Paperwork When Buying a Car in Washington
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Are you buying your car from a dealer? If so, the dealer should take care of the paperwork for you.
But, if you're buying from a private seller, here's how to proceed.
When conducting a car transaction in Washington, you will need the following to transfer the title of the vehicle:
- Completed Odometer Disclosure Statement signed by the buyer and seller. You may pick this up at a DOL Vehicle Licensing Office.
- Title with the previous owner's release signature.
- Emissions certificate, in some Washington counties.
You must transfer the title into your name within 15 days of buying the vehicle, or face a fine of up to $125.
A title is imperative. You can't complete an official sales transaction without one. In these cases, the seller must visit a vehicle licensing office and complete an Affidavit in Lieu of Title form (this cannot be downloaded).
Be prepared to wait, though, as processing takes four to six weeks.
Unlike the title, a vehicle's registration certificate (or lack thereof) has no bearing on a sale. Neither the seller nor the buyer needs the registration in hand to consummate a sales transaction.
A bill of sale is required for registering and titling your vehicle. Plus, its a valuable document to have for your files should there ever be a question regarding your vehicle's sales and use tax rates. You can, if needed, easily download this form from our Bills of Sale page.
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