Car Buying and Selling Regulations in North Dakota

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Selling or buying a vehicle can be a tricky thing, especially if you know nothing about cars. If you are a buyer, you may end up investing your money in a motor vehicle that is not reliable or one that compromises your safety. Therefore, you need to equip yourself with enough information before making your purchase.

Procedure involved when buying a car

  • If you are purchasing a new car from the dealer, the dealer will handle all the paperwork for registration and titling on your behalf. If you are purchasing a car from a private seller, you will need to handle all the paperwork needed to register and title the vehicle by yourself. You will need to obtain the title and registration receipts from the seller and take them to the North Dakota Department of Transportation (NDDOT) in order to register and title the car.
  • All the signatures in the vehicle's title must be notarized. If the vehicle is owned by multiple persons, the seller must ensure that the title is signed by all these owners.
  • You also need to obtain the odometer reading of the vehicle you are purchasing.
  • Also obtain the bill of sale signed by you and the seller.
  • If there is liens of the vehicle, make sure they are released before you complete the purchase.
  • Double-check the VIN on the vehicle to ensure that it matches the one on the title. Don’t purchase the car if the VIN on the car and title does not match.

Once you purchase the vehicle, you will have 30 days from the purchase date to register and title it with NDDOT in order to drive it legally. However, you will be allowed to drive the vehicle for 5 days without registration. During these days, you must carry either the bill or sale or a copy of valid title to show proof of vehicle ownership.

How to Buy without a Title

If the seller does not have a title to the vehicle that he or she is selling, you can apply for a new one by completing Form SFN 2872 (Application for Certificate of Title & Registration of a Vehicle). You have to submit an explanation as to why the title is missing and include all the pertinent information supporting your ownership claim. If the NDDOT finds truth of the information that you have submitted, you will then receive a new title.

What to do after selling your vehicle

  • You will need to remove the license plates from the vehicle.
  • You will also need to sign the title over to the buyer.
  • You must also include the odometer reading on the back of the title or on a separate document.
  • You must also Form SFN 2877 (Submit an Assignment and Warranty of Title) to the. North Dakota DOT.

How to Sell Without a Title

You cannot complete a sale without a valid title. If the title is missing, apply for a duplicate copy and sign it over to the buyer. To do so, you will need to submit Form SFN 2872 (Application for Certificate of Title & Registration of a Vehicle) along with $5 duplicate title fee.

How to Buy or Sell without Registration

As a buyer, you need registration papers in order to register and title your newly purchased vehicle in your name. If these papers are missing for whatever reason, ask the seller to apply for a duplicate registration papers with NDDOT. To do so, they need to submit Form SFN 2872 (Application for Certificate of Title & Registration of a Vehicle). If the seller fails to do so, you will need to explain this circumstance when submitting your own application for vehicle registration.

Car Buying Tips

  • Order the vehicle history report of the car you are purchasing. This report contains detailed information about the vehicle accident history, damage and repair history, odometer readings and VIN.
  • If you are purchasing in installments, be sure that you can afford the monthly installments.
  • Before purchasing a vehicle, have it inspected by a qualified mechanic.
  • If you are purchasing a used car from a dealer, request the name and address of the previous owner.
  • Make sure the VIN on the vehicle you are purchasing matches the one on the title
  • Insist on agreement contact made in writing.
  • Obtain an original signed bill of sale from the seller and purchase receipt.
  • Bear in mind that highly priced vehicles do not translate to safety or reliability of the vehicle.
  • The best deals for new cars usually occur between the months of July through October. This is the period when dealers are desperately trying to create new space for new models. You can also get a good deal during late December, when salesmen are desperately trying to reach their target of the year.
  • Never sign a blank financial form.
  • Make sure all contracts are in written.