Paperwork When Buying a Car in Nevada

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Buying a Vehicle From a Private Party

When you buy a vehicle from a private party, be sure to get a signed-off title. You won't be able to register the vehicle with the Department of Motor Vehicles without one.

In most cases, the existing owner of record will need to apply for a duplicate if the original is not in his or her possession, but you may apply for the duplicate if the car is titled in Nevada, is 9 years old or older, and has no liens.

Simply fill out the Application for Duplicate Nevada Certificate of Title (Form VP012) and a Bill of Sale and bring it in to your local full-service DMV office.

To complete the Bill of Sale, both the seller and the buyer should sign off in the appropriate section. If you need to keep a copy (because there is no title), complete 2 forms so you each have an original. The seller should also remove the license plates from the car and keep them.

Salvage titles: Do not purchase a vehicle that has an orange salvage title. It's illegal to sell salvage vehicles to private purchasers.

Private payment arrangements: If the seller wishes to remain on the title as part of a personal payment arrangement, he or she will need to complete the lienholder section of the title. The new title will be sent to the existing lienholder, who must sign off on the vehicle and release the lien before the vehicle can be sold again in the future.

Commercial financing: If you've arranged financing with a bank or other financial institution, that business will usually handle the title transfer with the DMV, and will be in possession of the new title until the lien is satisfied. In this case, you will be allowed to register the vehicle with the financial institution's security agreement forms instead of the actual title.

As the buyer, you'll be responsible for obtaining insurance and a movement permit for the vehicle. Because the seller will keep the plates, you'll need to apply at the Department of Motor Vehicle for a permit to operate the vehicle on public roads until your registration documents come through. You'll receive the movement permit when you bring your title or security agreement in to your local full-service DMV office to register the car.

Sales tax should not be collected on vehicles sold by a private party.

Buying a Vehicle From a Nevada Dealer

When you buy a car from a dealer in the state, you should receive the following documents:

  • Copies of contract, lease agreement, and warranty.
  • Temporary movement placard with an expiration date 30 days from the sale date.
  • Emissions certification, if required.
  • Drive train inspection report on used vehicles with more than 75,000 miles.
  • Dealers Report of Sale (DRS), sometimes called the green slip.

If financing has not yet been arranged, the dealer may hold onto the DRS until arrangements are completed. This can take up to 15 days.

Registration for the vehicle must be completed by the expiration date on the temporary placard, even if the DRS wasn't obtained until later.

The dealer is responsible for handling all title transfer documents, and must submit the paperwork within 30 days of the sale date. The new title will then be sent to the lienholder, if there is one, or to you as the owner.

Buyer beware: Nevada has no return policy or grace period on vehicle sales, so be sure to read the contracts and agreements carefully before signing. Do not sign a contract or document with blank spaces on it.

Buying a Vehicle From an Out-of-State Dealer

You should ask the dealer about title transfer procedures and temporary movement permits before you make your purchase, because each state handles these things a little differently. Make sure you know your responsibilities and what the dealer will handle for you before it's a done deal.

To register the vehicle in Nevada, you'll need to provide:

  • Invoice or Bill of Sale, as well as one of the following: title, Manufacturer's Certificate of Origin, security agreement, lease agreement, or purchase order.
  • Nevada emissions certification, if needed.
  • VIN inspection.

Registration Issues

The seller must provide a title to the buyer, but the vehicle registration doesn't have to be shown at the time of the sale. However, if the vehicle has never been titled or registered in Nevada, the buyer will need to have a vehicle identification number (VIN) inspection. You may do so at a DMV office. Alternatively, you can have a police officer conduct the inspection and then complete the VIN form.

Bill of Sale

Though not required for registering and titling, a bill of sale is a smart document to have for your records. It serves as your proof of purchase and protects your stance should any discrepancies arise over your vehicle's Governmental Services tax rate. You can conveniently download this form from our Bill of Sale page.

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