Legally buying used cars from private seller

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Hello. I have been researching and researching but not finding the exact answers Im looking for. This week I would like to buy a used car. I've bought cars in Texas before but this is the first in Germany and the process is a tad confusing.

 

Ive found some cars online from private sellers I would like to potentially buy. Im confused about registration. If I buy a car from a private seller in another town, how do I handle the plates and registration? Some things I have read implies that the seller needs to come with me to the Zulassungsstelle for me to Anmeld the car, and then the plates are switched. Do I then goto the Zulassungsstelle in his/her town? Some things I have read makes it seem that i need to get Kurzzeitkennzeichen ahead of time to use when buying a car since supposedly some cars are sold without plates. Where can i get these? Some things i read make it seem like they're only for exporting a car. Do I have to actually arrange to have the insurance for the exact car BEFORE driving it home? Is it really instant to get insurance online (at HUK24 for example) the morning i go buy a car?

 

sorry for so many questions but so many things are confusing me about all of this. in texas you just buy the car and take it home and sort it all out afterwards. they seem to understand that you might drive a car without it registered or insured for a day since you just bought it... but these germans... i dunno.

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In my opinion, the easiest and safest way is this:

 

- Tell the seller you want to take the car with the current plates so he/she should not de-register it.

- Meet the seller and bring cash

- Fill up and sign a contract (you can download it from autoscout24)

- Either pay cash and get a receipt, or what I prefer, go together to the seller's bank and put the money in his account

- Get the two "Schein"s

- Go home with the car and old license plates. The car will be cover by the old insurance for one or two weeks.

- Organize the insurance online (yes, it is "instant", you get a code and the insurance gets "activated" when you register the car)

- Put the car in a private place and remove the license plates (a car can't be park on a street without plates)

- Bring the old plates, car papers, insurance, your ID, some money, and register the car. Say you want to get back the old plates if the old owner wants them back. You have to register the car in your local town.

- Put the new license plates in the car

- Mail the old plates to the old owner

 

I might be missing some small details, but that's the whole idea.

 

Some sellers can be picky and might not trust you to drive the car with the old plates, it is your choice, I would just say forget it if they do not let me take the car just like that.

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awesome. sounds very reasonable and logical. thanks.

basically... if i understand correctly... if a car has license plates, its insured right? hence how if i bought a car with the plates and brought it back it would be inusured by him/her until i finalized my insurance?

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MP3 yes, it will be insured by the seller until you register and insure it yourself, which you are required to do immediately, within one week at latest.

It is infact highly to be recommended against doing that as a seller as you are liable for any possible accident the buyer will be involved in until he registered and insured the car on his name. Many people know that, so you might find it hard to find a seller who does that. Asking for it is, frankly, the same as asking the seller to be responsible for YOUR actions and whatever happens to you. Not the gentleman way to go.

 

Instead, the proper way to go is meeting up, signing the sales contract, paying the cash and taking the papers, using the papers to insure and register the car, get license plates and THEN pick up the car and drive off with your new plates slammed on.

 

An alternative would be: ask the seller if he can drive the car to your place and park it. Then he can go away with his old plates, but you still have the car at your front door. You can park unregistered (plateless) cars on public streets for 14 days. To be secure, you could call the local police station and inform them about the matter so you don't run into problems.

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It is infact highly to be recommended against doing that as a seller as you are liable for any possible accident the buyer will be involved in until he registered and insured the car on his name. Many people know that, so you might find it hard to find a seller who does that.

 

 

Not that hard, been there done that. It is actually pretty common.

 

 

Instead, the proper way to go is meeting up, signing the sales contract, paying the cash and taking the papers, using the papers to insure and register the car, get license plates and THEN pick up the car and drive off with your new plates slammed on.

 

An alternative would be: ask the seller if he can drive the car to your place and park it. Then he can go away with his old plates, but you still have the car at your front door.

 

 

You miss the part that the car is in a different city.

 

 

You can park unregistered (plateless) cars on public streets for 14 days.

 

 

No, you can't.

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Not that hard, been there done that. It is actually pretty common.

