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We bought our family sedan, a Honda Accord, earlier this week. We love it!

I want to cover the process of buying a car from a private seller in North Carolina. Hopefully, it'll help those looking at finding a deal on a car on Craigslist.

Finding Out What North Carolina DMV Needed

Once the offer was accepted, the next morning I called the NC DMV to see what we needed to get for the car to be properly registered.

  • Vehicle Title – signed by the seller(s) and buyer(s)-> Must be notarized
  • Title Application
  • Odometer Disclosure (if car is 10 or less)
  • Declaration of Eligible Risk
Looking to buy a car for your family? Learn how we scored a deal with our Honda Accord on Craigslist.

If there was a lien on the car we would've needed a lien release.

My question for the customer service representative is if we can drive home without tags and then register it the next morning.

Since we were buying car late in the afternoon, we were worried that DMV would be closed by the time we finished everything.

She said no; basically, in North Carolina there is no temporary tag to put on the car.

I prefer Virginia's way of doing things – giving buyers 3-day temporary tags to get everything squared away. (However, it turned out to not be a big deal since we just made it in for the plates.)

Adding the Car to Our Insurance

It was surprisingly simple to add the car to our auto insurance policy.

In total it took 20 minutes to give them the data and for them to get the new insurance cards emailed to us for printing.

I also discovered that the Accord is actually a good deal with insurance. The premium for the car is about the same as our cars, which are considerably older.

Buying the Car

We met the seller at our local branch and get checks made out in her name. (Thank you Wells Fargo for charging us to access our money!)

The title was signed and notarized.

All that was left was getting the old plates off. That proved the most difficult part. It took about half an hour.

We then rushed over to the local DMV office to get the plates for the car. We got there about 10 minutes before they closed.

Fortunately, we had everything we needed and in 15 minutes the process was over. We screwed on the plates and we were good to go.

Thoughts on Buying a Car Off Craigslist

How about you? Are you planning on buying a car this year? How many of you are buying from a private seller? How many of you are in North Carolina?

About Elle Martinez

Elle Martinez helps families at Couple Money achieve financial freedom by sharing tips for reducing debt, increase income, and building net worth. Learn how to live on one income and have fun with the second..

6 comments add your comment

  1. Did both the seller and you (the buyer) have to appear at the notary together? Or did they have the title notarized prior to the money transfer?

    • Great question! We met at a bank where there was a notary available. We did this when we got a car for my husband and it worked out great.