Paperwork When Buying a Car in Montana

Paperwork When Buying a Car in Montana

When buying a car, whether from a dealer or a private seller, you'll need to deal with a few documents and forms before you can drive away. Read below for details on what to expect.

Required Paperwork in Montana

To protect yourself and expedite the title-transfer process when you buy a car, Montana's Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) suggests that you take the following steps:

  • Secure the vehicle title and registration receipt from the seller. If you are purchasing a new car, the dealership will submit all of this information to your county treasurer's office. Although not mandatory, having a copy of your bill of sale is suggested.
  • The vehicle's title must be signed by all registered owners and all signatures must be notarized.
  • If the vehicle is 10 years old or older, the seller must provide an odometer reading either on the title itself or on a separate document.
  • Make sure there are no active liens on the vehicle and that all have been released.
  • Collar a copy of the vehicle's last registration receipt. This is very important in protecting yourself from any out-of-the-blue back taxes or fees.
  • Double check that the vehicle identification number (VIN) on the title matches the number etched into the vehicle. If the numbers do not match, you will need to immediately drop anchor on the purchase until the legal owner is verified. This is one of those seemingly minor procedures that should not be overlooked. The possible long-term hassle that such a discrepancy can cause makes it not worth skipping.
  • You must apply for your new car's title and registration at your county treasurer's office.

Buying a Vehicle Without a Registration

If you buy a vehicle without a registration, to register it in your name you will need:

Drop all of this off in person at your local county treasurer's office.

Buying a Vehicle Without a Title

If you've bought a vehicle and the seller did not provide you with the title, then to obtain a title in your name you must submit:

Mail all of this to:

  • Title and Registration Bureau
  • Motor Vehicle Division
  • Montana Department of Justice
  • 1003 Buckskin Dr
  • Deer Lodge, MT 59722

Bill of Sale

Though a bill of sale is not required for registering and titling your vehicle, it's always smart to keep a copy of one for your records. You'll probably never need it, but if you do you'll be glad you have it on file. You can easily download a copy of this document from our Bill of Sale page.

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