Paperwork When Buying a Car in Minnesota

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Paperwork When Buying a Car in Minnesota

If you are buying a car through a Minnesota dealership, they will complete the paperwork; however, if you are buying a car from a private party, you will be responsible for the paperwork required to title and register the car with the Minnesota Driver and Vehicle Services (DVS) office.

To complete a car sale, have the seller sign over the title to you. It's also a good idea to get a bill of sale, which should list all the terms of the sale, including the purchase price.

Buying Without Proper Documentation

If the seller can't find the title, he or she should apply to the DVS for a replacement title. Some older cars may not have titles, but, in general, buying a car without a title can be risky, since the title is proof of ownership.

If you still want to buy a non-titled vehicle, the seller 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 an Application to Title/Reg a Vehicle (Form PS2000).

If the seller can produce neither the title nor the registration, the buyer will need to show the following to DVS 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 lbs. gross.
  • A written statement of facts completed by the seller. It must contain:
    • The vehicle's year, make, model, and Vehicle Identification Number (VIN).
    • An explanation of why no proof of ownership is available.
    • As much detail as possible about the history of the vehicle.
    • The seller's signature.
  • A written statement from you with:
    • A statement acknowledging that you will need to defend the state against any claims of ownership that might arise.
    • Your signature.

The state may also require you to purchase a surety bond to protect the state from any ownership claims.

Of course, the you will also need to register and title the vehicle.

Bill of Sale

Though not mandatory for registering and titling, a bill of sale should be mandatory for your own records. This document serves as your proof of purchase and, in the event of any sales and/or county wheelage tax discrepancies, protects your position. You can conveniently download this form from our Bill of Sale page.

Vehicle History Report

A Vehicle History Report is not a required document, but it is extremely important to you as the buyer of a used car. The report will provide information about a car's past, such as:

  • An estimated odometer reading.
  • An accident history.
  • The car's involvement in theft or flooding.

For reassurance about the car you are thinking about buying, an Vehicle History Report is an invaluable tool. In fact, many dealers provide them to customers. However, if you're buying a car from a private seller, the small cost of a report is worth the truth about a car's history.

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