- Location: Washington DC
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When you are getting ready to buy a car, be it new or used, it might seem like there are more questions than answers. If you take the time to do your research and base your decisions on facts rather than impulse, then you should be in good shape to find the right car for you.
There are many places to go to find consumer information about car purchases. The Federal Citizen Information Center (FCIC) makes available a free, online Consumer Action Handbook. This guide has a large, detailed section about buying a new or used car.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) also has useful information about buying a used car.
You can look up the value of a used car on the Kelley Blue Book website. The site also offers a payment calculator and information on financing and insurance. Consider buying a vehicle history report for any used car you've got your eye on.
If you buy a new car from a licensed auto dealership, normally the dealer will process the title and registration paperwork for you. If you're buying a used car from a private seller, this process is up to you.
In the District of Columbia, the basic steps that you must follow when buying a car are:
If the car does not have valid plates, then you'll have to get temporary plates valid for 45 days so that you can go through the inspection station.
If you are an individual automobile owner, and you sell your used car to a private party, you must sign the title over to the new owner. Then you should surrender your tags in person to the DMV and receive a receipt.
Be sure to keep this receipt for your records. You will be held responsible for any further infractions that involve those tags if you do not surrender them to the DMV and retain the proof that you have relinquished them.
Paperwork Required for a Sale
You do not have to produce the registration at the time of the sale. However, doing so may facilitate the sale by showing the buyer that you've kept up the vehicle's paperwork.