- Location: Wisconsin
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When it comes to registering a motor vehicle, it's all about the paperwork. Having a clear title, correct entries, license plates and a Bill of Sale will make the transfer of ownership go smoothly and without a catch.
When you purchase a new or used vehicle through an automotive dealership, it is the dealer's responsibility to take care of the paperwork, for you; in fact, they are required to submit the necessary forms within 7 days of your purchase of the vehicle.
However, if you are purchasing a vehicle from a private party, it is always a very good idea to ask for a Bill of Sale to go along with the title and any other necessary paperwork. Wisconsin offers an online document that outlines the steps when making a private party purchase, which includes a Bill of Sale. This document can be viewed and downloaded using the free Adobe Reader.
A Bill of Sale shows that the vehicle has been sold; it's a sort of receipt. A thorough Bill of Sale will include the buyer's name and address, the seller's name, address, and current registration number, and all vehicle information:
- Make, model, and year
- Style and color
- Vehicle identification number (VIN)
- Odometer reading
Some people choose to have their Bills of Sale notarized, too.
Make sure that before you hand the other party the payment for the vehicle the title is clear, filled out, and signed in the correct places. Look over the title for the odometer reading and verify it to the one in the vehicle, even at the risk of offending your seller!
Make sure that the title is signed in the correct spaces and noted on the reverse side; if there is a lien showing on the title, make sure you have a copy of the lien release before you make your payment. If the seller does not have the lien release, or tells you that the loan was paid off, but no release was ever sent, request that they accompany you to the DMV to transfer the title and to clear up the issue of the lien.
If you purchase a vehicle from a private party and pay cash, then later discover that there is still a lien in place and money owed on the lien, you cannot legally take ownership of the vehicle until that sum has been satisfied.
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