• Buying and Selling FAQs

NY Buying & Selling

There are certain steps you must take when you buy or sell New York vehicles, ensuring that you remain within the NY DMV guidelines for purchase, titling, registration, and all other responsibilities you hold as a New York driver. Whether you are purchasing or selling, you should be protected by the state law as well as possible, which means following the correct procedures to ensure your liability is covered. At the same time, you must be aware of what rules you must adhere to during the purchase or sale, what responsibilities you face, and how to ensure that you complete the appropriate steps to complete the transaction successfully, safely, and in a shorter amount of time. 4Dmv.com can give you the step by step buying and selling information that you need before you even get started with your transaction.

NY Vehicle History Reports

  • Getting a vehicle history report is a given when you are taking interest in any used vehicle. No matter what the seller has to say about the vehicle, if you don't have the right report, you aren't able to determine just what the vehicle is going to perform like or how well it will hold up. If there are special details withheld from you as a buyer, you could end up with a lemon or a vehicle that has no purpose besides collecting leaves.
  • A history of the vehicle can be obtained directly through the New York DMV or through various online sources that can provide the report for a small fee. Choosing the online driver history report will likely save you a great deal of time, as the DMV could hold a bit more of a wait for the report.

NY New Car Dealer Purchases

Buying a new car in New York is only possible through licensed car dealerships, which have made the appropriate arrangements with the manufacturers of automobiles, ensuring the full coverage through warranty. The Division of Vehicle Safety Services, part of the New York DMV license all dealerships that meet the appropriate guidelines, regulations, and standards, creating a binding agreement with the dealership for specific responsibilities to be carried out. In other words, going through a New York dealership is the safest method for consumers purchasing a new car, with licensing implying regulation compliance that protects you.

  • If you are purchasing a previously owned vehicle from a dealership, the dealer must first provide written certification that the vehicle is drivable.
  • The vehicle's model appropriate inspections for equipment and emissions must be provided with the dealership purchase.
  • There must be an inspection of the vehicle at least 30 days before you obtain it.
  • The repairs and servicing covered through the vehicle's warranty must be provided by the dealership that sells the vehicle.
  • There must be a Bill of Sale form included that specifies the condition and type of vehicle, as well as the guidelines met.
  • There must be an odometer as well as salvage disclosure statement provided with the sale of the vehicle by the dealer.
  • There must be disclosure of any primary fleet car use of the vehicle on the vehicle sales contract, specified to buyers before committing to the transaction.
  • Most dealerships will handle the processes and paperwork needed for registration and titling, especially if you are purchasing the vehicle with an auto loan.

Dealership Purchase Tips

Even though there are greater security measures going through a dealership to purchase a new vehicle, it is still pertinent that you are aware of useful tips that could save you time, money, and financial upset – three things that are most important in your purchase.

  • The vehicle you are most interested in should be researched online before you attempt to visit the lot. There are several vehicle reviews, consumer reports, and other online resources offered for free online to ensure that you are well aware of the specs of the vehicle before you get to negotiation.
  • During the end of the summer or the last couple weeks during the month of December you can find the best price breaks, rebates, bonuses, and sales. As the new inventory is stocked, dealerships tend to break down prices quite well to distinguish the previous fleet.
  • You should always visit more than one dealership so you are able to compare prices for better negotiating.
  • If you find that the vehicle you really want must be factory ordered, it should still remain at the cost of the vehicles on the lot.
  • If you can't find the vehicle you want at the a dealership and they offer to locate the vehicle for you, go ahead and try for yourself as they can many times charge additional fees for a simple phone call.
  • New York is one state that highly regulates advertising practices for dealerships, which means that you are given more protection when it comes to misleading advertisement. Bring ads with you when you are shopping to ensure that the dealership is able to fully honor the offer advertised.

The New York DMV offers the “Let the Buyer be Aware” brochure, which can be read or downloaded and printed online. This can give you the best information for New York buying and selling practices and guidelines that you should be sure of before you start. There is also New York state Lemon Law information that can be found to help you better understand what a lemon is and what to do if you get one in the state of New York.

