Buying a Used Car from a Private Seller in Kentucky

Avoid pesky dealership fees and get a better deal when you buy a car from a private seller. Here's what you need to know to navigate the car-buying process in Kentucky.
PrivateAuto streamlines the private car buying experience and makes it quick and safe. Keep reading to learn how to buy your dream car in the Bluegrass State, and how we make that daunting task easy and safe.

Should I Buy from a Dealership or a Private Seller?

Dealerships can be more convenient (before PrivateAuto, that is), while private-party cars offer better value.

The private-party purchase offers the following advantages:

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.
3. Avoid fees. Vehicle dealers charge documentation fees that range from $50 to over $1,000.

Before PrivateAuto, dealers offered an escape from the messiness of the private-party sale. People were willing to pay fees and markups for that convenience. Now they don't need to. We bring security and dealer-like convenience to the private-party car transaction

Our transactional marketplace gives you all the tools to drive the deal on your terms, including instant payments of up to $1 million with no transfer fees.
Image highlighting DealNow by PrivateAuto

Browse Car-Buying Websites

When searching for cars for sale in your area, there are a lot of different car-buying websites you can browse.

Social media listings like Facebook Marketplace.
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.

While these sites show you a lot of cars for sale, all of them lack transactional capability. We call them "meetingplaces" because they leave you to your own devices when it comes down to closing the deal.

We’re the world’s first and only fully transactional marketplace, offering self-service technological solutions for every stage of the deal.

Begin your car-buying journey today!

We have nothing against other listing sites. If you find your dream car on one of them, we’re happy for you. But we want you to have the transactional security and convenience that our users enjoy.

That’s why we developed DealNow. DealNow allows you to start a deal anywhere, and finish it on PrivateAuto. Invite the seller to DealNow and fast-track your transaction.

Negotiate the Price

You want to get the very best vehicle for your money, and we allow you to make offers on vehicles that you like. You never know if the vehicle’s owner is willing to negotiate their asking price and give you a deal until you try.

On other sites, you’d have to message the seller and bargain over price. PrivateAuto lets you make an offer with the click of a button. The seller can then accept, reject, or make a counteroffer.

Research the Vehicle

A smart buyer will try to find out as much as they can about the car they’re getting. The two best ways to learn about a vehicle’s background are:

1. Get a vehicle history report
2. Research the car's title

Get a Vehicle History Report

Savvy car buyers know that a vehicle history report is mandatory when buying a used car. It covers ownership history and maintenance records, and gives you insight into how well the seller cared for the vehicle. We provide a vehicle history report for all premium listings.

Here are some reasons a vehicle history report gives you peace of mind.

1. You have visibility into any accidents or insurance claims.
2. You can see service records, major repairs, and other work.
3. You know how well the car has been cared for.

A vehicle history report can help you avoid buying a faulty vehicle.

Research the Title

Before meeting up for the test drive, it’s smart to do preliminary research on the car title.
You can use the National Insurance Crime Bureau website to research the title to protect yourself from car-buying fraud.

Sometimes sellers will attempt to mislead or outright deceive—they may try to pass off a salvage title as clean.

Title research will help you check for:

1. Reports of the car having been stolen.
2. An outstanding lien.
3. The car has been declared a total loss in an insurance claim.

Ask the seller for their legal name and the vehicle identification number (VIN) before the meetup. Run the title check, and save yourself the worry.

Arrange 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. You'll also see the seller's preferred meetup location.
2. You can opt to transact with verified sellers, which will help weed out those who prefer to operate in the shadows.

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.

Complete Kentucky Paperwork

Paperwork is a critical part of the transaction process. Here is the documentation you need in a Kentucky used car transaction:

1. Title
2. Bill of sale

Kentucky Certificate of Title

You and the seller need to fill out the official Kentucky certificate of title. You will need to complete the following information at the time of the sale with a notary present:

Odometer disclosure.
Date of sale.
Vehicle purchase price.
Seller’s hand-printed name, signature, and address (if there is more than one seller listed on the title, both sellers will need to sign).
Your hand-printed name and signature.

Kentucky Bill of Sale

While Kentucky doesn't require a bill of sale, we recommend you always complete one with the seller. A bill of sale protects you by memorializing the VIN, the selling price, mileage, and the names and signatures of both parties. If the seller ever wants to contest the transaction or any part of it, you have their signature on a legal document with all of the terms and details to back you up.

PrivateAuto makes it easy with an official Kentucky bill of sale right in our app. You and the seller review the details, and then digitally sign the bill of sale after inspecting the car. No printing or scanning—simply sign electronically in the PrivateAuto mobile app. It’s stored in your PrivateAuto account as a reference, should you ever need it.

Pay the Seller

When it comes time to pay the seller for their car, there aren’t a lot of great options—until now. Cash is inconvenient and risky, PayPal has fees, Venmo and Zelle have low transfer limits, and checks and wire transfers are slow and cumbersome.

We got fed up with how limited the existing payment methods are, so we created a better solution. We call it PrivateAuto Pay. Our users call it magic.

Here’s how the magic works:

1. Instantaneous transfers. Close the deal when you meet for the test drive.
2. No transfer fees.
3. Works 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. No coordinating around banker’s hours.
4. No exchange of contact or banking info.
5. Advanced encryption protects your data from hackers.
6. Skip inconvenient and costly third-party escrow services when you use our escrow-like safeguards.

You’ll never want to buy a car any other way.
Image highlighting Buying Car Privately by PrivateAuto

Kentucky Title Transfer and Registration

After the title is signed over to you, you’ll go to the county clerk's office to complete the title transfer process. At the same time, you’ll register the vehicle in your name, get new license plates, and pay your Kentucky sales tax owed.

Here’s what you’ll need to provide when you transfer the title at the county clerk's office:

The Certificate of Title, signed over to you by the previous vehicle owner.
A completed Application For Kentucky Certificate Of Title Or Registration form
Lien information (if there is a lien holder on the title).
Proof of insurance.
Payment for Kentucky’s vehicle title transfer fee: $9.
Payment for Kentucky registration fee: $21.
Payment for Kentucky license plate fee: $21 for standard plates, more for specialty plates.
Payment for Kentucky vehicle sales tax: 6% of your vehicle's purchase price
Valid ID, driver's license, or other proof of identity.

Kentucky FAQ

Is emissions testing required in Kentucky?

Kentucky eliminated the requirement for smog certifications in 2005 when Governor Ernie Fletcher signed an emergency regulation, so emissions testing is no longer required.

Kentucky does offer some eco-friendly driver incentives. Drivers who are making an effort to reduce their vehicle emissions are eligible to receive a vehicle tax break.

Residents of Kentucky who own the following vehicle types are eligible for a tax break:

- Hybrids
- Electric cars
- Plug-in hybrids
- Alternative fuel vehicles
- Vehicles that run on diesel

Do both parties have to be present for a title transfer in KY?

Is Kentucky a no-notary state?

How much does it cost to register a vehicle in Kentucky?

How do I apply for a duplicate title?

What is the minimum insurance requirement in Kentucky?