Car Buying and Selling Regulations in Michigan

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When you are planning to purchase a car, it is important to do some research. You should know what you want in terms of lifestyle, test, price, safety and reliability before you start looking for the best deal. These questions will help you make an informed decision:

  • Are you looking for cheap transport back and forth to work every day?
  • What are you planning to use your vehicle for?
  • What features are you looking for in a car?
  • Can you afford to pay?
  • Are you going to pay cash or through a loan?
  • What's your credit history look like?

All answers to the above questions should be objective. For instance, you know that if your credit history is good, chances of getting enough money to finance a good vehicle are high. Check out the prices of used car in the National Automobile Dealers Association or in the Kelley Blue Book. Once you know what you want and have enough knowledge about cars, you can then start looking. Check out in the newspapers, buyer’s guides, comparison sites or classified ads. If you get what seems like the best deal, take it for a test drive. If you are planning to buy a used vehicle, read the Facts for Consumers guide offered by the Federal Trade Commission. If you are buying a new vehicle, check out the price of your preferred car at a couple of dealers.

So you’ve made a Deal

What’s next? This is a question that many people ask. After purchasing your vehicle, you will need to register and title it in your name. The Michigan Secretary of State Branch office is the office responsible for handling registration and titling. If you are purchasing your vehicle from the dealership, the dealer will handle all the paperwork for vehicle registration and titling on your behalf. If you are purchasing it from a private seller, you will need to handle all the paperwork by yourself.

Buying From an Individual

Buying a vehicle from an individual requires one to take great caution. As a buyer, you will need to inquire about the cost of insurance for the vehicle you are purchasing. You will also need to test drive the vehicle to determine its roadworthiness. Also, look for a qualified mechanic to inspect the vehicle before purchase. You must also check the vehicle identification number (VIN) on the vehicle and the title to verify whether they do match. The next step in the process of buying a vehicle in Michigan is to get the paperwork required to register and title the vehicle in your name. Obtain the title from the seller. If the vehicle is titled with multiple owners, have the names and signatures of all current owners on the title. If you are purchasing a car from an estate, you will need to obtain a letter of authority and a copy of the death certificate if the deceased’s estate is probated. It is recommended that you complete the sale at the Michigan Secretary of State Branch office. This will help you answer any question that may arise during the process. Once you purchase your vehicle, you must title it within 15 days from the purchase date. You can also register the vehicle at the same time of titling it, provided you have purchased the minimum insurance cover for that vehicle.

Buying From a Dealer

When you purchase a vehicle from the dealer, they will handle all the paperwork for registration and titling on your behalf. All you need is to pay for a little extra service. The dealer will do the following:

  • Provide you with ownership documents and other necessary forms.
  • Collect any fees and taxes and pay them on your behalf.
  • Apply for your title within 15 days.
  • Transfer your license plate on your behalf.
  • Provide you copies of all paperwork.

Selling Your Vehicle

As a seller, you and the buyer will need to visit the Secretary of State Branch office to complete the sale. On your title, fill in the following:

  • Selling date.
  • Selling price.
  • Vehicle mileage.
  • Your name and signature.

If you co-own the vehicle with other people, they will also need to sign the title. If there is a lien on the vehicle, arrange to have it released by paying off the loan. The lienholder also have to sign the title. You must also attach a lien termination statement. The buyer will also be required to fill out his or her name, signature and address. If you complete your transaction with the buyer at home, make sure you keep the photocopy of the title after it has been filled. You will also need to remove the license plates from the vehicle and cancel its insurance after sale.

Buying or Selling a Vehicle without a Title

A title is a vital document that is required in order to title and register your newly purchased vehicle in your name. If it is missing, ask the seller to apply for a duplicate copy and assign it to you during the time of sale. However, you can sell a vehicle without a title if you meet the following conditions:

  • The buyer and seller must go to the authorities involved together to complete the purchase.
  • You will also need to provide the buyer with proof of the vehicle identification number (registration card).
  • The title must be free of any liens.
  • The Secretary of State's database must have details of the title.

Buying or Selling Without a Registration

Registration papers are not needed when selling a vehicle. However, you need to clear all fees and fines that may be accrued to your registration at your county clerk’s office. If you are the buyer, don’t worry about obtaining registration papers from the seller. You won’t need them when registering your car.