Paperwork When Buying a Car in New Mexico

Paperwork Required to Buy a Car in New Mexico

In New Mexico, you must complete paperwork when you buy a car so that you can title and register it with the New Mexico Motor Vehicle Division (MVD).

A vehicle dealer will generally handle the paperwork for you. However, if you buy a car from a private seller, you’ll need to get the vehicle title, an odometer disclosure, and other documents.

Keep reading for more information about the paperwork needed when buying a car in NM.

Paperwork for NM Car Buyers

When you buy a car, you need to get the certificate of title, with all the information filled in, from the seller.

Get a bill of sale if the certificate of title is either lost or all of the reassignment boxes have been filled out already from a previous sale. Regardless, it is good to have a bill of sale simply to note the agreed-upon price. It also allows the seller to establish the current odometer reading. Both you and the seller will need to sign the form.

The seller must include the odometer reading on any one of the following:

If the vehicle title is from out of state, you will need to have a vehicle identification number (VIN) inspection.

NOTE: If you are a resident of Bernalillo County, you’ll have to get an Emission Certificate of Inspection before you can register the vehicle.

See our page Title Transfers in New Mexico for more information about transferring vehicle ownership.

Buying From a Dealer

When you buy a car from a dealership, the sales people will explain and process the paperwork required.

Buying Without Paperwork

It is possible to buy a vehicle without the certificate of title or registration papers, but the New Mexico MVD advises against it. If you're trying to register and title a vehicle without a previous title, the required paper trail is almost endless. Call the title information line at (888) 683-4636 for details.

You should be aware of a transaction from a seller with no paperwork; this could be a red flag signaling that the seller doesn't really own the vehicle.

The seller does not legally need to provide you with a current registration.

Bill of Sale

Though not always mandatory, a bill of sale is a good document to have for your records. It's one of those papers that you'll probably never need, but if you do you'll be glad you have it on file. If needed, you can easily download a copy of one from our Bill of Sale page.

New Mexico Title and Registration

To title and register your vehicle, you’ll need to go in person to an MVD office with:

  • The certificate of title.
  • An odometer statement.
  • An emissions inspection certificate, if applicable.
  • Proof of car insurance.
  • Payment for fees, which vary by weight of vehicle and length of registration.

For more information, see our page Register a Car in New Mexico.

Vehicle History Reports

When buying a car, you may find it helpful to confirm what a seller tells you or look into a vehicle’s complete history.

A vehicle history report provides detailed information about a car’s past, such as accidents, damage, and a mileage estimate.

This information allows you to avoid problem cars, such as flood damaged vehicles or those involved in multiple accidents, which can continue to have problems even if they’ve been repaired.

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