When buying a used car from a private seller, whether in Vermont or elsewhere, there are some basic tips you should follow. Additionally, Vermont has a few quirks and guidelines of its own you need to be aware of. The following tips for buying a used car will help keep you on track and help you do the transaction safely.

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Used car buying process in Vermont

What paperwork does VT require?

Does VT require a bill of sale?

Does VT require emissions testing?

What is the VT title transfer process?

How to finalize with VT DMV?

VT title transfer fees

Do I need to get new Vermont plates?

It’s important that you stay safe and secure when doing private vehicle transactions. This buyer’s guide will show you how to navigate the process in the state of Vermont.

Oh, and by the way, PrivateAuto has an end-to-end platform for private-party buyers and sellers in Vermont to get the deal done as fast as possible. We offer a level of convenience and security that has never been seen before, from instantaneous money transfers to encrypted messaging.

Vermont Used Car Buying Process

In Vermont, you will go through the following steps when buying a used car from a private party.

  1. Find a car you like
  2. Agree with the seller on a purchase price
  3. Schedule a test drive
  4. Gather the required documentation
  5. Transfer funds to the seller
  6. Have the seller sign over the title
  7. Register the car in your name
  8. Transfer the title with the DMV
  9. Pay sales taxes and fees
  10. Acquire new license plates

Let's go over the vehicle purchasing process in Vermont in more detail.

Find a Vehicle to Purchase

Whether you want a hatchback, a hybrid, or an SUV, you're better off buying from a private owner rather than a Vermont used car dealer. To make a profit, dealers must buy low and sell high. It's better to avoid the middleman.

PrivateAuto has a wide range of used cars for sale in Vermont, as well as safety and convenience features other car marketplaces don't have. For example, we verify seller identities so you know who you're negotiating with. Within the app, you can look at listings for used cars and make offers. If the seller accepts your offer, you can use our easy scheduling feature to set up a test drive. Everything takes place within the app, and you are never required to provide any personal information.

Test Drive the Vehicle

When you've found the perfect used car for sale near you and agreed on a price, it's time to take it for a spin.

Arrange the Initial Meetup

Our competitors leave the meetup organization to you. Usually, setting up the first meeting means giving the seller your personal information and having a lot of back-and-forth with them. But on the PrivateAuto app, your personal information is kept private. With our in-app scheduler, you and the seller can easily arrange the best time and place to meet.

Look Over the Vehicle History Report

Before purchasing a vehicle, it is always advisable to research its history. A service such as CarFax can provide you with a thorough vehicle history report. Or, you can get a vehicle history report when you use PrivateAuto.

AutoCheck and PrivateAuto have partnered to provide buyers with a motor vehicle history report and check. When sellers select a Premium listing on PrivateAuto, we provide a vehicle history report for their peace of mind.

Get a Mechanical Inspection (Optional)

You should perform a mechanical inspection on a used car before purchasing it. This is especially important for cars with high mileage or that haven't been driven in a long time. If you are experienced enough, you can perform the pre-purchase inspection at the test drive. Alternatively, you can have it inspected by a professional mechanic.

Paperwork for Vermont Car Title Transfer

Documentation is a key part of the transaction process. Different states have different documentation requirements; here’s the paperwork required when purchasing a used vehicle in Vermont.

Vehicle Title

Both you and the seller will fill out the title certificate thoroughly. The following information is required:

See our guide to transferring a Vermont car title for more detail on how to fill out a Vermont Certificate of Title. Or, to understand more about vehicle titles in general, give our car title guide a read.

Odometer Disclosure

When purchasing a vehicle less than 20 years old, Federal law requires the seller to complete the odometer reading statement (also known as an odometer disclosure) on the back of the title.

If there’s no room left on the vehicle title, make sure to complete the Federal Odometer Disclosure Statement.

By looking at the odometer, you can make sure that the reading the seller puts on the title is correct. Keep in mind that sellers who tamper with a car's odometer to get a false reading can get in big trouble.