 

Yes, you will find sellers who'll do that. Still doesn't change the fact that it's not advisable. As a seller I wouldn't do it as it's an unneccessary risk, and as a buyer I wouldn't insist on it simply because I like being responsible for my own actions/bad luck myself.

 

 

You miss the part that the car is in a different city.

 

No I'm not. It might be more of a hassle but again, take responsibility for your actions please and don't expect others to do so.

 

 

No, you can't.

 

Correct. Thanks for pointing that out, sorry to OP for striking misadvice on my part! :o

I must me getting old, memory is failing me.

 

 

But I found a better solution: short-term plates!

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Yes, you will find sellers who'll do that. Still doesn't change the fact that it's not advisable. As a seller I wouldn't do it as it's an unneccessary risk, and as a buyer I wouldn't insist on it simply because I like being responsible for my own actions/bad luck myself.

 

 

It is more or less the standard procedure when you buy a car in another city or somewhere considered "far", if you do not want to do it, no problem, I do not buy for you, there are enough cars in the used market and you will be showing you do not know what you are talking about. The car will be covered by the seller's insurance even if it is de-registered, so the "risk" is there you like it or not. In case of an accident the insurance company will only give the buyer shit if you were driving the car around instead of moving it to the new location and re-register it.

 

That's why you sign a contract, all the responsibilities are specified there.

 

You seriously thought in a country like Germany there is no easy procedure to buy a car? Only uninformed people make things complicated.

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The easiest, least risk method for both parties is...

 

1. Go visit the car and take 2 printouts of a Verkaufsvertrag (downloadable from www.mobile.de or www.adac.de), your id and a small deposit, eg €100

 

2. Test drive, inspect, etc and if you like the car and you agree a price, fill out most of the details on the 2 copies of the Vertrag (all except the part about km, date+time of handover, etc but note down on what date the exchange shall take place) and note how much was given as a deposit and how much is left to pay. Make sure the car still has current HU/AU and inspect the car documents.

 

3. Agree with the seller that they will deregister the car and put this in the Vertrag. Both sign it, each taking their own copy. Shake hands and leave.

 

4. Contact your insurance company and ask for the Insurance card for registering your new car. They should be able to email this as a pdf. Print this out. They will also send you a 2nd pdf which will have a later expiry date - this is for registering the car on the permanent plates, later.

 

5. Go to your local Zulassungsstelle and take the insurance details, your passport and your Anmeldebestätigung and register for Kurzzeitkennzeichen. Take the piece of paper they give you and the pink card (keep with you when driving the car) to a shop and buy the Kurzzeitkennzeichen - they are good for 5 days.

 

6. Take the rest of the purchase money, your copy of the Vertrag and the Kurzzeitkennzeichen and go collect the car.

 

7. Complete the rest of the Vertrag (both copies) with the date and time of handover, exact km stand, etc. and both sign on both copies. Each taking their own copy back.

 

8. You get from him the Kfz Brief and Schein (or the Part I and II in new format), the HU and AU pass certificate(s), all keys and you give him the money.

 

9. You fix the Kennzeichen on the car and drive away and back to the Zulassungsstelle before the expiry of the Kurzzeitkennzeichen, taking the docs you got from the seller (point 8) and your docs (point 5). You register the car under your name and get a piece of paper to get new (permanent) Kennzeichen as well as the new Kfz Brief/Schein with your name on as the new owner. You go buy the new Kennzeichen and then go back to get the Bundesland and HU/AU Stempeln fixed on them.

 

10. Fix new Kennzeichen on your car and drive home. As soon as you can, fax (or post or hand deliver) a copy of the new Kfz Schein/Part I to your insurance company. You will get your insurance docs, green card etc shortly afterwards by mail. You are done.

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wow. thanks for the super detailed explanation. This is far too much hassle when buying in another town though. And I just cant be bothered. Its just too much easier in the states. I suppose I should just buy from a dealer lot then since I am assuming they arrange for the temporary plates with temp insurance for a few days until i get it registered. At least thats what I have read.

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You also get a 12-month guarantee/warranty if you buy from a dealer's lot. Purchases from a private seller are at your own risk with no guarantee.

 

The dealer can get the temporary plates for you, but you still have to get the insurance (or at fill out the application for it) yourself.

