Buying and Selling FAQs in Delaware

I found a car I'm thinking of buying, but it's out of state. How do I get a Delaware tag for it?

Before you get the car, you can pick up a temporary tag at your local Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) office for a $20 fee. This temporary tag will allow you to drive the vehicle back to Delaware to get it titled and registered here.

After you get the car back to the state, you'll need to get an inspection of the vehicle identification number (VIN). If the car is 10 years old or younger you will need to disclose the odometer reading. You may also need to have a safety and emissions inspection. While getting the inspection, you'll receive an application for a Delaware title. You'll need to provide an odometer disclosure, proof of insurance, the bill of sale, and your Delaware driver's license.

How do I buy a car in another country?

Contact your local Delaware DMV office for specifics in the state and in your county. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration provides a detailed website with all the details and forms for importing a vehicle into the United States.

I'm selling my car. Do I keep the tag/license plates?

You must remove the tag and take it to your local Delaware DMV office. The Delaware DMV will issue a temporary tag to the new owner for a fee of $20. The buyer must provide proof of insurance, the bill of sale, and a description of the vehicle, including the vehicle identification number (VIN). Please contact the Delaware Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) for more information.

How much will I have to pay to register my new car?

Delaware provides a helpful chart to help you determine the fees and taxes due on your vehicle. Some of the amounts are set; others are percentages of the purchase price.

For the first time, I will be buying my own car. I don't know how to get started. Can you help?

We offer a special section that gives you the details on Buying and Selling Your Car. Stop there first for hints and ideas; we also provide numerous links to aid you in your car search.

Delaware also provides a handy list of tips for purchasing a used car.

Typically, you should be prepared to:

  • Order a vehicle history report/VIN check. (For more information, please visit our Vehicle History Reports page.)
  • Pay sales tax.
  • Pay a registration fee.
  • Pay for a title transfer.
  • Buy a car insurance policy.
  • Pay for a vehicle inspection/emissions test.

For more information, please contact your local contact your local Delaware Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

How can I tell if a car has been wrecked?

Inspect the vehicle well. Check hinges, door frames, edges of the doors, hoods, trunks, fenders―and check to see if the paint is the same all over the vehicle. Also look under the car for rust spots.

Then, get a vehicle history report. This report will provide you with detailed information about the title, and whether the vehicle was involved in one or more accidents.

DMV.ORG BBB Business Review