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Massachusetts Buying a Vehicle

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Massachusetts has a unique manner of handling vehicle purchases, titling, and registration. Buyers need to register and title their vehicles at the same time. When you purchase a vehicle from a dealership, the dealership normally takes care of the title and registration process on your behalf. All of the paperwork is handled for you, and you should receive the registration and other information in the mail within a few days.

Obtaining a Title and Registration For a Vehicle Bought from a Private Party

When you are buying a car from a private party, you will need to go to the RMV to title and register it. You will need:

  • The vehicle’s title correctly filled out with both parties’ names, the odometer reading, and the purchase price. If there is no space for the price, you will need a bill of sale
  • Insurance for the vehicle, which must be prepared before it can be registered

Registering and Titling Your Vehicle

In Massachusetts, you have 10 days to title your vehicle if you are not transferring your registration. If you are transferring your registration from another vehicle, then you need to do so within seven days of selling your previous vehicle.

To title the vehicle, you will need to:

Remember that Massachusetts requires you to register and title your vehicle at the same time. Therefore, you will need to certify that you do have insurance prior to completing this process.

Once this is complete, you will need to decide if you want new license plates or license plate stickers. If you want, you may be able to transfer your plates to the new vehicle by paying a fee. Regardless of what you do, you do need to put new plates or stickers on the car immediately.

Your vehicle must also pass safety and emissions standards within a week of registering it. This needs to be done even if the previous inspection is technically still valid.

Submitting Payment

There are a few different fees that you’ll pay when you title and register your vehicle in Massachusetts. These include:

  • A registration fee of $25 if you are transferring your registration and license plates from another vehicle
  • $60 if you are seeking new license plates and a new registration
  • Varied amounts if you want to have special license plates for your vehicle

You may also need to pay:

  • $75 for the title transfer fee
  • 25% of the purchase price of the vehicle as sales tax
  • Insurance rates, if you are starting a new policy for your vehicle

Payment for the title, sales tax and registration are all submitted together to the RMV with the Application for Registration and Title Form.

Last Verified:
Dec 29, 2022