For your peace of mind, the PrivateAuto app has a place to enter the odometer reading, where both the buyer and the seller can confirm the mileage before moving forward.

Vermont Bill of Sale

In Vermont, if you buy a car from a private seller, you need a bill of sale (form VT-005).

As part of our standard in-app transaction process, PrivateAuto gives you a Vermont bill of sale. At the right time in the transaction, both the buyer and the seller will be asked to sign the bill of sale electronically in the mobile app.  

When you meet for the test drive and like the car, the whole deal, including the bill of sale, can be done in minutes. It's so quick and easy, you won't believe it. Then, the electronic bill of sale will be in your PrivateAuto account as proof that the sale was legal.

Vehicle Identification Number Check

When purchasing a used car, always do VIN verification. Compare it to the actual VIN on the vehicle. When you go to register your newly purchased car with the State of Vermont, you want to avoid having the wrong vehicle identification number on the vehicle title.

The PrivateAuto app has a field for the VIN, where both buyers and sellers can check it for accuracy. This helps to eliminate errors (or the rare case of outright seller fraud).

Emissions Testing

In the state of Vermont, emissions testing is required in all counties.

When you register your car, you will have to go through an emissions test if it falls into one of the following categories:

  • Gasoline vehicles 1996 model year or newer
  • Diesel vehicles 1997 model year or newer, weighing less than 8500 pounds

Individual inspection station owners set prices for emissions testing and safety inspection.

Emissions Test Exemptions

The only vehicles exempt from emissions testing are vehicles with exhibition registrations made in the 1940 model year or older.

Send Money to the Seller

It is now time to pay the seller for the car. Until PrivateAuto arrived on the scene, there weren't many safe ways to send large sums of money in a private car transaction.

PrivateAuto Pay

Using our integrated banking gateway, PrivateAuto Pay, you can send up to one million dollars instantly. Whether it's after business hours, on the weekend, or on a holiday, the seller will receive the money immediately. We don't charge a fee for processing payments. It's genuinely revolutionary.

If you don't like the idea of carrying a briefcase full of cash or waiting for your check to clear, PrivateAuto Pay is for you.

Secure Financing Available

Oh, and if you don't want to pay cash for your next vehicle, you can apply for a used car loan directly from the PrivateAuto app. When your application is approved, your profile will show that you have verified funds, which will set you apart from other buyers.

Our lending partner will pay the seller in full when we close the deal and send payment. You will make monthly car payments to the lender. It's that simple. Curious as to how much your payments will be? Our car loan calculator will tell you.

Vermont Title Transfer

The transfer of the Vermont car title from the seller to the buyer is the crucial phase of the entire transaction. The vehicle is legally yours once there is a seller's signature on the document and they hand it to you. After the title transfer, there are a few more steps to complete before you can call the car yours.

What If There Are Multiple Car Owners?

If there are multiple sellers listed on the title, all sellers must sign the document to perform a legal title transfer.

Should You Research the Title?

It's always a good idea to do preliminary research on the car title before meeting with the seller.

To protect yourself from fraud, the Vermont Department of Justice recommends using the National Insurance Crime Bureau website to research the title of a potential used vehicle purchase. It doesn't happen often, but sellers will occasionally try to mislead or outright deceive. They might try to pass off a salvage title as a clean title, for example.

Good title research will help you check for:

  • Reports of the car having been stolen
  • The car having been declared a total loss in an insurance claim
  • Release of lien

Finalize with Vermont DMV

When transferring the title in Vermont, you’ll need to finalize the process with the Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). They will require you to complete the following:

  • The original vehicle title
  • A completed bill of sale and odometer disclosure statement (Form VT-005)
  • Proof of a lien release (if applicable)
  • A completed registration/title/tax application (Form VD-119)
  • Payment for all applicable vehicle titling fees and taxes

If you want a more in-depth exploration, take a look at our Vermont title transfer guide.

