperwork. If you buy a car from a private seller, you'll have a little more work to do on your own.

Buying From a Private Party (Bill of Sale) in DE

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. Make sure it has warranty information, serial numbers or VIN, make, model, price, and terms of the sale.

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 Delaware Division of Motor Vehicles 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 $20, with 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 in Delaware.

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. You'll need to bring:

  • Application for title, available at the DMV.
  • Vehicle Inspection Report.
  • Your 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.

Buying Through a Dealer

When you purchase a new or used car through a dealership, they will complete and process the required paperwork on your behalf.

Buying Without Paperwork

Buying 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 (find out how in our Replacing a Lost Title). 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.

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