Car Buying and Selling Regulations in North Carolina

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Purchasing a car in North Carolina has been made easier. There are many car dealers and private parties advertising their cars online or in various local newspaper channels. You can easily shop around and get the best deal for the car you want. All you need is to do your homework well to be sure you are getting the best deal. When buying a used car, you will also need to order the vehicle history report to help you know the history of that car. Once you make your purchase, you will need to register and title it in your name. If you are purchasing it from a dealer, they will normally handle the paperwork for registration and titling on your behalf. If you are purchasing it from a private seller, you will be required to handle the paperwork by yourself. You will need to obtain the title and registration paperwork from the seller, before you complete your purchase. Beware of vehicles with “totaled” or “salvaged” title. Vehicles with these titles mean that they have been damaged at one time by accidents or floodwaters, therefore considered unsafe for transportation. You will also need to request a Vehicle History Report or the Vehicle Identification Number Check, to help you know the history of the vehicle you are purchasing.

Importance of the Bill of Sale

You should ask the seller to provide you with a signed-off bill of sale. This document should contain the buyer and seller’s signatures, names and addresses. The bill of sale also has the vehicle’s purchase price, the vehicle’s purchase date and vehicle description. You need this document in order to register and title the vehicle you have purchased. The North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will also use the bill of sale to determine the sales tax for the vehicle you have purchased. Although the North Carolina DMV will use the division’s database to calculate your tax, the bill of sale will still be used to show proof of the amount you paid for that vehicle.

How to Sell Your Vehicle

When selling your vehicle in North Carolina, you need to collect all applicable documentations regarding your vehicle. You will need to provide the buyer with the title signed over to them. The title should also be notarized. The owner will need the title in order to register and title the vehicle in his or her name. On the back of the title, include the following:

  • Buyer's name and address.
  • Seller's signature and hand-printed name.
  • Date of vehicle sale or delivery.
  • Odometer reading.
  • Notarization.
  • Damage disclosure.

Buying or Selling a Car without paperwork

Registration papers are not needed when buying or selling a vehicle in North Carolina. It is the responsibility of buyers to register their newly bought vehicles in their names. You cannot purchase or sell a vehicle without a title. If you are a buyer, you need a title from the seller in order to register and title the vehicle in your name. If the title is missing or damaged, ask the seller or dealer to apply for a duplicate title and sign it over to you before selling the vehicle. If at any moment you have bought a vehicle without a title and you can get in touch with the previous owner to give you the title, you might still title the car in your name. To do so, you will need to pay indemnity bond. For more information on how to go about it, get in touch with the North Carolina DMV office at (919) 715-7000. You can also contact their customer care representative online. If the owner of the vehicle that you have in your hand is deceased and there is no estate administrator for the vehicle, you can still title the vehicle in your name. To do so, you will need to complete and submit an Affidavit of Authority to Assign Titles to the North Carolina DOT. You must list your name and that of any other heir in order to transfer the title to your name.

What to Do With License Plates

Immediately after selling your car, you will need to remove the license plates from the car. You may then transfer the plates to another vehicle or return it to the nearest Vehicle and License Plate Renewal office. You should not cancel your insurance before notifying the Vehicle and License Plate Renewal office of the sale. For detailed information about selling your car, contact the North Carolina DMV at (919) 715-7000.