Buying a used car from a private seller - correct procedure?

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by ScottH, May 10, 2005.

  1. ScottH

    ScottH Producer

    Jan 2, 2001
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    Real Name:
    Scott Hanson
    Hi all...I'm currently considering buying a used Acura TSX from a private seller. I haven't bought a used car since I was a teenager (many moons ago)...what is the correct procedure these days? Oh, and to throw a wrench into it, I live in PA and would be buying the car in MD.

    Some questions that come to mind:
    What to bring to the sale? I would think the check from the bank (for the loan) and an additional certified check since I wouldn't be borrowing the entire amount. Also, do I bring my PA license plate from my current car and put that on to drive it home? Or do I get a temporary tag from the DMV?

    I imagine we both sign the title and he gives it to me? Come to think of it, if the seller is paying off a loan for the car (which I know he is), wouldn't the bank have the title?

    Should I contact my insurance company ahead of time and make sure I'm covered on the drive home?

    Any help is much appreciated!
  2. Jeff Gatie

    Jeff Gatie Lead Actor

    Aug 19, 2002
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    Yes, and contact the motor vehicle authority in the state you are buying from and the state you are going to register it in. MV laws vary wildly from state to state and you just know you are going to get pulled over right after you purchase the car (when you can least afford it).
  3. Mark Murphy

    Mark Murphy Supporting Actor

    Nov 20, 2002
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    My friend bought a car on a friday afternoon from a dealer so he was unable to register the car that day. In Mass we transfer our plates to the new car(from the old car) and only need a copy of the purchase agreement for up to seven days before the car needs to be registered. We were christmas shopping in New Hampshire and he was pulled over. The records showed that the plates belonged to another car, his old car, and they treated us like fugitives on Cops. In NH one must surrender their old plates and use 20 or 30 day temp plates after purchasing a car. My friend explained that he was following the motor vehicle laws of his state but the officer didn't want to hear it. They cited him and took the car. He lucked out because a cop he knew in our home town was close friends with the Chief of the NH town so it was swept under the rug.

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