Buying a Used Car In New Hampshire From a Private Seller

When buying a used car from a private seller in New Hampshire, there are some basic tips to follow. This article will keep you on track.
It’s important that you stay safe and secure when shopping for used vehicles. Let’s talk about how to navigate the New Hampshire car-buying process.

PrivateAuto has private-party used cars for sale in New Hampshire and also provides an end-to-end platform to get the deal done. From immediate payment transfers to secure messaging, we offer an unprecedented level of convenience and security for the transaction process.

What is the Process of Buying a Used Car in New Hampshire?

In New Hampshire, you should go through the following steps when buying a used car from a private party.

1. Find a car you like
2. Agree with the seller on a price
3. Go for a test drive
4. Fill out the paperwork
5. Pay the seller
6. Transfer of ownership
7. Register the car in your name and pay sales taxes and pay fees
8. Get new license plates

Let’s go over the process in more detail.
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Find a Car You Like

You’re always better off purchasing a car from a private party than from a New Hampshire car dealer. In order to be as profitable as possible, dealerships buy low and sell as high as possible. You’re far more likely to get a better deal by going directly to a private-party seller.

PrivateAuto has a generous selection of used cars for sale in Kenne, Lebanon, Conway, Clermont, and elsewhere across the state of New Hampshire. We offer security and convenience features no other competitor has, from in-app test drive scheduling to instantaneous funds transfer of any amount.

Speaking of test drives…

Meet Up For a Test Drive

Once you’ve found a vehicle that you like, and settled on the price, it’s time to meet up with the seller and take the vehicle for a test drive.

Arrange the Meetup

Other used vehicle marketplaces leave the meetup organization to you. Organizing the initial meetup traditionally requires exchanging personal info and having a lot of back-and-forth with the seller. With PrivateAuto, your personal info is kept private. Our handy in-app scheduler allows you and the seller to arrange the perfect time and place.

Research the Car’s History

It’s always wise to research a car’s history before purchasing. You can get a detailed history report through a service like CarFax. Or, you can get a car history report when you use PrivateAuto.

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

(Optional) Mechanical Inspection

Before you buy a used car, you may want to perform a mechanical inspection on it. This is especially advisable for cars that have high mileage. If you have the skills needed, you can perform the pre-purchase inspection at the place of the test drive. Or, you can get it inspected by a local professional mechanic.

PrivateAuto gives you all the technology and tools 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.


Paperwork is a vital part of the transaction process. Different states have different document requirements, but here is the usual paperwork involved in a used car transaction:

Odometer statement
VIN inspection

Fill Out the Certificate of Title

You and the seller need to fill out the Certificate of Title. Required information contains the following info:

Vehicle Identification Number
Your name and address
Vehicle make, model, and other information
Valid ID information
Vehicle purchase price

Odometer Disclosure

In the past, any vehicle less than 10 years old was required to have an odometer disclosure form completed at time of sale.

If the car is 20 years or older at the date of sale, then you don’t need to include the odometer disclosure. This process is used to ensure an accurate reading. It’s also important to note if there are any known issues with an odometer.

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

New Hampshire Bill of Sale

In New Hampshire, a bill of sale is not required if purchasing a vehicle from a private seller. Even though it’s not required, it is always recommended to have a bill of sale, because it provides legal proof of the transaction and purchase price.

PrivateAuto includes a New Hampshire bill of sale as part of our standard in-app transaction process. At the appropriate stage in the transaction, both you and the seller will be prompted to e-sign the bill of sale within the mobile PrivateAuto app.

The whole transaction, the bill of sale included, can be completed in a few minutes when you meet for the test drive and approve the car. It’s very fast 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.

Check the VIN

When buying a used car, always check the vehicle identification number (VIN) that the seller has written on the title. Carefully compare it to the actual VIN on the car. You want to avoid the problem of having the incorrect car information number on the title when you go to register your newly-bought car with the State of New Hampshire DMV.

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

OBD Emissions Testing

In the state of New Hampshire, emission testing is required on any vehicle that is 20 years old and newer.

The only cars which are exempt from emission testing are fully electric vehicles.

Find your nearest New Hampshire DMV station locations and proceed with the test.

The state does not regulate fees charged by inspection stations, so make sure to shop around and find the best deal.

If your car doesn't pass inspection, you will have 60 days to fix the issue and get a retest.

Send The Money to the Seller

It’s time for you to pay the seller for the vehicle. Until PrivateAuto arrived on the scene, there haven’t been a lot of safe ways to send large amounts of money in a private car transaction.

Welcome to PrivateAuto Pay

Our integrated banking gateway, PrivateAuto Pay, allows you to instantly send any amount of cash. The seller will get the payment in a matter of seconds, whether it's late at night or a national holiday. We charge no payment processing fee. It’s truly revolutionary.

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

Vehicle Financing Available

Oh, and if you didn't want to pay out-of-pocket for your next vehicle, you can apply for a used vehicle loan right within the PrivateAuto app. Once you get 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 handy vehicle loan calculator will tell you.

