State Regulations in Maine
Buying or selling a motor vehicle doesn't have to be a headache if you've done your homework and know what's required. DMV.org offers a complete Buying and Selling Section to guide you through the process.
Buying a Car
A vehicle is a major purchase so you'll want to do plenty of research before you buy.
A few tips for buying a car:
- Do your homework. Figure out what kind of car you want or need to fit your lifestyle and budget.
- Read consumer reports, comparison guides, and forums to learn about the car you are researching.
- Comparison shop for prices.
- Test drive each car. You'll want to know if you are comfortable behind the wheel. Climb in the backseat 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 body style.
- Once you decide on a car, get a car report on it. This car report, available through DMV.org, 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 upwards as the seller makes a counter-offer.
The Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) handles registration of your vehicles in Maine. You need to go to your town government offices with your bill of sale, the window sticker (if bought from a dealer), and the title. Be prepared to pay not only the $35 registration fee, but a 5.5% sales tax (the first time you register) and local excise tax (annually). You won't get the plates until you pay your excise tax. You can also register your car at your local BMV office once you've paid the excise tax at your town office.
If you are considering purchasing a used car, or are ready to sell your own, be sure to check out the state's Used Car Buying Guide. This guide is especially helpful if you are buying from a dealer, but you may pick up a few pointers if you're buying from an individual as well.
Selling a Car
When you sell your car, you need to provide the buyer with the original title (signed over by you on the back) and a Bill of Sale. Make copies of the paperwork for your own records.
It's good practice to accept only a certified check for the purchase; this will verify that the check is good. If you must take cash, get the buyer to sign in receipt of the vehicle. Personal checks are not advised.
It's also helpful to provide the buyer with any maintenance logs or other paperwork associated with that vehicle.
Handy hints for selling your car:
- Determine the fair market value of your car by researching the Kelley Blue Book. Print out market comparisons to show potential buyers the value of your car.
- Plan to advertise online, in your local newspaper, or in a local car buying guide.
- Clean up your car. Make needed repairs.
- Be prepared to negotiate. Some people won't pay the asking price for any item, so if you're flexible on the price, you'll sell the car sooner.