State Regulations in South Carolina
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Before you buy a new or used car, from a dealer or an individual, do some research. Decide what kind of car you like, can afford, and fits your lifestyle. Check with your agent about the cost of insurance; one model and make of car can be priced significantly higher than another similar vehicle.
Car values can be compared using the Kelley Blue Book. This will help you plan your car-buying budget.
The state also offers several options for license plates, so you'll want to explore those before you register.
Several car-buying tips:
- Be sure to get a Bill of Sale. This online version is only a sample; South Carolina requires the original document, so you may want to pick one up at your local DMV before you purchase a car. The seller may have one handy, but you'll be prepared if he doesn't.
- Keep all your receipts and paperwork concerning the purchase and care of your vehicle.
- Test drive the car before you buy. You'll need to check the acceleration, braking, steering, and overall fit of the vehicle to you and your driving style.
Before you sell your car, do some research and a little work. It will pay off in the long run.
- Check the value of your car with Kelley Blue Book. Determine your price based on those values.
- Clean up your car. Washing, waxing, vacuuming will make the car more appealing to a potential buyer.
- Plan to advertise. Put a sign in the window of your vehicle, place a classified ad in your local paper, and advertise with a local car trading magazine.
- Gather all the paperwork concerning your vehicle. The buyer will need a copy of the registration papers, the original title and a Bill of Sale. This online version is only a sample; South Carolina requires the original document, so you may want to pick one up at your local DMV before you sell.
In South Carolina, you can't buy or sell a vehicle that doesn't have a title. Buyers should use caution if someone attempts to sell you a car without a title; this may signal that the seller doesn't really own the car or have a legal right to sell it.
If you want to sell a vehicle to which you've lost the title, first apply for a duplicate title from the DMV (see our Title Transfers section to find out how). Then you can proceed with the sale.
Registration papers are another matter; sellers are not required to provide the buyer with the vehicle's registration. When you as the buyer register and tag the vehicle in your own name, the DMV will give you a new set of documents.
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