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wow. thanks for the super detailed explanation. This is far too much hassle when buying in another town though. And I just cant be bothered. Its just too much easier in the states. I suppose I should just buy from a dealer lot then since I am assuming they arrange for the temporary plates with temp insurance for a few days until i get it registered. At least thats what I have read.

 

 

They won't arrange that unless you pay them to (ie: they'll make sure their costs are covered). They will need all the docs mentioned before plus a Vollmacht from you to act on your behalf and they will then register the car for you on permanent plates, ready for you to collect. That process of doing-it-yourself isn't really as bad as it sounds but (as with anything else) not being able to speak passable German would make it more difficult.

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wow. thanks for the super detailed explanation. This is far too much hassle when buying in another town though. And I just cant be bothered. Its just too much easier in the states. I suppose I should just buy from a dealer lot then since I am assuming they arrange for the temporary plates with temp insurance for a few days until i get it registered. At least thats what I have read.

 

 

When you buy form a dealer you pay VAT and it makes a big difference. You can get an extended guarantee but you have to pay for it as well.

 

Cars from dealers might be unregistered already so you either register the car before you take it from the dealer or get temporary plates.

 

Do not give up on buying privately, I've done it before, I bought my current car in another city (OK, around 120 km from where I live), the previous owner could not be bothered with driving the car here so I took it with the old plates and we wrote in the contract that I had 3 days (or something like that) to register it.

 

Registering a car is pretty straight forward, it takes like 1 hour to do it. If you do not want to be bothered with it, there are companies that do the paperwork for 20 EUR and they take 24 hours to have everything ready.

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Thanks Kreig. I dont mind registering it or doing any of the legwork in my town, it is more of me just wanting to go somewhere, test out a car, hand over some cash, and get back to my day. I dont want to be going back and fourth between towns doing paperwork (and my girlfriend who will be helping me out on the translating definitely doesn't!). i dont want to know the previous owner for anymore time than it takes for me to test out the car and hand over the cash.

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About insurance: modern insurance companies do not even bother anymore with the Versicherungsdoppelkarte. Once you get the insurance policy in order, the insurer will give you a number (which you can also give to the seller as proof), and forward this number to the Amt electronically (and should be waiting for you when you go register the vehicle).

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Maybe a sticky should be made of this thread for people buying used cars in Germany. Just two points I'd like some clarification please.

 

1) AU and HU - I understand one is the emmissions certificate but the other?

2) Can someone be so kind as to put a link to the Verkaufsvertrag that's supposed to be on mobile and auto24. I've ploughed through the two sites but, my German not being good enough, I can't find it. I found it on adac, I think, but I have to have a customer number, I think - can't do that without a German car :(

Thanks

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AU is the Abgasuntersuchung (emissions); HU is the Hauptuntersuchung (commonly known as "TÜV"). They're now both performed at the same time and you only get one sticker for both.

 

The Mustervertrag at mobile.de can be downloaded here (PDF).

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We found a car on the internet from a dealer several hours from here. We went out and chose ours from a mass of similar vehicles (because they sell used police cars and sell them in 20-50 car lots at a time). We went home and arranged to wire the money and had the car insured with the info we had been given. We wired the money and then picked up the car. As part of our negotiations (and yes, we negotiated a lower price), they did all the paperwork (registration, Green Umwelt thingie to drive in cities, registration in our name, and so on) and we paid the direct costs.

We felt much more secure doing so than buying fro m a private seller and the cost was that which we "theoretically" would have gotten in a private sale.As a sweetener, they threw in extra tires, a radio install (police cars don't have radios to listen to music!), and so on. We were very happy with the ease and they were also set up to do it faster- we were the ones who made it necessary to do two trips- they could have done it immediately.

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I just heard of a slight variation to Mr Nosey's procedure, which sounds like it might help skip the temporary plates step. If all is agreed, you pay the full amount to the seller and in return get all the paperwork, four items I believe, and the keys. You leave the car with the seller. Take all the paperwork and continue with the procedure explained by Mr Nosey except you go straight to the step of getting the real plates and permanent insurance.

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Yeah, you can do that, but it only makes sense if you're buying the car locally because you will need to get the permanent plates from your local Zulassungsstelle.

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