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Florida Buying a Vehicle

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If you buy a vehicle from a dealer who is licensed in Florida, they will take care of the paperwork for you. They will typically pay upfront for the title and registration, but require you to reimburse them. Some dealers charge a fee for handling the paperwork for you, but, if they do, they must disclose that fee to you.

Getting a Title & Registration for a Vehicle Purchased from a Private Party

If you buy a vehicle from a private individual or unlicensed dealer, you’ll have to handle the title and registration paperwork yourself. The seller will show the title to you, which will include the VIN. The VIN on the vehicle and the title must match. If the seller lacks a title, you’ll contact a local Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicle office for instructions. The seller removes license plates at the time of sale.

The state requires odometer verification as part of the title application. If the vehicle has not previously been titled in Florida, you’ll complete a Vehicle Identification Number and Odometer Verification. The owner and at least one other designated individual must verify the form. These designated individuals are:

  • Florida FLHSMV compliance examiner/officer;
  • Police officer;
  • Florida notary public; or
  • Licensed Florida motor vehicle dealer

The state urges the buyer and seller to complete forms at a local motor vehicle office. To avoid extra fees, the buyer should complete and file the application within 30 days of acquiring the vehicle. If the title is paper, the buyer completes the Application for Certificate of Title With/Without Registration and attaches it to the title. If the title is electronic, the buyer and seller are required to go to the local motor vehicle office together to complete title reassignment and odometer verification.

Buyers should note that the vehicle price does not include sales taxes and titling fees. The buyer will need to pay these when transferring the vehicle.

If the buyer borrowed money to buy the car, they’ll receive a title that reflects a lien. The lender files a Satisfaction of Lien form when the loan is paid and the lien is removed from the title.

The seller also must fill out a bill of sale, which the buyer signs. The seller submits the bill of sale to the tax collector’s office. The buyer will use a copy of the bill of sale in filing the title application.

Filling Out the Title

When filling out the title, you and the seller will fill in the information under the heading “Transfer of Title by Seller.” The buyer’s or buyers names (as they appear on their driver’s licenses) are entered along with their addresses. These must match the title application. The selling price, date sold, and odometer readings are entered. The buyers and sellers also must sign so that the new owner can receive a title.

Registering the Vehicle

You receive your initial registration at the time of titling when you present the title and title application. You’ll also have to present identification for all owners and proof of insurance in Florida.

Submitting Payment

If the dealer did not collect taxes, you’ll have to pay the sales taxes at the time of titling and registration. The state sales tax is 6 percent of the purchase price; some localities charge additional sales taxes. The initial registration fee is $225. Title fees are $77.25 for new vehicles and $85.25 for used.

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Last Verified:
Jun 15, 2022