State Regulations in Minnesota
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Buying or selling a vehicle in Minnesota can be advantageous to both parties if they follow the state's Driver and Vehicle Services (DVS) guidelines, remain aware of their rights, and comply with registration and titling requirements.
Minnesota vehicle buyers should be aware that buying a vehicle is final. The Minnesota Attorney General's office, in its Car Handbook, advises buyers that there is no "three-day cooling off" or other period where vehicle purchasers can change their mind and get a refund.
Other tips for buying a vehicle:
- Be aware of interest rates and financing gimmicks
- Maintain new and used vehicles that have been purchased, including tire air, oil, and other fluids
- Research and consider the long-term; don't ever buy a vehicle on impulse
- Seek out safety features that help prevent and minimize accidents, and may qualify you for insurance discounts
As for selling a vehicle in Minnesota, dealers or private sellers should notify Minnesota DVS and sign the title over to the new vehicle owner.
To transfer a title in Minnesota (transfer ownership), fill out the proper seller and buyer information on the title certificate and give it to the new owner. For plural ownership of a vehicle, it is required that all co-owners sign the document. Notarization is not required.
If you're trying to sell your car but you can't find the title, you can ask the DVS to issue you a replacement title. Just fill out the duplicate title form and take it to a motor vehicle office. If you're not in a hurry, you can instead mail in your application. Either way, also submit a duplicate title fee of $9.
The seller doesn't need to provide the buyer with the current registration card at the time of the sale. However, it can come in handy in some situations by demonstrating to the buyer that the vehicle's paperwork is in order.
If you're selling a nontitled vehicle, you can execute the transaction by completing the necessary information on the registration card. Or you may complete a bill of sale form that contains all the pertinent vehicle information. Be sure that all of the vehicle's owners sign the form. The buyer must then complete a title application form.
If the seller can produce neither the title nor the registration, the buyer will need to show the following to Driver and Vehicle Services in order to title and register the vehicle:
- Bill of sale signed by the seller or sellers.
- Photographs of the vehicle taken from all sides. You don't need to take this step for utility trailers weighing less than 6,000 pounds gross.
- A written statement of facts completed by the seller. It must contain the vehicle's year, make, model, and vehicle identification number. It also needs to have an explanation as to why there isn't any proof of ownership available and give as much detail regarding the history of the vehicle as possible. The seller must then sign the statement.
- A written statement by the buyer saying that the buyer will need to defend the state against any claims of ownership that might arise. The buyer must sign the statement. The state may also require the buyer to purchase a surety bond to protect the state from any ownership claims.
Of course, the buyer will also need to complete a title and registration application.
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