Buying a Used Car From a Private Seller in Georgia

When purchasing a used vehicle from a private seller in Georgia, there are a few things you want to know.
When buying used cars from private owners, it’s important that you stay safe and secure. Let’s talk about how to navigate the Georgia vehicle-buying process.

By the way, PrivateAuto has private-party used vehicles for sale in Georgia and also provides an end-to-end platform to get the transaction done, from immediate payment transfers to secure messaging.
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Georgia Used Car-buying Process

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

1. Find a seller who has your dream car
2. Agree on a price
3. Take it for a test drive
4. Paperwork
5. Send money to the seller
6. Have the seller transfer the used car title
7. Register the car in your name and pay fees and sales taxes
8. Get your license plates

Let’s go over the used car buying process in more detail.

Let’s go over the used car buying process in more detail.

You'll get a better deal when you purchase a used car from a private party than from a Georgia dealership. Dealerships have an incentive to buy as low as possible and sell as high as possible; it’s how they make a profit.

PrivateAuto has a wide selection of used vehicles for sale in Savannah, Atlanta, Athens, and elsewhere across the state of Georgia. We offer security and many convenience features no other marketplace has to offer.

We verify the identity of every seller, so you’ll always know who you’re negotiating with. You can go through the used vehicle listings and make offers within our app, and when the seller accepts your offer, you can go on and schedule the test drive. It all happens within the app and you never have to give out your personal info to strangers.

Take the Car For a Test Drive

Once you’ve found a car that works for you, and you settle on a reasonable price, it's time to take it for a test drive.

Organize the Meetup

Other used car marketplaces force buyer and seller to message one another outside the marketplace. Organizing a meetup requires exchanging personal info and having a lot of back-and-forth. With PrivateAuto, all of your personal info is kept private. Our handy in-app scheduler allows the two of you to arrange the perfect time and place.

Vehicle History Report

It’s good to research the car's history before committing to it. You can get a detailed history report through a service like CarFax. Or, you can get a car history report when you purchase it through our PrivateAuto app.

AutoCheck and PrivateAuto have partnered together to provide buyers with a motor vehicle information check and report. When a seller chooses the PrivateAuto Premium listing, we include the car history report for your peace of mind.

Perform Mechanical Inspection (Optional)

Before you buy the car, you might want to perform a mechanical inspection on it. This is more advisable when buying used cars that have a higher mileage. If you have the skills, you can do the inspection at the time of the test drive. Or, make a deal with the seller and get it inspected by a professional mechanic.

We give you all the tools and technology necessary to close the deal at the test drive meeting. If you’re opting for a professional vehicle inspection, you’ll be adding at least a couple extra days onto the closing process.

Acquire the Necessary Paperwork

Paperwork is an essential part of the transaction process. Different states have different document requirements, but is are the most common paperwork involved when buying a used car:
Title
Odometer statement
Bill of sale

Certificate of Title


Both you and the seller need to fill out the Certificate of Title. Required info includes the following:
Buyer's name and address
Date of sale
Mileage odometer reading
Sale price

Odometer Disclosure


When you buy a used car that’s less than 10 years old, Federal law requires the seller to fill out the odometer disclosure statement on the back of the title.

If there’s no room on the title, fill out the Federal Odometer Disclosure Statement

The buyer can verify the accuracy of the odometer readings the seller enters on the title by checking the odometer themselves. Keep in mind that there are serious penalties for sellers tampering with car odometers.

Our handy mobile app includes an odometer reading entry, where both the buyer and the seller confirm mileage before taking the next step.

Georgia Bill of Sale


In the State of Georgia, a bill of sale is not required if purchasing a car from a private party. Even though it’s not legally required, we recommend a bill of sale, as it provides legal proof of the transaction and purchase price.

We include a bill of sale as part of our standard in-app transaction process. At the appropriate stage in the transaction, buyer and seller will be prompted to e-sign the bill of sale within the PrivateAuto mobile app.

The whole transaction, the bill of sale included, can be completed in just a couple of minutes when you meet for the test drive and approve the car. It’s quick and convenient. You won't have to keep track of all your paperwork: you will always have the electronic bill of sale accessible in your PrivateAuto account to prove that the transaction was legitimate.

Take a Look At The VIN

When you’re buying the car, always check the vehicle identification number that the seller has written on the title. Carefully compare it to the actual vehicle identification number on the car. You want to avoid the problem of having the incorrect VIN on the title when you go to register the car with the State of Georgia.

The PrivateAuto app has a VIN field where buyers and sellers individually confirm the vehicle identification number. This helps eliminate errors (or the rare case of outright seller fraud).

Transfer Funds to the Seller

It’s time for you to pay the seller for the vehicle. There are not a lot of safe ways buyers can send a large amount of cash in a private car transaction—until PrivateAuto arrived on the scene.

Welcome to PrivateAuto Pay

Our integrated banking gateway, PrivateAuto Pay, allows buyers to instantly send any amount of money. The seller will get the payment in seconds, 365 days a year. We charge no payment processing fee. It’s truly groundbreaking.

So, if you don’t like the idea of lugging a briefcase full of money or waiting for a check to clear, you’ll love PrivateAuto Pay.