 New York Private Seller Purchases

When you buy a used NY vehicle from a private seller, there are more things for you to do and consider.  You must remember that you will be responsible for paperwork and other things that are necessary for proper transfer of your New York vehicle. While there are more risks, there are safeguards that you can implement in order to ensure that you are taking the proper route to purchase. Remember that you will be responsible for inspection and research of the vehicle as the NY Lemon Law may not pertain to your private purchase.

Be wary of the seller before you decide to purchase. If you are following a classified ad online or through New York newspapers or other sources, you definitely want to obtain a vehicle history report and also take the time to check out the vehicle thoroughly, including asking for any documents that prove the vehicle's status and compliance with state standards. If you find yourself in any of these situations, it may be a good idea to shop around a little more, skipping over this seller altogether:

  • The vehicle seller is trying to meet you in an area that is other than their own property or out of the public eye.
  • The vehicle being sold is parked in a location that wouldn't indicate ownership by the seller.
  • The title of the vehicle is in a name other than the seller's.
  • The seller won't accept money order for purchase.

Ask questions to familiarize yourself with the seller and get a better understanding of their credibility.

The vehicle should also be checked out thoroughly, which means obtaining a title check and vehicle history report, as well as taking a hard look at the mechanics, including attempting to operate components to ensure they work properly. If you want a full guide for performing the appropriate mechanical checking of a vehicle, visit the NY DMV at

If you decide the purchase the vehicle, there is some important paperwork to obtain from the seller:

  • Proper proof of ownership, which could be a title or Bill of Sale.
  • Odometer disclosure and damage disclosure statement either found on the back of your New York title certificate or through form MV-103 found online
  • Proper proof of the purchase price or gift value.
  • Lienholder statement certifying any lien on the vehicle has been satisfied, only needed if there is a lien present on the title document, which is removed with the issuance of your new NY title.

You should always carefully examine the title to ensure there aren't any unsatisfied liens on the vehicle that you may end up accepting responsibility for.

Selling Your New York Vehicle

Selling a vehicle in New York carries responsibilities just as purchase will, which means that you should be fully aware of these responsibilities before you even get the ad made up. There are different ways to sell your vehicle, including dealership trade-ins or sale, private party sale, or even donation if you decide that you rather just receive a tax credit for the purchase of the vehicle.

If you decide to sell your car through a private party sale, you will need the appropriate documentation to hand over to the buyer so they are able to properly transfer the title of the vehicle, removing it from being your liability. You won't be turning in paperwork for the sale, but it is always wise to keep a Bill of Sale for yourself to ensure you are safe from liability on the new owner's part.

You should also remove your license plates and registration sticker from the vehicle so you aren't cited as the vehicle's owner in the event of a parking ticket. The new owner is responsible for everything else in transferring the vehicle to new ownership, at which point you will be responsible for surrendering over your plates to the NY DMV or transferring the plates to another vehicle while your insurance policy is still current to avoid license suspension.

Buying or Selling Without Title

Before a vehicle can be sold or purchased in the state of New York, a title must be produced. If you are the seller and cannot find the title to sell the vehicle, it cannot be sold until a duplicate has been received from the DMV. You will need to complete the New York Registration/Title application which can be obtained online.

  • To get more help in obtaining a new or duplicate title for the sale of a vehicle, you can contact the Title Services Bureau by phone at 1-518-486-4714.

Buying or Selling Without Registration

Again, documents required for selling the vehicle are the responsibility of the seller before the car is purchased, which cannot happen until the proper documents are produced. If the registration cannot be found for the vehicle, the seller is responsible for taking the right steps to ensure that the new owner is able to get this document before purchase.

  • Complete Vehicle Registration/Title Application and submit in person to NY DMV
  • If registration is not eligible for duplication, seller must be the legal owner of the vehicle, pay $5 and request the “Certification of NYS Registration for Transfer of Non-Titled vehicle”.
  • If neither of these options are appropriate for the vehicle, the seller must first prove that they are the legal owner of the vehicle, which could be done through a registration certificate that has expired, or even an original MCO (Manufacturer's Certificate of Origin), or through a Statement of Ownership form that can be downloaded online.
  • If the vehicle was never registered by the seller, an Affidavit of Sale or Transfer must be completed which can be downloaded or provide the buyer with the Bill of Sale obtained when the seller purchased the vehicle.

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