Buying or Selling a Car
Consumer Tip: Before you buy a used vehicle, check the title history. You are encouraged to ensure that the vehicle's seller has the title before paying for a used vehicle.
Buying a Car
South Carolina law requires that you register your newly purchased vehicle within 45 days of the purchase date.
If you purchased your vehicle through a dealer, the dealer will generally take care of the titling and the registration of the vehicle for you.
If you purchased a vehicle from an individual who holds the title for that vehicle, the following will be required to properly title and register that vehicle in South Carolina:
- Completed Title Application (SCDMV Form 400).
- Completed Statement of Vehicle Operation in South Carolina (SCDMV Form TI-006), if applicable - Required only if you do not have an SC Driver’s License or ID.
- First assignment completed on title: buyer’s name and address, lienholder information (if applicable), odometer reading, sales price, date of sale, seller’s signature, buyer’s signature. If assignment on title does not have section for sales price, a bill of sale must accompany paperwork.
- If requesting new plate, paid property tax receipt in new owner’s name.
- If transferring plate, current license plate number (plates cannot transfer from one owner to another).
- Title and registration fee.
- Infrastructure Maintenance Fee or Sales Tax, if applicable.
- Additional fees for Hybrid and Alternative Fuel vehicle.
You may visit an SCDMV branch office with the above documents to title and register your vehicle.
You may also mail (certified only) your documents and the appropriate payment, made out to the SCDMV, to the address below:
Titles and Registration
PO Box 1498
Blythewood, SC 29016-0024
Selling A Vehicle
If you hold the title to your vehicle and sell or transfer it to another person, you must sign the title over to the buyer and include all of the following on the back of your title:
- Odometer reading at the time of sale
- Purchase date
- Selling price
Notice of Vehicle Sold
When you sell the vehicle, you must notify the SCDMV. You must complete the Notice of Vehicle Sold (SCDMV Form 416) and drop it off at any branch office or mail it to the address below:
PO Box 1498
Blythewood, SC 29016-0036
Completing this form does not show a legal transfer of ownership. It is intended for the protection of the last registered owner until the actual transfer of ownership is completed by the person you sold the vehicle to.
License Plate Return
If you sell your vehicle and do not transfer the license plate to another vehicle, you must also surrender the plate.
If your license plate is expired, you do not need to surrender your license plate. Only active license plates can be surrendered.
If the person who bought the vehicle from you is making payments on it, you must complete Section F of the Title Application (SCDMV Form 400) that the buyer completes. You will be considered the lienholder for that vehicle. The title will be mailed to you.
Once the buyer pays you in full, you will sign off on the lien and the buyer will be able to obtain a clear title from a branch office.
The same information above applies when you're adding or removing the name of an owner.
Find out more about recording and releasing a lien.