VT Title Transfer Fees

The title transfer fee in the state of Vermont is $35. You will also have to pay:

  • Vermont car sales tax of 6%
  • Clear vehicle title after lien removal (if applicable): $35
  • License plate fee: from $18 to $48
  • Registration fee: from $76 to $136

License Plates and Registration

Different states will have different rules regarding what happens to license plates when a used car is sold. Some states allow the plates to remain with the car and be transferred to the buyer. Vermont, unfortunately, is not one of those states.

When you buy a used vehicle in Vermont from a private owner, Vermont law requires the seller to remove the license plates.

When you register the car in your name with the Vermont DMV, you'll need to apply for new license plates. Standard Vermont license plates cost $18.

To register your vehicle, you will need to send in the following registration paperwork and payments:

  • A completed registration taxes and title application
  • A bill of sale and odometer disclosure statement
  • A signed-over title
  • Any liens listed on title must be released
  • Payment for all VT vehicle registration fees
  • Proof of car insurance

Registration Fees:

Vermont registration fees for passenger cars:

  • $76 for 1 year.
  • $140 for 2 years.

Electric-powered vehicle registration fees:

  • $74 for 1 year.
  • $136 for 2 years.

New Vermont License Plates

License plates are issued by the Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles.

Vermont offers 26 different types of specialty plates, in addition to vanity plates, standard-issue plates, and handicap parking plates.

Here is how much new license plates cost in Vermont:

  • Sample plates: $18.00 (one time fee)
  • Building bright futures plate: $24.00 (annual fee)
  • Conservation Plate: $26.00 (annual fee)
  • Safety/service organization plate: $17.00 (one time fee)
  • Vanity plate: $48.00 (annual fee)

Once the car is registered and titled, and you've acquired new license plates, you're officially done with the car-buying process.

Buying a Used Car in Vermont with PrivateAuto

It’s easy to buy or sell a used car online with PrivateAuto. Whether you’re looking for a Jeep Wrangler, a Land Rover, a Toyota Tacoma 4WD, or a Subaru, Vermont car buyers will find a great deal on the ride of your dreams.

We are the only end-to-end vehicle buying platform that gives you everything you need to get the deal done, from making offers to sending payments.

Browse our used cars for sale in Vermont.

The PrivateAuto buying process consists of a few simple steps:

Make an account on PrivateAuto and get verified

We require email, phone, and driver's license verification, as well as facial recognition, to make PrivateAuto a safe place for everyone.

Get started here.

Search a car you like

PrivateAuto makes it simple to browse our used car listings. Filter by make, model, mileage, year, and other criteria to make your search simpler and faster.

Make an offer

Make an offer on any vehicles that catch your eye. It is entirely up to you whether to accept the seller's asking price or to make a lower offer. You can also decide whether to accept only ID-verified sellers.

Take a test drive

As the buyer, you will want to test drive the vehicle. There will be no more back-and-forth texting. You never have to give out your phone number. Instead, use our easy scheduling feature to set up a time and place for a test drive. (Oh, and FYI, you'll be able to complete the transaction immediately at the test drive location.)

Take care of the documents

When you're happy with the car and the two of you have agreed on a price, you can easily e-sign the bill of sale from your phone using our app. With our shared documents feature, you can easily locate the paperwork needed after the sale.

Transfer funds

Prior to PrivateAuto, receiving funds was the most stressful part of the entire purchasing process, especially for any used vehicle purchases over $5,000. There aren't many good ways to move large sums of money quickly and easily.

Those days are over! With PrivateAuto Pay you can instantly send funds anytime.

Need used vehicle financing? Use our app to apply for a used car loan. If accepted, your profile will show "verified funds," and our financing partner will pay the car's seller. After that, you will make monthly payments to our partner. You will then make monthly payments to our partner. So convenient and easy.

