Paperwork When Buying a Car in North Dakota
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- Make sure you secure the title and registration receipt from the seller. If you are purchasing a new car, the dealership will submit all of this information to the North Dakota Department of Transportation's (NDDOT) Motor Vehicle office.
- The vehicle's title must be signed by all registered owners and all signatures must be notarized.
- Record an odometer reading either on the title or on a separate document.
- Submit a bill of sale.
- Make sure there are no active liens on the vehicle and that all have been released.
- Double-check that the vehicle identification number (VIN) on the title matches the number etched into the vehicle. If the numbers do not match, immediately halt the purchase until the legal owner is verified. This is one of those seemingly minor procedures that should not be overlooked or you could face a long-term legal hassle.
- Vehicles less than nine years old must have the SFN 18609 Damage Disclosure Form filled out by the seller, even if there is no damage.
- You will be allowed to drive this vehicle for five days without registering it provided you carry proof of ownership (dated bill of sale or a dated copy of the title).
- You will have 30 days to submit a Purchaser's Certification and Application to NDDOT.
If the seller cannot provide an existing title, you must apply for a new one by completing an Application for Certificate of Title & Registration of a Vehicle. Include as much pertinent information as possible supporting your ownership claim, along with an explanation regarding the missing existing title. You will then be issued a new title if NDDOT finds your information to be sufficient.
Although not mandatory, a bill of sale should be kept on file. It's one of those documents that you'll probably never need, but if you do you'll be glad you had the common sense to keep in your records. You can easily download a blank copy from our Bill of Sale page.
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