Buying a Used Car from a Private Seller in Missouri

If you’re looking to buy a private-party used car in Missouri, you’re smart. Dealerships charge fees and markups, which you can avoid when you buy directly from an individual.
PrivateAuto streamlines the private-party buying process with our smooth transactional process, including instant payments of up to $1 million with no fees. Read on and learn how you can buy a used car in the state of Missouri—and how we make the whole process easier.

Find a Car For Your Budget

To find affordable used cars listed by private sellers, the internet is your friend. With a shortlist of desired models that fit your budget, you can begin searching on many websites that list used vehicles for sale.
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Browse for Used Vehicles Online

Most people search online when looking for used cars for sale near them. Here are the main types of car-buying websites you’ll come across.

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

While these platforms are excellent resources for finding vehicles, every single one of them lacks transactional capabilities. We call them "meetingplaces" because they leave you high and dry when it comes down to getting the deal done.

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

To experience the hassle-free simplicity of buying from a private seller, browse used cars for sale by the owner and begin your car-buying journey today.

Don't get us wrong, we don’t hate the other listing sites. Most of them have a lot more private-party car inventory than we do— we’re still gaining traction. We are the best car-buying app out there, and we want our users to have the transactional security and convenience that they need.

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

Get your deal started now!

Negotiate the Price

You want to get the very best car for your budget. PrivateAuto allows you to make offers on cars you like. You never know if the vehicle’s owner will accept less than their asking price until you try.

On other sites, 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 Vehicle

Savvy car shoppers do their homework to uncover the car's background. The two best ways to learn about a vehicle’s background are a vehicle history report and researching the car’s title.

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 and protect yourself from car-buying fraud.

Unfortunately, you may encounter sellers who try to pass off a salvage title as clean, or rope you into some other car-buying scam

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 full name and the vehicle identification number (VIN) in advance of meeting up. Run the title check, and proceed with peace of mind.

Get a Vehicle History Report

A vehicle history report is advisable when buying a used car. It covers ownership history and maintenance records and gives you insight into how well the seller cared for their car.

PrivateAuto provides 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 know how well the car has been cared for.
3. You can see service records, major repairs, and other work.

A vehicle history report will help you avoid purchasing a bad lemon.

Schedule a Test Drive

PivateAuto lets you arrange a test drive safely, easily, and conveniently, without revealing sensitive 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 choose to transact with verified sellers only, which tends to 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 private car sales.

If you are looking to make a long-distance purchase, you can arrange for a qualified vehicle inspector who is located in the seller’s area to act as your proxy for the test drive.

Complete Missouri Paperwork

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

1. Title
2. Bill of sale
3. Emissions testing
4. Safety inspection

Missouri Certificate of Title

You and the seller need to fill out the official Missouri certificate of title. A Missouri title will require both parties to complete the following information at the time of the sale:

Vehicle purchase price
Odometer disclosure
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

Missouri Bill of Sale

Missouri requires a bill of sale. It protects you by memorializing the terms of the sale, the VIN, the sales 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.

We make it easy with an official Missouri 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—just sign electronically in the PrivateAuto mobile app. It’s stored in your PrivateAuto account as a reference, should you ever need it.

Missouri Emissions Inspection

Gas-powered cars that are 1996 and newer, diesel-powered cars 1997 and newer, and vehicles that weigh 8,500 pounds or less, are required to go through annual emissions testing if they’re being registered in the following areas:

St. Louis City
St. Louis County
St. Charles County
Jefferson County

The emissions inspection costs up to $24.

Missouri Safety Inspection

All vehicles that are more than five model years old have to undergo a safety inspection to get registered.

Pay the Seller

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

We got tired of the limitations associated with existing payment methods, so we created a solution. We call it PrivateAuto Pay. Our users call it magic. Here’s how it works:

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

You’ll never want to buy a car any other way. Oh, and if you’re buying a car on a different website, invite the seller to our DealNow fast-track solution to get the transaction done safely, securely, and fast.
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Missouri Title Transfer and Registration

After the seller signs the title over to you, you'll make your way down to the Department of Revenue office to complete the title transfer process. At the same time, you’ll register the vehicle in your name, get new plates, and pay your Missouri sales tax owed.

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

The Certificate of Title, signed over to you by the previous vehicle owner
A completed Form 108 - Application For Missouri Title and License
Lien information (if there is a lien holder on the title)
Payment for the Missouri vehicle sales tax: 4.225% of the vehicle price
Payment for Missouri’s vehicle title transfer fee: $8.50
Payment for the $6 processing fee
Payment for Missouri registration fee: from $18.25 to $102.50
Payment for Missouri license plate fee: included in the registration fee
Valid ID, driver's license, or other proof of identity
Proof of insurance
Proof of safety inspection
Proof of emissions inspection

Read our complete guide to a Missouri title transfer for more info on the subject.

Missouri FAQ

How much does it cost to register a passenger vehicle in Missouri?

For passenger vehicles, Missouri uses a complex sliding scale based on taxable horsepower for registration and license plate fees.

For the full scoop on Missouri registration costs, see this Department of Revenue page.

Do you pay sales tax on a private car sale in Missouri?

How do I avoid paying sales tax on a car in Missouri?

Can I get a temp tag online in Missouri?