Buying a Used Car from a Private Seller in North Dakota

If you're purchasing a used car from a private seller, you're smart. You can get a better deal when you skip the dealership and go directly to the original owner. But there are a few things you'll need to know about the process in Peace Garden State.
PrivateAuto revolutionizes the private-party vehicle buying journey, ensuring safety and efficiency. Continue reading to uncover how purchasing your dream car in North Dakota becomes a straightforward and secure endeavor with our streamlined approach.

Should I Buy from an Auto 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.
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Find a Car that Fits Your Budget

Chances are, you’ll be shopping for private-party used cars online, which means you’ll be using one of the many meetingplaces dedicated to this purpose. After defining your car needs and budget, it’s time to start searching.

Search for Cars Online

Most people opt to search online when they’re trying to find a private-party car for sale near them.

Auction websites such as Bring a Trailer and Carvana.
Vehicle listing sites such as Autotrader.
Social media listings.
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, they 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 purchasing privately, browse used cars for sale and begin your car-buying journey.

But hey, we don’t hate the other listing sites. In fact, 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

Of course, you want to get the very best vehicle for your budget. PrivateAuto allows you to make an offer on cars for sale. You never know if the vehicle’s owner will accept less than their asking price until you try.

On other meetingplaces, 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

A savvy 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. Research on the car’s title
2. Get a vehicle history report

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 faulty used car and help steer you away from car-buying scams.

Arrange 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 the blink of an eye without ever needing to contact the seller. It’s just one of the many ways we streamline private car sales.

Complete North Dakota Paperwork

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

1. Title
2. Odometer disclosure statement
3. Bill of sale

North Dakota Certificate of Title

You and the seller need to fill out the official North Dakota certificate of title. A North Dakota 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
Purchase price
Your hand-printed name and signature

Odometer Disclosure

A North Dakota vehicle title already contains an odometer disclosure section. However, vehicles 2011 and newer require an additional odometer disclosure document. To determine if you need any additional documentation, contact your local Department of Transport office. They will provide you with the Odometer Disclosure Statement Form.

Our in-app workflow includes an odometer disclosure entry, where the buyer and the seller confirm mileage before taking the next step.

North Dakota Bill of Sale

While North Dakota 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 terms of the sale, the vehicle identification number (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 North Dakota 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—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. 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. 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 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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North Dakota Title Transfer and Registration

After the title is signed over to you, you’ll go to the North Dakota Department of Transport (DOT) 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 North Dakota sales tax owed.

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

The Certificate of Title, signed over to you by the previous vehicle owner
Lien information (if applicable)
Payment for the North Dakota vehicle sales tax: 2% of the vehicle price
Payment for North Dakota’s vehicle title transfer fee: $5
Payment for North Dakota registration fee: from $73 to $274
Valid ID or driver's license
Proof of residency
Proof of insurance

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

North Dakota Vehicle FAQ

What is the sales tax on a used car in North Dakota?

When buying a used car in North Dakota, don’t get caught off guard by the state’s vehicle sales tax. There is a 2% statewide sales tax on vehicle purchases in North Dakota.

Unlike many other states, North Dakota doesn’t have local sales tax; 2% is the most car sales tax you’ll pay in North Dakota.

What is exempt from sales tax in North Dakota?

How to request a duplicate vehicle title in North Dakota?

What is needed for North Dakota vehicle registration?