Buying A Used Car In Oregon From A Private Seller

When buying a used car from a private owner in Oregon, there are some basic tips you should follow. The following car-buying tips will help keep you on track and help you do the transaction safely.
It’s important that you’re staying safe and secure when purchasing used cars. Let’s talk about how to navigate the Oregon car-buying process.

Oh, and, by the way, PrivateAuto has an end-to-end platform for private-party used cars for sale in Oregon to get the deal done as fast as possible. From immediate payment transfers to secure messaging, we offer an unprecedented level of convenience and security for the transaction process.

Oregon Used Car-Buying Process

In Oregon, 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. Schedule a test drive
4. Handle the documentation
5. Pay the seller
6. Have the seller transfer vehicle ownership
7. Register the car in your name and pay sales taxes and fees
8. Get new license plates

Let’s go over the process of buying vehicles in Oregon in greater detail.
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Find a Car to Buy

No matter if you are looking for a sedan, a pickup truck, or an SUV, you’re better off purchasing from a private owner than from Oregon used vehicle dealers. Dealerships need to buy low and sell high to make a profit. Better to cut out the middleman.

PrivateAuto has a wide selection of used cars for sale in Oregon, and we have security and convenience features that none of our competitors have. For example, we verify the identity of all sellers, so you know who you’re negotiating with. You can browse used car listings and make offers within the app, and when the seller accepts your offer, you can organize the test drive with our handy scheduling feature. It all happens within the app and you never have to give out your personal info.

Take The Car For a Test Drive

When you find your ideal used car for sale near you, and settle on a purchase price, it’s time to take the car for a test drive.

Arrange the Meetup

Other used car 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. But, on the PrivateAuto app, your personal info is kept private. Our handy in-app scheduler allows you and the seller to arrange the perfect time and place.

Look At the Vehicle History Report

It’s always advisable to research the 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.

AutoCheck and PrivateAuto have joined forces in order 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.

Get a Mechanical Inspection (Optional)

Before buying a used car, you may want to do a mechanical inspection on it. This is especially advisable for cars that have high mileage or cars that haven’t been driven for a while. If you are experienced enough, you can perform the pre-purchase inspection at the test drive. Or, you can get it inspected by a professional mechanic.

We give 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.

Handle Documentation

Documentation is a key part of the transaction process. Different states have different documentation requirements, but here is the most common paperwork required in used car purchases.

Vehicle Title

Both you and the seller will fill out the Certificate of Title thoroughly. Required info includes the following:

Name
Address
Signature (completed after payment)
An odometer disclosure statement (for cars less than 20 years old)

See our Oregon title transfer guide for more detail on filling out the title.

Odometer Disclosure

When you are buying a car that is less than 20 years old, Federal law requires the seller to complete the odometer reading statement (also referred to as an odometer disclosure) on the back of the title.

If there’s no room on the title, complete the Federal Odometer Disclosure Statement.

You can verify the accuracy of the odometer reading the seller enters on the title by looking at the odometer yourself. Keep in mind that there are severe penalties for sellers tampering with vehicle odometers in order to provide inaccurate readings.

For your peace of mind, the PrivateAuto app includes an odometer reading entry, where both parties (buyer and seller) confirm mileage before taking the next step.

Oregon Bill of Sale

In Oregon, a bill of sale is optional if purchasing a vehicle from a private seller.

PrivateAuto includes an Oregon bill of sale as part of our standard in-app transaction process. At the appropriate phase in the transaction, both buyer and seller will be prompted to e-sign the bill of sale within their mobile PrivateAuto app.

The entire transaction, including the bill of sale, can be completed in minutes when you meet for the test drive and approve of the vehicle. It’s so fast and convenient you won’t believe it. And then, you’ll always have the electronic bill of sale accessible in your PrivateAuto account to prove that the transaction was legitimate.

VIN Check

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 wrong vehicle information number on the title when you go to register your newly-purchased car with the State of Oregon.

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).

Emissions Testing

In the state of Oregon, emissions testing is only required in the Portland and Medford/Ashland metro areas.

If you are registering your vehicle in Portland and Medford/Ashland areas, you will have to undergo emissions testing if it falls into the following categories.

Gas cars
Hybrid cars
Alternative fuel vehicle (AFV)
Diesel cars that weighs 8,500 lbs or less

In the Portland area, emissions testing costs $25, while Medford/Ashland area fees are $20.
Emissions test exemptions:

All-terrain vehicle (ATV)
Diesel cars that weighs 8,501 lbs or more
Cars built before 1976 (Portland Oregon)
Cars that are over 20 years old (Medford/Ashland Oregon)
Fully electric cars

If your car fails emissions testing, you will need to have the emissions-related issue fixed and schedule your re-inspection.
The first re-inspection is free.

