How to Buy a Used Car From a Private Seller In Idaho?

When purchasing a used vehicle from a private seller, there are many things to keep track of. From getting new plates to understanding Idaho's title transfer process, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know to buy a private-party car in the Gem state.
The private-party vehicle market is overflowing with scams and fraudsters, and private transactions can be daunting.

PrivateAuto streamlines the private car buying experience and makes it safe and easy. From encrypted messaging to instantaneous payments, we are the only transactional marketplace for private-party used vehicles.

Should I Buy from a Dealership or a Private Seller?

A private-party deal gives you more car for your money, while dealerships offer “convenience”.

We're big fans of the private seller route for the following reasons:

1. You drive the deal on your terms. PrivateAuto allows you to make offers and negotiate the best deal directly with the seller.
2. Get a better price by cutting out the middleman and going straight to the source. Dealers must buy low and sell high to make a profit and keep the lights on. You don’t need to fund them.
3. Avoid pesky dealer fees. Car dealerships charge documentation fees that range from $50 to over $1,000.
4. Enjoy security and convenience when you do the deal with PrivateAuto. Our transactional marketplace gives dealer-like convenience in the palm of your hand. From scheduling the test drive to sending instant payments, you’ll love how easy the process is.
Image highlighting Buying/Selling Car Privately by PrivateAuto

Idaho Used Car-Buying Process

In Idaho, you will go through the following steps when buying a used car from a private owner:

1. Find a car
2. Research the car
3. Arrange the test drive
4. Inspect the car
5. Sign the bill of sale
6. Pay the seller
7. Have the seller sign over the title
8. Insure the car
9. Register and title the car in your name
10. Pay sales taxes and fees
11. Get new plates

Let's go over these steps in more detail.

Find a Car

Whether you are searching for a classic vehicle, a work truck, or a car that fits your entire family, you’ll probably want to shop online. There are so many car-buying sites with used vehicles for sale by owner:

Vehicle listing sites such as Autotrader.
Auction websites such as Hemmings and Cars and Bids.
Online classifieds
National classifieds such as Craigslist and OfferUp.
Local classifieds such as KSL Cars.
Social media sites like Facebook Marketplace.

While these online places help you find used cars near you, every single one of them lacks transactional capability. We call them "meetingplaces" because they leave you to your own devices when it comes down to closing the deal.

Another downside to many of these sites—they mix dealer inventory with private-party cars. 90% of them don’t have an easy way to filter by private-party vehicles, so you’re left scouring through hundreds of dealer listings to find the private offerings.

We’re the world’s first and only fully transactional marketplace, offering self-service technological solutions for every stage of the deal. And, we cater exclusively to private owners, with no dealer listings on our marketplace.

Start browsing for your dream car today!

We have nothing against other listing sites. But we still want every buyer to have the transactional security and convenience that our users enjoy.

That’s why we created DealNow. DealNow allows you to create your own dealroom on PrivateAuto, invite the owner of the car you want to buy, and fast-track the transaction.

Research the Car

It’s always advisable to do some preliminary research on the car you’re about to spend thousands on. A vehicle history report can help you avoid buying a lemon.

PrivateAuto has partnered with AutoCheck to provide vehicle history reports on premium listings. AutoCheck gets its data from the following sources:

Salvage auctions.
Collision repair shops.
Service records from maintenance facilities.
OEM manufacturers.
Car dealerships and extended warranty companies.
Auto auctions.
Insurance companies.
Vehicle inspection and state inspection stations.
Import and export companies.
Rental and fleet companies.
State Departments of Motor Vehicles (DMVs).

Running an AutoCheck on a vehicle uncovers valuable insights into the car's background.

Regular maintenance (or lack thereof).
Title history: salvage titles, junk titles, flood damage, hail damage, storm damage, fire damage, and more.
Lien information, ownership transfers.
Manufacturer buybacks or lemon titles.
Collision repair history.
Structural or frame damage.
Service, repair, and maintenance performed.
Total loss and reason for the loss.
Stolen cars.
Major repairs.
Open recalls.
Emissions records.
Odometer rollback.
City and state of previous registration, number of owners.
Accidents and damage reports, stolen vehicles.
Rental, taxi, lease, or government use.
And lots more…

Organize the Test Drive

At PrivateAuto, we let you arrange the test drive safely, easily, and conveniently, never revealing your personal information to the seller.

1. Our in-app scheduler lets you pick from the time slots the seller has chosen—no awkward back-and-forth conversations.
2. You can choose to transact with verified sellers only, which will help weed out the scammers.

You’ll schedule the test drive in a matter of minutes without ever needing to contact the seller. It’s just one of the many ways we streamline the private car buying process.

Inspect the Car

Even if you know the seller personally, we recommend a pre-purchase inspection by a professional mechanic. At the least, make sure to inspect the car thoroughly yourself.

