• BUYING AND SELLING FAQS

Florida Buying and Selling

Both sellers and buyers of vehicles need to be aware of the steps involved in the sale and purchase of a new or used car.  In Florida, the Department of Motor Vehicles has set guidelines for purchasing titling and registering the vehicle within the state that each vehicle owner must be aware of.  4DMV.com has compiled all the information you need to know to ensure that you follow the steps accurately whether buying or selling a car.

Vehicle History Reports

Vehicle history reports are used by both sellers of vehicles and buyers, although it is most important for the buyer.  When shopping for a used car, a vehicle history report on the vehicle will provide you with detailed information that just may save you from purchasing a lemon.  Vital details such as how many owners the car has had, how many accidents the car has been involved in, whether it has ever been salvaged, it repair/service history maintenance and so on are all included in the vehicle history report. 

Vehicle history reports can be obtained through the Florida DMV or you can find them right here on 4DMV.com in our special section devoted to Vehicle History Reports.  By obtaining a vehicle history report online, you can have instant access to all the information regarding the car.

Florida New Car Dealer Purchase

Buying a new car in Florida through a car dealership is likely one of the easiest means when it comes to the vehicle’s paperwork.  In Florida new car buyers have the option of purchasing online or through the auto dealer.  There are advantages to both which include:

Advantages of Buying Your Car Online

  • First, there is not pressure.  You don’t have savvy salespersons trying to pressure you into purchasing the vehicle
  • You have the ability to shop and compare within minutes
  • You can shop 14 hours a day
  • You don’t have to leave the comforts of your home
  • You can customize your colors an accessories

Advantages to Buying Your Car At the Auto Dealership

  • You are able to see the car in person and are able to test drive the car prior to purchasing it
  • You have all your answers regarding the vehicle answered
  • You have the advantage of being able to negotiate the price of the vehicle

Another great advantage of purchasing a new car from an auto dealer is that normally the titling and registration and all other vehicle related paperwork is done by the dealer.  You also have the advantage of a warranty on your new car purchase. And you have the protection of the Florida state Lemon Law. 

Dealership Purchasing Tips

When shopping for a new vehicle at an auto dealership it is important to remain focused.  The thought of a new car can empower many car buyers to not stand their ground and be influenced by the sales person.  There are a few things that are important to remember when you are purchasing a car through an auto dealer which include:

  • You should research the vehicle that you are interested in online prior to purchasing it.  This means search vehicle reviews, consumer report and other sources that are available online and will allow you to know the track record and other important details of the vehicle
  • The best time to purchase from a auto dealer is the first or last day of the summer or during the last few weeks of the summer
  • Always shop more than one dealership to ensure that you are getting the best deal
  • Bring ads with you when you are shopping

Florida Private Seller Purchases

Many Florida drivers opt to purchase a used car from private sellers, this is simply because most of the times they can purchase the car for less expense.  It is important to remember that when you purchase a used Florida vehicle from a private seller, you will be responsible for all the paperwork and all vehicle related needs to properly transfer the vehicle into your name.  To decrease the risk of purchasing an unwanted car, remember to first obtain a vehicle history report on the vehicle.

If you should decide to purchase or even take a look at a vehicle you are interested in remember to:

  • Always meet the vehicle seller in an area that is safe
  • The title of the vehicle is in the name of the seller
  • That the seller will accept cash or money order for the vehicle’s purchase

It is also a wise idea to have a mechanic look at the car prior to your purchase.  For more information on mechanics you can find it right here on 4DMV.com.  A VIN lookup should also be performed on the vehicle which can be done for free at the Insurance Crime Bureau.

Purchasing The Vehicle

If you do decide to purchase the vehicle from a third party, you will need to ensure that you receive the following paperwork from the seller. 

  • In order to transfer the title and registration into your name you will need to make sure you have the title to the car.  If the seller does not have a title, then he the seller will need to apply for a duplicate title before selling the car.  A title is mandatory in order to verify and identify the vehicle and to transfer the ownership in your name. 
  • You must also complete a Vehicle Identification Number and Odometer form
  • A Bill of Sale which will include important details such as the selling price of the vehicle, the transaction date, the make, model and year of the vehicle and the signature of both the seller and the buyer.  The Bill of Sale will not only be used in processing your title and registration transfer, it protects both the seller and the buyer from liabilities of the other.

When purchasing a used vehicle from either an auto dealership or a third party be sure to take advantage of the HSMV’s packet of information that will provide you with helpful car buying information. The HSMV’s packet of information can be found at Buying and Selling a Car

If you are the seller of a vehicle in Florida, you have responsibilities that you need to be fully aware of.  There are many different ways that you can sell your vehicle which include selling to a private party, selling it to an auto dealer or trading it in, selling it through an auction or donating the vehicle to charity.  Should you decide to donate the vehicle to charity you will have the advantage of a tax credit on your yearly taxes.

If you sell your car to a private party, you will need to ensure that you have the proper documentation on the vehicle so that the buyer is able to title and register the vehicle in their name.  You also want to make certain that you complete a Bill of Sale to ensure your protection from any mishaps that may occur prior to the new driver registering the vehicle. 

You should also remove your vehicle’s license plates and the registration sticker from the vehicle to avoid being cited as the vehicle’s owner.  It will be the responsibility of the new owner to transfer the vehicle into their name and you will need to surrender you plates to the HSMV.

Buying or Selling Without a Title

 In Florida a title is required by the HSMV in order to change ownerships.  If the vehicle does not have a title, it sold not be sold or purchased.  A duplicate title must first be obtained by the seller of the vehicle.

Buying or Selling Without a Registration

In Florida it is legal to purchase or sell a vehicle without a registration provided that the seller of the vehicle signs over the title to the car buyer.  The buyer will then be responsible for taking the necessary steps to title the vehicle into their own name.  For more information on titling and registration visit 4DMV.com’s section Titling and Registration.

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