Buying a Used Car from a Private Seller in New Mexico

If you’re looking to buy a private-party used car in New Mexico, you’re smart. Dealerships charge fees and markups, which you can avoid when you buy directly from an individual. Let’s walk through the entire transaction process for the Land of Enchantment.
PrivateAuto streamlines the private vehicle buying experience and makes it enjoyable and safe. Keep reading to see how to buy your dream car in New Mexico, and how we make what could be a daunting task quick and safe.

Find a Car that Fits Your Budget

You’re probably looking for private-party used cars online, which means you’ll be using one of the many websites that list cars for sale. You probably have some idea of what type of car you’re looking for and what you can afford; if not, take some time to narrow that down. Then, it’s time to start your search.
Image highlighting Buying/Selling Car Privately by PrivateAuto

Search for Cars Online

Most people choose to search online when they’re looking for used cars for sale near them.

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

While these platforms serve as excellent resources for finding vehicles, all of them lack transactional capabilities. We call them "meetingplaces" because they leave you to muddle through all the logistics of getting the deal done—and it isn’t pretty.

What makes us stand out is the fact we’re 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 and begin your car-buying journey.

Don't get us wrong we don’t hate the other listing sites. They may 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 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.

Get your deal started now!

Negotiate 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 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 Car 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.

In some cases 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 full name and the vehicle identification number (VIN) in advance of meeting up. Run the title check, and save yourself the worry.

Get a Vehicle History Report

A vehicle history report is a smart idea 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 can help you steer clear of buying a bad used car.

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 New Mexico Paperwork

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

1. Title
2. Bill of sale
3. Emissions testing

New Mexico Certificate of Title

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

Odometer disclosure
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)
Date of sale
Vehicle purchase price
Your hand-printed name and signature

New Mexico Bill of Sale

New Mexico 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 New Mexico 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 mobile app. It’s stored in your PrivateAuto account as a reference, should you ever need it.

New Mexico Emissions Testing

All vehicles registered in New Mexico require emissions testing. The emissions test fees are set by individual test stations and usually range from $15 to $25 plus applicable taxes.

Pay the Seller

When it comes time to pay the seller for their vehicle, there aren’t a lot of great options—or haven’t been 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 unwieldy.

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

1. Instantaneous transfers. Close the deal when you meet for the test drive.
2. No transfer fees.
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. And if you’re buying a car on a different website, don’t worry, invite the seller to our DealNow fast-track solution to get the transaction done safely, securely, and fast.

Image highlighting Buying Car Privately by PrivateAuto

New Mexico Title Transfer and Registration

After the title is signed over to you, you’ll go to the New Mexico Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) 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 New Mexico sales tax owed.

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

The Certificate of Title, signed over to you by the previous vehicle owner
Lien information (if there is a lien holder on the title)
Payment for the New Mexico vehicle sales tax: 4% of the vehicle price
Payment for New Mexico’s vehicle title transfer fee: $5
Payment for New Mexico registration fee: from $27 to $124
New Mexico license plate fee: included in the registration fee
Valid ID, driver's license, or other proof of identity
Proof of insurance

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

New Mexico FAQ

What is the sales tax on a used car in New Mexico?

New Mexico calls their sales tax “Motor Vehicles Excise Tax” (MVET), but it’s really the same thing: a 4% tax on the purchase price or NADA value of a car.

How long do you have to register a car in New Mexico after purchase?

Who is exempt from paying vehicle sales tax in New Mexico?