When you are planning to purchase a vehicle, whether new or used, you must do your research well in order to get the best deal. Depending on whether you are buying or selling a vehicle, you will need to think of the following:

  • The value or price of the vehicle.
  • Sales, use, and property taxes, if applicable.
  • Canceling or purchasing a car insurance policy.
  • Vehicle registration and titling fees.
  • Getting a vehicle inspection/emissions test.

There are many sources with reliable information about buying a car. You can get reliable information about buying a car in the Consumer Action Handbook. This is a free online guide provided by the Federal Citizen Information Center (FCIC). It contains detailed information about buying a new or used car. The FTC website also has helpful information about vehicle buying and selling. You can also use the Kelley Blue Book website to know the value of the car you are planning to purchase or sell. This website also offers information on car insurance and financing. If you are purchasing a used vehicle, you can also request a vehicle history report for the car you are purchasing. This report contains valuable information about the accident, damage and repair history. A vehicle history report can help you answer most of the questions that you may have about the car you are purchasing.

Procedure for the Buyer in Washington, D.C.

If you purchase a new car from a licensed dealer in Washington, D.C. 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. These are some of the basic steps that you must follow when buying a car in the Washington, D.C.:

  • Transfer the title into your name.
  • Have the vehicle inspected by an authorized agency.
  • Get it registered in your name within 30 days from the purchase date.
  • Purchase the minimum insurance policy for the car.

You will need to obtain the temporary license plates in order to drive your vehicle for inspection. These plates are valid for 45 days.

Washington, D.C. Protections for the Seller

If you are an individual selling your vehicle to a private party, you will need to sign the title over to the new owner. You must also surrender your tags to the Washington, D.C. Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV). This can be done in person. Immediately after surrendering your tags, you will be issued with a receipt. This will provide proof that you had relinquished them and therefore you will be protected.

Paperwork Required for a Sale

Registration papers are not needed at the time of sale. However, providing buyers with these papers will facilitate the sale quickly. Showing the buyer that you had kept registration papers and there are no outstanding fees and fines owned to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), may help you complete the sale without any doubt.