Car Financing Available

For those who don’t want to pay out-of-pocket for their next vehicle, you can apply for a used vehicle loan right within the PrivateAuto app. Once your account gets approved, your profile will show that you have verified funds, making you stand out from other buyers.

When closing the deal and sending payment, our lending partner will pay the seller in full. You'll make monthly car payments to the lender. It's that easy. Wondering how much your payments will be? Our nifty car loan calculator will tell you.

Georgia Title Transfer

The crucial component of the entire transaction is transferring a Georgia vehicle title from seller to buyer. Once the seller signs the title and hands it over to you, the car becomes legally yours. There are still some steps remaining for you to take following the title transfer, but you now own the car.

To transfer Georgia vehicle titles successfully, sellers must complete the Transfer of Title by Seller section on the front of the title certificate and include the name and address of the buyer, odometer information, the selling price, and the date sold.

What to Do When There is More Than One Vehicle Owner

If there is more than one seller listed on the title, both sellers will need to sign the document in order for the title transfer to be legitimate.

Should You Conduct Title Research?

Before going to meet up with the seller, it’s always good to do preliminary research on the vehicle title.

Tag officers will recommend using the National Insurance Crime Bureau website to research the title of a potential used car purchase to protect yourself from fraud. It doesn't happen often, but sometimes sellers will attempt to mislead or outright deceive. For instance, the seller might try to pass off a car with a salvage title.

Good title research will help you check for:

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

Emissions Testing

In the state of Georgia, only the 13-county Atlanta Metropolitan Area requires enhanced vehicle emission testing on all gasoline-powered cars.

The thirteen counties requiring emissions testing:
Clayton County
Cherokee County
Coweta County
Cobb County
Douglas County
DeKalb County
Fulton County
Fayette County
Forsyth County
Gwinnett County
Henry County
Paulding County
Rockdale County

Exemptions: the following vehicle types are exempt from emissions testing requirements in counties requiring emissions testing.
Cars with a gross vehicle weight rating of more than 8,500 pounds
The three most recent model year cars
Antique or collector cars
Diesel cars

If the car that you are buying does not meet any of these criteria, find an authorized emissions check station and proceed with the test.

For most cars, the fee for performing this test will be $25.

Finalize with Georgia DDS

When the seller is out of the picture and you own the car, you need to finalize the process by visiting your local Georgia Department of Driver Services (DDS) location.

You’ll need to complete the following at your DDS:
1. Finalizing the transfer of title with the State of Georgia.
2. Registering the car in your name and getting new registration tags
3. Paying taxes and fees
4. Getting new license plates

Submit for a Georgia Title Transfer


After buying a used car in Georgia from a private seller, you’ll need to complete a Motor Vehicle Title/Tag Application, attach it to the title, and submit it to the DDS along with the required documentation and payment.

When you purchase a car from a private party, you will be required to complete the title transfer within 30 business days. If you don't meet that deadline, you will have to pay a fee of $25.

In the state of Georgia, transferring the car title and registering your vehicle will be done at the same time. When purchasing a used car, you will need to provide your local Georgia motor vehicle commission office with additional paperwork:
The vehicle title with your signature and driver's license number
Emission certificate (if applicable)
Payment for the car title transfer fee
Sales tax (unless the car is exempt)
A Motor Vehicle Title/Tag Application (form MV1)

License and Registration


States have different regulations for license plates in car sales. Some states allow the plates to remain with the vehicle and pass to the buyer. Unfortunately, Georgia is not one of those states. When you purchase a used vehicle in Georgia from a private owner, Georgia law mandates that the seller must remove the license plate from the car.

As the buyer, you’ll apply for new license plates.

Title applications and license plate registrations can be completed at your local County Tag Office. The following information is required:
Proof of ownership
Valid Georgia driver's license or ID card
Georgia insurance card or company name & policy number
Completed Form MV-1 Title/Tag Application


Georgia Fees When Buying A Used Car

The used car sales tax, registration, and title transfer fees are never included in the car’s price.

Here are additional fees you'll pay beyond the purchase price when buying a used car in Georgia:
Title fee: $18
Georgia sales tax: 6% of the purchase price of the car
License and registration fees: $20
Oh, and, by the way, PrivateAuto charges no buyer fees. The buyer pays for the car only and has no transaction-related costs on our platform.

Buying a Used Car in Georgia with PrivateAuto

PrivateAuto makes buying a used car fast and easy. No matter if you’re looking for a Chevrolet Impala, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Toyota Camry, or Honda Accord, you’re sure to find a great deal on the car of your dreams.

PrivateAuto is the only end-to-end car-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 Georgia.

The PrivateAuto purchasing process consists of a few simple steps:
1. Create an account on PrivateAuto
2. Browse listings of used cars for sale by owner
3. Make offers on cars you like and can afford
4. Schedule a test drive
5. Handle paperwork
6. Transfer funds (instantaneously)
7. Transfer the title

Selling your vehicle? Choose PrivateAuto to get the best price and transact efficiently and safely!

Frequently Asked Questions About Buying a Car in Georgia


Who pays for the title transfer fee in Georgia?

When transferring a title in Georgia, the buyer is responsible for paying the title transfer fee. The buyer will also pay registration fees, sales taxes, and license plate fees.

What kind of insurance does my used car need?


How to protect yourself when buying a car privately?


Is buying a car privately for cash a good idea?


What are temporary tags?


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