State Regulations in Louisiana
Working With Dealers
Buying a vehicle from a dealer usually seems like the safest and easiest way to go. The dealer can handle all procedures and paperwork for you, as well as collect all applicable registration and title fees, regardless of whether you're buying, selling, or trading.
However, buyers often fall victim to what seem like "good deals" simply because they wanted to just "look around" on their way home from work. So, before you visit the dealership, devise a plan.
Consider visiting the websites of your local dealerships to get an idea of the inventory they have in stock. Call the dealerships and speak with a salesperson about what kind of vehicle you're looking for, what you're able to pay, and when you'd like to look at their vehicles. This begins a relationship with the salesperson. It lets him or her know that when you show up, you already know what you want.
Buying a Used Car
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has provided a guide for sellers and buyers of used cars, the Used Car Rule. The guide includes information about the dealer, the vehicle, and the warranty, as well as information about violations and penalties.
Note that dealers are also required by law to inform you of any salvaged status vehicles, Lemon Law returns, and any repairs made on a new vehicle if those repairs meet or exceed $500. If you want to make sure the vehicle you're considering purchasing doesn't fall into any of these categories―just ask!
Call the Auto Fraud Section of Louisiana's Department of Justice at (800) 351-4889 for more information about warranties.
Working With Individuals
Buying a vehicle from an individual can help you save money. Selling a vehicle to an individual allows you to make a little extra cash without having to trade in or go to a dealership.
Whether you're buying or selling, these are just a few of the forms you may need to obtain:
- Bill of Sale
- Notice of Vehicle Transfer
- Odometer Disclosure Statement
- Lien Continuation Statement
- Lien Termination Statement
- Vehicle History Report
Note that most of these forms must be viewed using the free Adobe Reader.
Buying From an Individual
If you're considering purchasing a vehicle from an individual, make sure you get the following information before you seal the deal:
- Hire a mechanic to inspect the vehicle, or at least have someone familiar with vehicles inspect it.
- Test drive the vehicle on different kinds of roads.
- Use every component and part that you can, i.e., brakes, windshield wipers, horn, accelerator at different speeds, etc.
- Check out the vehicle's maintenance record.
- Do some research about that particular make, model, and year before you commit.
Selling to an Individual
If you're selling your vehicle, make sure to assign the vehicle's title to the buyer in front of a notary public. Keep copies of all paperwork.
After you sell your vehicle, you'll need to submit a Notice of Transfer. You can do this online or by mailing the application to:
- Office of Motor Vehicles
- P.O. Box 64886
- Baton Rouge, LA 70896
Buying/Selling Without a Title and/or Registration
In order to sell a car to an individual in Louisiana, you must have the vehicle's title. It's a good idea to have the registration handy, too, so the buyer knows you've kept the registration up to date. Although the buyer doesn't need the registration in order to transfer ownership, the buyer will need the title from the seller in order to do so.