In Delaware, some vehicles are purchased from a private seller while others are purchased from the dealership. Regardless of whom you buy a vehicle from, the vehicle must change ownership. This means that the buyer must register the vehicle and transfer the title in his name with the Delaware Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

Selling a Vehicle

If you are selling your vehicle to a private party, you will need to release any active lien. You will receive a lien release form from the lienholder after paying it off. Also, ask the lienholder to provide you with the title or send it to the county treasurer’s office. Make sure that the title has been properly filled and assigned to the buyer. Both the seller and the buyer should fill the appropriate sections of the title. If the vehicle is under 9 years old, you should record the odometer reading on the back of the title. You will also need to provide the buyer with completed bill of sale. You should also submit the Vehicle Transfer Notification to the Delaware DMV at the address listed in the form. This form is available at the treasurer’s office.

Buying or Selling Without Paperwork

Registration papers are not needed at the time of sale. However, providing buyers with these papers will facilitate the sale quickly. When selling or buying a vehicle, the title must exchange hands. If you are a buyer, don’t purchase a vehicle without a title. If the title is missing, ask the party selling the car to obtain a duplicate title and give it to you. Without this vital document, you won’t be able to transfer ownership into your name.

Buying a Vehicle

If you purchase a new car from a licensed dealer in Delaware, the dealer will handle all the paperwork for vehicle registration and titling on your behalf. If you purchase it from a private seller, you will handle the paperwork by yourself. 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 Application for Delaware 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 tile 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 obtain a duplicate copy and give it to you. You can’t drive your newly purchased vehicle without a title. You will need a temporary permit which is available for $10 and valid for 30 days. To apply for this kind of permit, you will need to take the following forms to the Delaware DMV office:

  • Bill of sale.
  • Proof of insurance.
  • Driver’s license or proof of residency.

Your new vehicle will also need to be inspected. You can use the temporary permit obtained from the DMV to drive it to the inspection centers. Titling a vehicle will be easier if both the seller and the buyer go to the nearest Delaware DMV together. If you choose this way, you will be required to take the following with you:

  • Application for Title.
  • Vehicle Inspection Report.
  • Driver’s license.
  • Proof of insurance.
  • Payment ― check, money order, cash or credit card.

You must also pay all the applicable fees and taxes for vehicle titling and registration. At the same time, you will be required to pay annual registration fees. Remember, if you purchase a defective vehicle from the dealer, you can write to the manufacturer to give you a replacement vehicle or a refund. This is possible under the Delaware lemon law.