Buying a Used Car from a Private Seller in Louisiana

When you purchase a used car from a private seller, there are several steps you'll need to complete. Here's everything you need to know to do a deal in Louisiana.
PrivateAuto streamlines the private-party vehicle buying experience and makes it safe and enjoyable. Keep reading to see how to buy your dream car in Louisiana, and how we make what could be a daunting task simple and safe.

Find the Right Car for Your Budget

Most likely, you’ll be shopping for private-party used cars online, which means you’ll be using one of the many websites meant for car-buying. After defining your vehicle needs and budget, it’s time to start your search.
Image highlighting Buying/Selling Car Privately by PrivateAuto

Start Searching

When it comes to buying a car online, here are your options for finding the perfect private-party used car for you:

Online classifieds
Local classifieds such as KSL Cars.
National classifieds such as Craigslist and OfferUp.
Auction websites such as Bring a Trailer and eBay Motors.
Vehicle listing sites such as Autotrader.
Social media listings like Facebook Marketplace.

While these platforms introduce you to cars for sale in your area, they lack transactional capabilities. We call them "meetingplaces" because they connect you with a car (and its seller)—and then leave you to muddle through the logistics of meeting, payment, and all the other steps involved in purchasing the car. It’s not easy.

We are the world's only transactional marketplace that offers self-serve technology solutions for every part of the deal. If you’d like to see how simple and stress-free buying from a private seller can be, shop our used cars for sale to kick-start the process.

We don’t hate other listing sites. Some have a lot more private-party car inventory than we do. But we still want you to have the transactional security and convenience that our users enjoy.

That’s why we created a fast-track solution called DealNow. It allows you to create a personal dealroom on PrivateAuto, invite the private owner of the car you want to buy, and get the deal done quickly.

Get your deal started now!

Negotiate Price

Obviously, it is in your best interest to get the best car for your money. Our platform allows you to make offers on cars that catch your eye. You never know if the vehicle’s owner will accept less than their asking price until you try.

On meetingplaces like Craigslist, you’d have to message the seller and have an awkward conversation. PrivateAuto lets you make an offer with the click of a button. The seller can then accept, reject, or counteroffer.

Research the Car

Smart car buyers dig deep to unveil the car's past. The two best ways to learn about a vehicle’s background are a vehicle history report and research on the car’s title.

Research the Title

Before meeting up with the seller for the test drive, it’s advisable 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 vehicle fraud.

Sometimes, sellers will attempt to scam you—they may try to pass off a salvage title as clean.

Title research will help you check for:

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

Ask the seller for their full name and the vehicle identification number (VIN) before meeting up. Run the title check, and you’ll have one less thing to worry about.

Get a Vehicle History Report

A vehicle history report is advised when purchasing a car from a private seller. It covers ownership history and maintenance records and shows you how well the seller cared for their car.

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

A vehicle history report can help you steer clear of buying a bad used car and help steer you away from car-buying scams.

Go For a Test Drive

We let you arrange the test drive in a safe, easy, and convenient manner that never reveals your personal information to the seller.

1. Our in-app scheduler allows you to pick from the time slots the seller has chosen. No back-and-forth conversations. You'll also see the seller's preferred meetup location.
2. You can only transact with verified sellers, which tends to weed out those who prefer to operate in the shadows.

You’ll schedule the test drive in seconds without ever needing to contact the seller. It’s just one of the many ways we streamline private car purchases.

Complete Louisiana Paperwork

Paperwork is a critical part of the transaction process. Here is the paperwork involved in a Louisiana used car transaction:

1. Vehicle title
2. Emissions testing
3. Bill of sale

Louisiana Certificate of Title

Both you and the seller need to fill out the official Louisiana certificate of title. A Louisiana title will require you and the seller to complete the following information at the time of the sale the following info:

Odometer disclosure
Purchase price
Date of sale
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

Louisiana Emissions Testing

Vehicles model years 1980 or newer are required to go through annual emissions testing if they’re being registered in the 5-parish Baton Rouge.

These are the parishes that require annual emissions testing:

1. Ascension
2. East Baton Rouge
3. Iberville
4. Livingston
5. West Baton Rouge

The emissions inspection is combined with the annual safety inspection and it costs $18.

Louisiana Bill of Sale

Louisiana requires a bill of sale as it protects you by memorializing the terms of the sale, 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 Louisiana bill of sale 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 app. It’s stored in your PrivateAuto account as a reference, should you ever need it.

Pay the Seller

Before we created PrivateAuto Pay, there weren’t any great ways to send money to the seller. 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 tired of the limitations associated with existing payment methods, so we created PrivateAuto Pay.

Here’s how it works:

No transfer fees.
Instantaneous transfers. Close the deal when you meet for the test drive.
Works 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. No coordinating around banker’s hours.
No exchange of contact or banking info.
Act as your own escrow service with our secure deal flow.

You’ll never want to buy a car any other way. Even if you’re buying a car on a different platform, you can just invite the seller to DealNow and enjoy all the same benefits.

Louisiana Title Transfer and Registration

After the title is signed over to you, you’ll go to the Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicles (OMV) office to complete the title transfer process. At the same time, you’ll register the vehicle in your name, get a new license plate, and pay your Louisiana sales tax owed.

Here’s what you’ll need to provide when you transfer your car’s title at the OMV office:

The Certificate of Title, signed over to you by the previous vehicle owner
A completed Notice of Vehicle Transfer form
Lien information (if applicable)
Payment for the Louisiana vehicle sales tax: 4.45% of the vehicle price
Payment for Louisiana’s vehicle title transfer fee: $68
Payment for Louisiana registration fee: $40
Payment for Louisiana license plate fees: assessed at 0.1% of the vehicle's value per year
Handling fee: $8.00
Valid safety inspection sticker
Valid ID or driver's license
Proof of insurance

Read our complete guide to a Louisiana title transfer for more info on the subject.
Image highlighting Buying Car Privately by PrivateAuto

Should I Buy from a Dealer or a Private Seller?

When considering whether to purchase from a dealer or a private seller, the traditional view is that dealerships offer convenience, while private sellers provide better value.

At PrivateAuto, we strongly advocate for the private seller option due to several advantages:

1. 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.
2. Avoid fees. Car dealers charge documentation fees that range from $50 to over $1,000.
3. You drive the deal on your terms. PrivateAuto allows you to make offers and negotiate the best deal directly with the seller.

While it’s true that dealerships traditionally offer more convenience, we’re all about making the private-party car buying experience frictionless and safe. Our transactional marketplace gives you all the tools to drive the deal on your terms.

Louisiana Vehicle FAQ

What are the minimum auto insurance requirements in Louisiana?

Driving a passenger vehicle in Louisiana without any proof of liability insurance is illegal:

- Bodily injury: $30,000 per person and $60,000 per accident.
- Property damage: $20,000 per accident.
- Uninsured motorist bodily injury: $30,000 per person and $60,000 per accident.

Can I buy a car out of state and register it in Louisiana?

How long do I have to pay the title fee in Louisiana?

What is the Louisiana road use tax?

Does Louisiana have a 30-day lemon law?

Do you need a separate odometer disclosure statement when registering a car in Louisiana?

How much does a duplicate title cost in Louisiana?