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Checklist Before Signing Final Paperwork

After negotiating the price of your vehicle, the final step is signing all the paperwork - oh what fun!

Assuming you followed my car negotiating guide, you should have a clear idea of the purchase price for the vehicle and the "out the door" price which includes all fees and taxes.

The first document you'll need to sign is the Buyer's Order, also known as the Purchase & Sale Agreement or Bill of Sale. This document should include:

  • Name and address of the dealership and the purchaser.
  • Description of the vehicle sold including Make, Model Year, VIN number, and Mileage
  • Date of sale or trade
  • Amount credited for the vehicle you traded in (if any)
  • Amount for: Sale and Use Tax, Title Fee, Uninsured Motor Vehicle Fee, Registration Fee and Any other fee required by law
  • Sale price of the vehicle
  • Amount of any cash deposit made by the buyer
  • Net balance due at settlement
  • Amount of processing fee charged, if any

It's very important that you check all of this information carefully and make sure all the numbers match what you negotiated.

Some dealers have been known to switch vehicles during the paperwork in order to clear out inventory that's been sitting on the lot too long, or to put you into a vehicle with missing options. Make sure the VIN number matches the one that you inspected.

Do not sign the contract if you have any doubt about purchasing the vehicle. Although it's possible to back out of the agreement after signing, you don't want to take the chance and make it much harder than it needs to be.

If you're financing through the dealer, you'll need to sign some more paperwork including disclosure agreements, title paperwork, odometer statements and waivers.

There is no legal recourse if you change your mind after signing the paperwork and drive the car off the lot, so take your time and read through everything carefully and make sure all the numbers match what you agreed to.

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About The Author

Gregg Fidan Gregg Fidan is the founder of RealCarTips. After being ripped off on his first car purchase, he devoted several years to figuring out the best ways to avoid scams and negotiate the best car deals. He has written hundreds of articles on the subject of car buying and taught thousands of car shoppers how to get the best deals.
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