New Hampshire Title Transfer

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

To transfer New Hampshire vehicle titles successfully, sellers must complete the Transfer of Title by Seller section on the front of the certificate of title and include the following:

Proof of insurance under the buyer’s name
ID for buyer and seller
Proof of inspection
Title transfer fees
Sign appropriate affidavits

Title Transfer Fees

The title transfer process involves several fees. These include the registration fee, title transfer fee, tag fee, and sales tax. You may also need to pay an emissions fee or gift tax, depending on your location and the vehicle.

These fees vary depending on the sale price, the original value of the vehicle, and your county. Some counties, for example, charge around $10 for title fees, while others charge $33.

What If 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 meeting up with the seller, it’s always good to do preliminary research on the car title.

Any New Hampshire attorney will recommend using the National Insurance Crime Bureau website to research the title of a potential used vehicle purchase to protect yourself from fraud. It doesn't happen often, but sometimes sellers will attempt to mislead or outright deceive. For instance, they may try to pass off a salvage title as a clean title.

Good title research will help you check for:

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

Finalize with the New Hampshire Division of Motor Vehicles

When the seller is out of the picture and you own the vehicle, you need to finalize the process by visiting New Hampshire's Department of Safety location.

You’ll need to complete the following at your local DMV:

1. Finalizing the transfer of title with the State of New Hampshire.
2. Registering the car in your name and getting new registration tags
3. Paying taxes and fees
4. Getting new license plates

Transfer the Title in New Hampshire

After buying a used car in New Hampshire from a private seller, you’ll need to complete an Application for Certificate of Title, attach it to the title, and submit it to the Division of Motor Vehicles along with the required documentation and payments.

License and Registration

Different states have different rules for license plates in a private car sale. Most states require the seller to remove the license plates from the vehicle before turning it over to the buyer.

When you purchase a used car in New Hampshire, the license plates remain with the vehicle for which they were issued. This is good news for buyers: you won’t have to apply for new plates from the New Hampshire DMV

The registration process can only be done in person at the town clerk's office.

For the initial registration, you will need:

Vehicle inspection and insurance
Driver license
Proof of residency

What Are the Fees When Buying A Used Car in New Hampshire?

The car buying price never includes the used vehicle sales tax, registration, and title transfer fees, which the buyer will pay on top of the car itself.

Here are additional fees you'll pay beyond the purchase price when buying a used car in New Hampshire:

Title fee: $10
Registration fees
Plate transfer fees

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.
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Buying Your Dream Car with PrivateAuto

PrivateAuto makes buying a used car fast and hassle-free. No matter if you’re looking for a Honda Civic, Ford F150, Jeep Wrangler, or Chrysler 200, you’re sure to find a great deal on the ride you’ve been dreaming of.

We are 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 New Hampshire.

The PrivateAuto buying process consists of a couple of simple steps:

Sign up and get verified on PrivateAuto

To make PrivateAuto a safe place for everyone, we require email, phone, and driver’s license verification, including facial recognition.

Browse for your dream car

It’s so easy to browse listings of used cars for sale on PrivateAuto. Filter by make, model, mileage, year, and other criteria to make your search simpler and faster.

Make offers on cars you like

Make offers on cars that catch your eye. It’s up to you whether to accept the seller’s asking price, or to offer a lower price. You can also decide whether to accept ID-verified sellers only.

Schedule the test drive

As the buyer, you will want to test drive the car. No more back-and-forth texts. You never have to give out your phone number. Rather, use our handy scheduling feature to coordinate a time and place for a test drive. (Oh, and you’ll be able to finalize the transaction instantly at the test drive location, FYI.)

Fill out the required documentation

After you are satisfied with the car and the two of you have agreed on a purchase price, you can easily e-sign the Bill of Sale within our app, from your phone. With our shared documents feature, you can easily locate the paperwork needed after the sale.

Pay the seller right on the spot

Before PrivateAuto, receiving funds was the most stressful part of the entire purchasing process, especially for any used vehicle purchases over $5,000. There just aren’t a lot of good ways to move large amounts of money quickly and conveniently.

Those days are over! Verify and send out the funds instantaneously with PrivateAuto Pay, our innovative banking integration. Guaranteed funds for transactions large and small.

Do the car title transfer

When purchasing a used vehicle, you must fill out the necessary information on the title transfer document.

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

New Hampshire Used Car FAQ

What kind of insurance does my newly-bought used car need?

Used cars, just like new cars, are required to have liability car insurance at a minimum. Every insurance company will have different rates, so shop around.

New Hampshire doesn't require you to carry evidence of your auto insurance in your car, but you need to have it at hand in case of an accident.

Liability insurance isn’t mandatory in New Hampshire. You can always consider purchasing collision, comprehensive, and gap insurance, even though these are not required.

Who pays for the title transfer fee in New Hampshire?

How to protect yourself when buying a car privately?

Is buying a car privately in New Hampshire for cash a good idea?