Paperwork Required When Buying a Car in Maryland

Last Updated on March 22, 2018 by Jason Mason

In Maryland, you will need certain documents in order to register and title your newly purchased car in your name. You will need to obtain a vehicle title from the seller and a bill of sale in some cases. You will also need to take your vehicle for inspection and get car insurance before registration. Once you obtain all paperwork for registration, you need to visit the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) to register the car in your name.

Paperwork for Maryland Car Buyers

When you purchase a car in Maryland, you have to obtain the following documents from the seller:

  • The vehicle's title certificate, which must include your name and signature, car purchase price and seller’s name and signature.
  • Form VR-181 (Bill of Sale) if the vehicle was bought for more than $500 or the title does not have a purchase price on it.
  • Form VR-217 (Notice of Security Interest Filing) or a letter from the lender if the seller had acquired the vehicle through a loan. The letter must be signed and state: That all financing has been paid off. The amount of the loan. The start and end dates of the loan. The borrower’s name and address. Vehicle description.

Before taking your car for registration, you will also need:

  • Car insurance for the car.
  • A vehicle inspection.

Maryland Title Transfer

You must go in person to your local Maryland MVA branch to register your newly purchased car. You will need to take with you:

  • Vehicle title that includes the vehicle purchase price.
  • Form VR-181 (Bill of Sale), if applicable.
  • Notice of Security Interest or letter from finance institution, if applicable.

NOTE: If you purchase a car from out-of-state dealer, you must also include in your application Form VR-005 (Application for Maryland Title). The certificate of title fee is $100, plus titling tax fee, which is usually 6% of purchase price.

Temporary Registration

You can apply for a temporary registration which is valid for 30 days. Temporary registration is needed if you want to drive the vehicle for repair or inspection. To apply for a temporary registration, take the following to the nearest Maryland MVA office: A completed Form VR-129 (Temporary State Inspection Waiver).

  • Payment for the $20 fee.
  • Lost Vehicle Title

If the vehicle title is missing, ask the seller to apply for a duplicate copy before selling the car to you. Don’t accept the vehicle if it doesn’t have a title.

Registering Your New Car in MD

You must register and title your car within 60 days from the date of purchase. You can do so in person by visiting your local MD MVA office. You must take with you:

  • The Bill of Sale (Form VR-181), if applicable.
  • The certificate of title.
  • Proof of vehicle inspection.
  • Proof of insurance.

Once all the required documents and fees have been submitted, you will receive your license plates from Maryland MVA.

Vehicle History Reports

A vehicle history report is not needed when registering or titling a car in your name. However, this document is needed when purchasing a car. From this report, you can get detailed information about the vehicle you are buying, such as:

  • Damage history.
  • Accident history.
  • Odometer reading.