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How To Buy A Used Car In Georgia

in Car Buying Tips
man outside car dealership selling car

Photo by Clayton Cardinalli on Unsplash

How to buy a used car in Georgia can sound like a daunting question, but that’s because there is a legal process that has to be followed, making it sound daunting. It’s not like selling or buying a bicycle for 50 bucks from your neighbor.

A bigger purchase like buying a car involves:

  • Legal paperwork
  • A change of registration through the government
  • Dealing with an insurance company
  • Occasionally dealing with a finical institution


The CoPilot app is the smartest way to buy a car. Built using the same technology as dealerships use, we’ll show you everything you want to know about each listing - like how long it’s been on the lot, or if there are similar vehicles at a better price nearby. 

Deciding What You Want and Where You Want to Purchase

There are two big decisions you want to have just about figured out before you go shopping.

  1. Almost all of us have a dream car, but it often doesn’t fit into our lifestyle for one reason or another. Maybe you can’t afford it, or perhaps it doesn’t fit your family goals, or maybe it doesn’t fit in your driveway. Whatever the reason, you need to have a good guideline before going shopping as to what used vehicle will best suit your daily routines and habits. 
  2. The second decision you need to make is, do you purchase from a private owner or a dealership? There are advantages and disadvantages either way you go, and we’ll talk about that a little more.

Purchasing From a Dealership

One advantage of purchasing from a dealership is you have a lot of options all in one place. The second advantage of purchasing from a dealership is if you don’t know how to buy a used car in Georiga, the dealership takes care of all that Department of Revenue (DOR) or Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) paperwork for you.

Your biggest concern will be whether you get a good deal, and what you sign for is something you want. You should never sign anything until you know you are getting the exact car you think you are signing for. Ensure that all the information about the vehicle is correct, that it’s been serviced correctly, and that any extras agreed upon are already installed or in the paper that you’re signing (that includes all warranty information). 

All dealerships should have a CarFax Report or an AutoCheck Report and the title to the previous owner handed and ready to show you. This will tell you all about the car: if the vehicle has been in an accident, flood, fire, how many original miles are on it, what the car was previously used for, and where was it located before it made it to the dealership. These reports will also outline all maintenance check-ups, major repair work reports, and the suggested value of the car.

When you have decided on a car and are ready and excited to get signing papers, you should receive a copy of everything you sign. If you purchased a loan through one of the dealer’s lenders, you should bring copies of that. You should also get all warranty copies, the final bill of sale, and everything and anything pertinent to the purchase of your new car.

If you have a license plate you’d like to use, you can bring it with you, and the dealer will take care of all the transferring details. If not, they will make sure they get one for you.


When it comes to buying a used car, you want to find the perfect intersection of savings and reliability. See how much you can save buying nearly new vs. new with CoPilot Compare. 

How to Buy a Used Car in Georgia From a Private Owner

When purchasing a vehicle from a private owner, you’ll want to visually check everything: under the hood, in the truck, under the car for rust, cargo space/s, and where ever else you would like. Make sure to do an excellent visual check on the inside: front seats, backseats, under seats, glove department, center console, and more.

There should be no reasons for a seller not only to deny you a thorough walk around but also a test drive. When you go on a test drive, you’re doing two things:

  1. You’re making sure the vehicle fits you right. Make sure you like the feel of the suspension, the ride height, visibility, and everything else you could think of that would make you believe you can drive comfortably in that vehicle every day.
  2. Next, during the test drive, you want to check everything. Do the radio, A/C, windows, wipers, brake fell, gauges, power seats, dome lights, etc. work? Unless something was disclosed to you by the seller before your visual check and test drive, everything should work and look right.

Now it’s time to ask for a CarFax or an AutoCheck report. You can do this before or after you test everything out. If they don’t have one, that’s okay because you easily find it online if the vehicle is newer than 1980. However, if the owner is cagy about this simple request, you should walk away. 

Documents and Procedure When Buying From a Private Owner

This is where knowing how to buy a used car in Georgia comes in handy. Never fork over any money for a vehicle, no matter how much you like it, until you see a title. Make sure to compare the VIN number on the title with the VIN on the car to be sure they both match.

If you’re sure you are going to buy the vehicle and the seller is ready to sell. Both the seller and yourself have to fill out the back of the title in the appropriate places; everything is labeled and self-explanatory. Next, you need a bill of sale (T-7 form): this can be downloaded from the internet. 


CoPilot doesn’t work with dealerships, and we don’t make a penny when a car is sold through our app. This means no ‘sponsored’ or ‘promoted’ posts - just the most accurate information on each vehicle. So how do we make money? Learn more about CoPilot and how we keep the lights on.

Visiting the DOR/DMV

First, you want to get insurance straightened around for the vehicle. Next, you have to visit the DOR/DMV to get the vehicle registered.

What do you need when you go visit?

● The vehicle title, completed both by the seller and the buyer in the proper places

● The bill of sale (T-7 form)

● A completed Motor Vehicle Title/Tag Application (form MV-1)

● Proof of insurance

● Proof of residency

● Form of payment

There is an $18 original title fee, $20 registration fee (for most vehicles), $20 license plate fee, and a sale tax fee based on the purchase of the car.

Get a curated list of the best used cars near you

The CoPilot car shopping app is the easiest way to buy a car. Tell us what you’re looking for and we’ll search the inventories of every dealership in your area to make you a personalized list of the best car listings in your area.

Only looking for newer models? CoPilot Compare is the search engine for nearly-new cars. Only see cars five years or newer with low mileage — CoPilot Compare is the best way to find off-lease, early trade-in, and CPO cars.

The best part? CoPilot is built using the same technology that dealerships use to buy and sell their inventories, so we have more info on each vehicle than competitors. CoPilot doesn’t work with dealerships, so there are no sponsored posts or other shady practices — just the most info on the best cars. Check out our About Us page to see how CoPilot works.