by Armando Martinez

So you've decided to buy a car from a private owner in Arizona. Congrats! But wait, before you hit the road, you need to register the vehicle in your name within 15 days from your purchase date. Don't worry - registering a car from a private owner sale in Arizona is easy. Here's a no-nonsense guide on how to do it.

Step 1: Check the Vehicle's History

Before you purchase the vehicle, get a vehicle history report to check for any accidents or other issues. This will give you an idea of the vehicle's condition and help you make an informed decision. You don't want to end up with a lemon, do you?

Step 2: Inspect the Vehicle

Once you've decided to purchase the vehicle, have a mechanic inspect the car. This can help you identify any mechanical issues that may not be apparent during a test drive. You don't want to be stuck with a car that breaks down on you, do you?

Step 3: Obtain the Necessary Documents

Once you're ready to make the purchase, you'll need to gather the necessary documents. These include the signed vehicle title, a bill of sale,a valid form of identification and proof of insurance. The title should show the seller's notarized signature and include the purchase price and odometer reading.

If the title is lost, the seller can apply for a duplicate title from the Arizona Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Division or through the state DMV agency in which their vehicle is titled.A bill of sale will also be necessary to show proof of purchase, and it should contain the date of sale, the purchase price, and the signatures of both the buyer and seller.

If your vehicle was titled out of state, then you’ll need to have your vehicle pass an emissions test. This can be completed at an Enforcement and Compliance Division (ECD) Inspection Station.

Step 4: Visit the Arizona MVD Office

Once you have all the necessary documents, you need to visit an Arizona Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) office to register the car in your name. Be sure to bring the signed title, bill of sale, a valid form of identification and proof of insurance. You'll also need to fill out an Application for Title and Registration and pay the appropriate fees.

The fees vary depending on the age and weight of the vehicle and whether you're applying for a new title or transferring an existing title. You can use the Arizona MVD's online fee calculator to determine the exact amount you need to pay.

Step 5: Get Your License Plates

Once you complete the registration process, you’ll have the option to purchase, in most cases, temporary registration from the DMV. This will allow you to operate your vehicle until you receive your license plates in the mail within a few weeks. Once you receive these documents, you can replace your temporary registration and you legally drive your car in Arizona.

Tips for a Smooth Transaction

  • Verify that the seller is the legal owner of the car and has the right to sell it. Check the title and the seller's identification to ensure everything is in order.
  • Ensure all necessary paperwork is complete and accurate. Any mistakes or missing information can delay the registration process.
  • Keep all the necessary documents related to your car in a safe place. This includes the title, bill of sale, registration documents, and insurance policy. You'll need these documents if you ever decide to sell the car or transfer ownership.

By following these steps and tips, you can ensure a smooth transaction when buying a car from a private owner in Arizona. Check the vehicle's history, inspect the car, gather the necessary documents, visit the MVD office, and keep your documents safe. Then, hit the road and enjoy the beautiful scenery of Arizona in your newly registered car!

We hope you found this guide helpful. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the Arizona Motor Vehicle Division for more information.

This article was written by Armando Martinez. Armando Martinez is among the nation’s experts on automotive titling, registration, DMV services and document operations. With nearly two decades of experience across a broad range of financial services functions and some of the largest names in auto, from Wells Fargo to Uber, Armando combines vision and ingenuity with a wealth of information so auto shoppers and sellers can learn from his experience.

Start your transaction with Caramel, learn more about how the process works, or reach out to our Support team with any questions.

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