What are the procedures to buy a second-hand car?

The purchase of a second-hand car is one of the circumstances that arouses the most doubts among users. And although it is true that buying a used car is a good alternative to the economic cost of buying a new one, it is necessary to know what precautions to take and what procedures to carry out so that the operation is a success.

According to statistics, during the year 2019 about 2.2 million second-hand vehicles were sold. Something that shows that the sale of second-hand cars between individuals or through companies continues to enjoy good health. Something that is not strange, since the cost of buying a new car can be excessive for many family budgets. Without forgetting that it is not necessary to resort to a new car for the simple uses of many people. 

In this context, it is worth knowing what the most common procedures are when buying a car, one of the weakest points in terms of information on this process. The purchase of one of these second-hand vehicles must follow a series of legal steps that, if not done, can cause a problem. So we are going to shed some light on the matter, so that you are clear about everything you need to do.

check the vehicle

The first thing we have to do is check the vehicle. This check is double. On the one hand, we must review the car in detail in search of hidden defects, major repairs and other defects before making the purchase. To do this, it is convenient to raise the vehicle to a ramp for carsor a jack, in order to check the underbody area, also checking the interior area, the engine compartment and the trunk. Check for possible oil leaks, areas with shades different from the original ones, which shows the presence of new parts, as well as any other suspicious detail. If you are not sure how to proceed, you can find a trusted mechanic to help you with the task. What is not recommended is paying the ITV fees and passing the review to verify the condition of the vehicle, since this exam is not as deep as we might think.

The other check to be carried out is that of the legal situation of the car. To do this, simply ask the DGT for the so-called “vehicle background report”. This official document informs us of issues such as the origin of the vehicle, if it is listed as stolen, when it passed the last ITV or if it has pending fines. It is key to carry out this step, since if you buy a car with “unfinished business”, then you will have to take care of them.

Purchase contract

Another fundamental step is to carry out a vehicle purchase-sale contract, where the parties, the car itself and the conditions of the operation carried out are correctly identified. If you are not sure what this document should look like, there is a DGT model car sales contract that you can use. However, it is rather brief and too generic for what would be desirable.

Fortunately, there are also some models on the net that you can use. In any case, check any contract that you are going to use, in order to be clear about what you are going to sign, making sure that it includes the clauses that you want to protect yourself. Do not forget about issues such as liability, hidden defects, guarantees or the allocation of the costs of the sale, among other important aspects.

Property transfer tax

As happens in almost any economic operation, the sale of a vehicle is also subject to the payment of taxes. Specifically, we are talking about the property transfer tax. This is ceded to the autonomous communities, so you must liquidate it before the Ministry of Finance of the community in which you reside. Precisely for this reason we cannot give you an estimate of how much the amount of the tax amounts to. Luckily, practically all communities have online simulators, in which you can know precisely the amount of this ITP according to the characteristics of the vehicle and the amount of the operation.

Change of ownership and circulation permit

As a previous step to the change of ownership, the last step to change the name of a car, the seller must give the buyer all the documentation of the car. These documents must include a copy of the circulation permit, technical sheet, proof of the valid ITV and a copy of the circulation tax paid, if paid by the seller. You must also give the buyer a copy of your ID, to manage the transfer.

With these documents, the corresponding purchase contract and the copy of the payment of the property transfer tax, it is time for the buyer to make the change of ownership at the DGT and obtain the new circulation permit. At this point, the vehicle becomes the property of the buyer, who acquires the obligation to contract the corresponding compulsory insurance.

leave it to the professionals

If you have come this far and you find yourself overwhelmed by the different procedures that we have been discussing, you can always resort to an agency to carry out the transfer of the vehicle. The main advantage is that these professionals will take care of all the processes that we have mentioned, leaving the car perfectly transferred and legalized, without further inconvenience. 

If you are wondering how much it costs to transfer a car through these professionals, the price is variable and is around 100 to 200 euros, to which we must add the traffic fees and the amount of the ITP. So it is up to you to assess whether the investment is worth it in exchange for getting these paperwork off your back.

And once the purchase is made

Once the purchase is made and the vehicle is already in your possession, we only have to do a review to update it on maintenance, if necessary, as well as verify that it has the mandatory elements, such as triangles or vests.. It is also convenient to buy the best group 2 3 seat, or the one that corresponds to your children, in case you have a family and want to travel with them. As well as equipping your new vehicle with other interesting accessories, such as a hands-free car kit or any other accessory designed to improve your safety and comfort.

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