State Regulations in Georgia
When buying a new or used vehicle, research all makes and models before deciding on the car to buy. Determine which body style you want and need for your lifestyle, taste, and budget. Then research car values, insurance costs, crash test results, and recalls.
Once you buy the vehicle, you'll need to register, title, and tag it, so be sure to get all the documentation you need when you buy. Then take the following to your local Tax Commissioner's Office to get your tags:
- Certificate of origin, or the original title.
- Bill of sale.
- Appropriate fees and taxes. The original title fee is $18; a replacement is $8. A new law in Georgia requires sales tax to be paid at the time you register and title the vehicle, regardless of the registration time period, unless you have documentation proving the tax has already been paid.
Georgia assesses numerous penalty fees for late registration, so make sure you register and title your vehicle in a timely manner. You have 30 days to register after you purchase or transfer a title without penalty.
Buying Without a Title or Registration
Titles are not required in Georgia for vehicles 1985 or older, but you will need to provide the Bill of Sale when you register the car in your name, so be sure to take it with you to your local Tax Commissioner's Office. If the car is newer than 1985, a titled is required.
If the registration is missing, you'll need to go to your local Tax Commissioner's Office after contacting law enforcement to inspect the vehicle and the VIN. With this documentation and your Bill of Sale, you'll be able to register the car in your name.
Tips for Buying a Car
A few tips for buying a car:
- Do your homework. Figure out what kind of car will fit your lifestyle and budget. Read consumer reports, comparison guides, and online forums to learn about the car you are researching. Comparison-shop for prices so that when you go to a dealer or buy from an individual, you will know if the price is right.
- Test-drive each car. You'll want to know if you are comfortable behind the wheel―and if passengers will be comfortable too. Climb in the back seat 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 even body style.
- Once you decide on a car, get a vehicle history report on it. This 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 upward as the seller makes a counter-offer.
Tips for Selling Your Car
Handy hints for selling your car:
- Determine the fair market value of your car by researching the Kelley Blue Book value at no charge. You can also get free used-car pricing information from the National Automobile Dealers Association. Print out market comparisons to show potential buyers the value of your car.
- Plan to advertise. There are numerous places online, in your local newspaper, and in a local car buying guide.
- Clean up your car. Make needed repairs and get the vehicle detailed.
- Have your paperwork ready. Your title, for vehicles 1986 or newer, should be ready to sign over to the new owner. Be sure to have a Bill of Sale ready to complete; if you don't have the title or registration, this Bill of Sale is a required document.
- When you sell the vehicle, remove the license plates. The buyer must apply for a new tag; the old tag stays with the seller.