Title transfer

The seller will transfer ownership of the vehicle to you by signing over the title. Afterward, you'll complete the transfer of title with the Vermont DMV.

Selling your car? Choose PrivateAuto to get the best price and transact easily and safely!

Vermont Car Buying FAQ

Who pays for the car title transfer fees in Vermont?

When applying for a Vermont title, the buyer is responsible for paying the title transfer fee. The buyer will also pay registration fees, and license plate fees.

What kind of insurance does a used car need?

Used cars, like new cars, are required to have at least liability auto insurance. Every insurance company will have different rates, so make sure you look for the best car insurance quotes.

The Vermont DMV requires you to carry evidence of your auto insurance in your car, and also mandates these policy minimums:

Bodily injury and property damage liability:

$25,000 per person

$50,000 per crash for bodily injury to others

$10,000 per crash for damage to others’ property

What are temporary tags?

Temporary tags, also known as paper license plates, are issued to car buyers as temporary registration. They are also issued for demonstration cars in dealerships, vehicle transfers, or loaned cars.

Is buying a car privately for cash a good idea?

Buying a car privately for cash in Vermont can be a good idea, but only if you buy from a reputable seller.

Choosing a private party over a car dealership will result in better deals.

PrivateAuto provides the immediacy of a cash payment without the risk. When a buyer authorizes funds transfer through our app, money instantly moves from their PrivateAuto account into the seller's account—24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

How to protect yourself when buying a vehicle privately?

To protect yourself when buying a car from a private seller, we recommend the following practices:

  1. Never give out your contact information
  2. Deal with verified sellers only
  3. Have a bill of sale to legally validate the transaction
  4. Send the payment through PrivateAuto Pay

The best way to protect yourself when buying a car privately is by buying it on a secure platform that offers these features (such as PrivateAuto).

Do I need gap insurance for my car in Vermont?

Vermont has insurance requirements that are similar to those in other states; you are not required to have gap insurance on a newly purchased car, but you may want it if you owe more than the cost to replace it. Gap insurance is a personal choice, so do your own research to determine whether it is best for you.

It should be noted that liability insurance is required in Vermont, as it is in all states. Liability insurance includes uninsured motorist coverage.

Are title certificated ownership documents?

Yes. A certificate of title is a legal document that proves ownership of a car. Whether you're selling or purchasing a used car, the transfer of ownership is the most important step of the whole car-buying process.

Where can I go to transfer a vehicle title in Vermont?

In Vermont, you can transfer a vehicle's title at various DMV locations:

Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles – (Montpelier Office)

120 State St.

Montpelier, VT 05603

Vermont DMV office– (Middlebury Office)

7 Mahady Ct.

Middlebury, VT 05753

Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles – (Springfield Office)

100 Mineral St.

Springfield, VT 05156

Can I get a title for an abandoned vehicle?

Yes. The Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles issues a certificate of abandoned motor vehicles. The holder of the certificate will be given title to the motor vehicle, free of all claims. The DMV will issue a free appropriate title or salvage title.

How can I get a duplicate title in Vermont?

If you damage or lose your VT vehicle title, you have to apply for a duplicate title.

To apply for a duplicate title will need the following:

  • Proof of identification
  • Payment for the duplicate title of $35
  • Title and registration certificate

How do you transfer an out-of-state vehicle title?

To transfer an out-of-state car title, you will need the following:

  • The original out-of-state vehicle title
  • Proof of identification
  • A completed application for a certificate of ownership
  • Proof of a valid VT vehicle insurance policy
  • A completed Vermont vehicle title and registration application

Further Reading

How Do I Transfer a Title in North Carolina?

Buying a Car In Washington, DC?

Transfer Your Car title in Arkansas

Sell Your Used Car in South Carolina

The Best Place To Buy A Used Vehicle Online?

What is The Difference Between Carvana and PrivateAuto?

Are Used Car Prices Dropping?