Car Buying and Selling Regulations in Texas

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Purchasing a car, whether new or used, is one of the most expensive purchases that you can make. So, before making your purchase, make sure you know what you want in terms of price, vehicle type, safety and reliability. You must have in mind the type of vehicle you plan to purchase. You must also know how much you intend to spend in your purchase. Do your homework well before making a purchase. You can use the National Automobile Dealers Association or Kelley Blue Book website to determine the best value for the vehicle you are purchasing. Once you have decided on the type of car to purchase, order its vehicle history report. There are several online companies that can generate a vehicle history report of any car in Texas. This report contains detailed information about the accident history, damage history, repair history, odometer reading and Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) for the vehicle you are purchasing. This report will help you make an informed decision without relying on what the seller is telling you.

The Paperwork

When you buy a vehicle from the dealer, the dealer will handle all the paperwork for vehicle registration and titling on your behalf, including collecting applicable fees and taxes. However, when you purchase a vehicle from a private party, you will handle all the paperwork by yourself. This can be easier than you may have thought. To start with, you need to transfer vehicle ownership to your name. You must obtain the title and the bill of sale from the seller. The bill of sale should have the name, signature and address of the seller and buyer, the vehicle’s purchase price, purchase date, the vehicle’s description and the VIN. In addition to the above documents, the seller should also complete grey sections of Form 130-U (Application for Texas Title). To transfer the title and register the vehicle into your name, you need to submit the title, the bill of sale and application for title form to your local County Tax Assessor-Collectors office. You must do so within 30 days from the date of vehicle purchase. If the title is missing for whatever reason, ask the seller to apply for a duplicate copy and sign it over to you. To do so, the seller will have to submit Form VTR-34 (Application for Certified Copy of Title) to the County Tax Assessor-Collectors Office. If you want to apply for a title for the vehicle whose owner is not known, you must obtain a bonded title. This means that there will be a bond to reimburse the rightful owner should they come forward to claim the vehicle in future. You will also need to fill out Form 130-U (Application for Texas Title) and Affidavit of Fact. After three years of holding a bonded title, you can then proceed to apply for a regular title. If you plan to sell unregistered vehicle or a vehicle for which you hold a bonded title, contact the County Tax Assessor-Collectors office for more information.

Seller Beware

It is advised to notify your local County Tax Assessor-Collectors office that you have sold a vehicle. This will help you avoid any claim or reliability that may be put on you after a sale. To do so, you will need to submit Form VTR-346 (Texas Motor Vehicle Transfer Notification) to your local County Tax Assessor-Collectors office immediately after making your sale. The buyer also needs to register the vehicle immediately after purchase. If the buyer fails to apply for title within 30 days from the purchase date, you may receive parking tickets and citations that may compromise your driver’s license. So, submitting the above may help you reduce the hassle of explaining that you weren’t the owner when the tickets were issued.

Car Buying Tips

The Office of the Attorney General in Texas has a guide that buyers can use when buying a vehicle in Texas. Armed with information from this guide, you will be able to protect yourself from unscrupulous dealers.