Here are some key things to look for in a pre-purchase inspection:

Body: check for obvious damage, body panel alignment, uneven gaps, mismatched paint, and signs of damage repair. Look closely for any indications of collision repair. Check for rust underneath and around various body panels. Check headlights, brake lights, and other lights.
Interior: make sure all controls, electronics, air conditioning, and heating work properly. Look for any warning lights on the dash when the car is started. Check for water damage, stains, or tears inside.
Fluids: check all fluid levels, including engine oil, transmission fluid, brake fluid, power steering fluid, and coolant. Look for leaks and make sure the fluids look clean and at proper levels.
Undercarriage: inspect under the car for leaks, rust, and damage. Look at brake lines, exhaust, and suspension components.
Tires: examine tire treads and make sure there is sufficient tread depth. Also look for any cracks, bulges, or other tire damage. Check the spare as well.
Maintenance records: review the vehicle history report and check maintenance logs to understand repair and ownership history.
Test drive: drive the car under different conditions to test acceleration, braking, steering, and transmission, and to feel and listen for any mechanical issues.

Sign an Idaho Bill of Sale

In the state of Idaho, a bill of sale is not required in a private-party car transaction. It’s still a good idea to have one: the bill of sale is a legal document that protects both buyer and seller by memorializing the terms of the sale.

Here are the necessary elements in a bill of sale:

Your full name and notarized signature.
The other party’s full name and notarized signature.
Price of the car.
The make, model, and year of the car.
A description of the car.
A warranty disclaimer stating the car is being sold as-is.
Date of the transaction.

We provide an official Idaho bill of sale as part of our standard in-app transaction process. At the appropriate stage of the transaction workflow, the buyer and seller will be asked to sign the Idaho bill of sale electronically in the PrivateAuto app.

Pay for the Car

Now is the time to pay the seller. Existing payment methods are inconvenient, risky, or expensive (or a combination of all three). That’s why we developed PrivateAuto Pay.

You can send unlimited funds with no transfer fees. Nights, weekends, holidays—anytime. The seller will receive the money immediately. It’s secure, easy to use, and convenient. Its instantaneous nature provides escrow-like safeguards for you to control the deal.

Oh, and if you can’t pay cash for your next vehicle we got your back—-you can apply for a used car loan directly within 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 you close the deal and send payment. You will make monthly car payments to the lender. It's that simple.

Curious how much your payments will be? Our handy car loan calculator can tell you.

Sign the Idaho Vehicle Title

After you’ve paid for the car, you and the seller will fill out and sign the certificate of title, and the seller will leave it to you. This is the crowning step that makes you the official owner of the car.

Both parties need to fill out the title certificate thoroughly. The following info is required:

Full names.
Damage disclosure statement.
An odometer disclosure statement (in many states).

Odometer Disclosure

Federal law requires the seller to complete the odometer reading statement (also known as an odometer disclosure). In many states, the title includes an odometer disclosure. For other states, an additional odometer disclosure statement is required as a separate document.

If in doubt, you could always complete the Federal Odometer Disclosure Statement to make sure your bases are covered.

Inspect the odometer to verify that the seller’s entry is correct. Keep in mind that sellers who tamper with a car's odometer to obtain a false reading can face serious consequences.

Our app has a field for the odometer reading so that both the buyer and the seller can check the mileage before moving forward.

Vehicle Identification Number Check

Always verify the vehicle identification number to compare it to that written on the title. You want to avoid having the wrong vehicle identification number on the car title, as this will cause all sorts of grief later on.

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

Get Car Insurance

Before driving your newly purchased vehicle home, you’ll want to have it covered under an insurance policy. Most states require liability insurance at a minimum; it’s up to you whether to get more coverage.

PrivateAuto makes it easy to compare rates and get car insurance right in our app.
Image highlighting Buying Car Privately by PrivateAuto

Finalize with Idaho DMV

You technically own the car at this point, but the Idaho DMV needs to know that. It’s time to register the car in your name, transfer the title in the state records, and get new license plates. They will require the following:

Valid driver license
The vehicle title signed by the previous vehicle owner
An Application for Certificate of Title (Form ITD 3337)
Proof of insurance
Payment for the title transfer fee: $14.
Registration fee ranging from $45 to $69.
Payment for Idaho car sales tax (6% of the car’s purchase price).
Potentially other taxes and fees, depending on your city and county of residence.

License Plates

Some states allow the license plates to remain with the car when sold. Idaho requires the seller to remove the plates from the car. As the buyer, you’ll apply to the DMV for new license plates, and pay pay for Idaho license plates (the cost of a standard plate is included in vehicle registration).

See our state-by-state guide to license plate requirements if you’re thinking about buying or selling a car in another state.

Idaho Vehicle FAQ

How to request a duplicate title in Idaho?

To get a duplicate title in Idaho, you’ll need to complete the vehicle title application form, check the "duplicate title" box, and submit it at your local DMV office or county assessor's office along with the $14 payment for the duplicate title.

How to replace a lost Idaho title?

Does Idaho require emission testing?

Does Idaho require a VIN inspection?

Is there a lemon law for used cars in Idaho?

How much are sales taxes on buying a car in Idaho?

How to transfer ownership of a car without a title in Idaho?

What is the sales use tax rate in Idaho Falls?