Send 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 cash in a private car transaction.

" class="text-lg font-bold py-2">Introducing PrivateAuto Pay


Introducing PrivateAuto Pay

Our integrated banking gateway, PrivateAuto Pay, allows you to instantaneously send any amount of cash. The seller will get the money in a matter of seconds, whether after hours, on weekends, or during 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 your check to clear, you’ll love PrivateAuto Pay.

Easy Financing Available

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

Oregon Title Transfer

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

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 Research the Title?

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

The Oregon Department of Justice recommends 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 Title Transfer with Oregon DMV

When transferring the title in Oregon, you’ll need to finalize the process with Oregon Driver and Motor Vehicle Services (Oregon DMV). They will require you to complete the following:

Show a current Oregon title in your name
Odometer disclosure
Lien releases if applicable
Pay the title fee (DMV calculator)

If you want a more in-depth exploration, take a look at our title transfer guide.

Oregon Title Transfer Fees

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

The following are standard car titling fees in OR:

Vehicle title fee: $101 to $192
$25 late fee if applying 31 to 60 days after the date of sale.
$50 late fee if applying on or after 61 days after the date of sale.

License Plates and Registration

Different states will have different rules for what to do with license plates when a used car is sold. Some states allow the plates to remain with the car and pass to the buyer. Unfortunately, Oregon is not one of those states.

When you are purchasing a used car in Oregon from a private owner, Oregon laws mandate that the seller must remove the license plates.

As the buyer, you'll then need to apply for new license plates when you register the car in your name with the Oregon DMV.

To register your car in Oregon, you will need the following:

Oregon title application
Original ownership documentation
Lien releases
Bill of sale
Odometer disclosure
Any applicable fees
Proof of car insurance

First-time car titling and registering can only be done in person at the Oregon Department of Transportation.

For more information about the locations, visit the Oregon DMV website.

Get New License Plates

License plates are issued by the Oregon Department of Transportation through its driver and motor vehicle services branch

You will be able to choose from eight different license plate styles.

1. Salmon
2. Crater Lake
3. Cultural
4. Wine Country
5. Trail Blazers
6. Gray Whale
7. Duck
8. Smokey Bear

For two-plate vehicles, the Oregon license plate fee is $24.50.

Oregon Sales Tax

The state of Oregon doesn't have vehicle sales tax. That is why Oregon uses the OR Business Registry Resale Certificate for those who purchase goods outside of the state and try to resell them in OR.

What Are the Fees When Buying A Used Car in Oregon?

The car price never includes registration, and title transfer fees, which the buyer will pay above and beyond the purchase price.

Here are additional fees you'll pay when buying a used car in Oregon:

Title fee: from $101 to $192
Oregon license plates: $24.50
Registration fees: from $126 to $316

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 a Used Car in Oregon with PrivateAuto

It’s easy to buy a used car online with PrivateAuto. Whether you’re looking for an Alfa Romeo, a Land Rover, a Toyota Tacoma 4WD or a Subaru, you’re sure to find a great deal on the ride of your dreams.

We are the only end-to-end vehicle 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 Oregon.

The PrivateAuto buying process consists of a few simple steps:

Make an account on PrivateAuto and get verified

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

Get started here.

Search a car you like

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

Make offers

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.

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.)

Take care of the paperwork

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.

Transfer funds

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 funds instantaneously with PrivateAuto Pay, our innovative banking integration. Guaranteed funds for transactions large and small.

Need financing? Apply for a used car loan right in our app. If accepted, your profile will show as having “verified funds” and the car’s seller will be paid by our financing partner. You will then make monthly payments to our partner. So convenient and easy.

Title transfer

The seller will transfer ownership of the vehicle to you by signing over the title. Afterward, you'll complete the transfer of title with the Oregon DMV.

Selling your car? Choose PrivateAuto to get the best price and transact easily and safely!

Oregon Car Buying FAQ


Who pays for the car title transfer fees in Oregon?

When applying for a Oregon title, the buyer is responsible for paying the title transfer fee. The buyer will also pay registration fees, and license plate fees.

What kind of insurance does a used car need?


What are temporary tags?


Is buying a car privately for cash a good idea?


Does Oregon's lemon law apply to used cars?


How to protect yourself when buying a vehicle privately?


Do I need gap insurance for my car in Oregon?


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