If you are based in Quebec but looking to buy a car from a private seller who is based outside Quebec then you will need to do a bit more paperwork compared to buying a car from a private seller who is based in Quebec.
A private seller refers to an individual who is looking to sell their car and NOT a dealership. Usually dealerships located outside Quebec can still handle issues related to buying out-of-province cars.
Before making the purchase
- Check how much does the used car with similar mileage cost at a dealership by going on Autotrader.ca or other used car portals.
- Do a visual inspection – It is recommended to do an inspection during daytime as any damage on the exterior of the car is going to be more noticeable. Look under the hood of the car as well!
- Test drive the car – You should always test drive the car before buying it. Try turning the car engine on/off multiple times, do the brakes work, does everything seem to work properly.
- Request CARFAX report and review the car’s maintenance history
- Verify car ownership by reviewing the owner’s registration document
- Make an offer based on the assessed condition of the car
Does the car have a lien on it?
If the car was purchased using a loan, it might have lien on it through the financial institute/bank. You will need to ask for proof from the seller that the certifies that the lien has been paid off.
Save your spot with a refundable deposit
It can take some time to get the funding and other documentation before you can register the car under your name.
Ask for safety inspection to be done
The seller will need to do a safety inspection done in their province before they can complete the sale. The safety inspection can show if there are any important issues with the car that may show up.
Re-assess your offer based on the Seller’s Safety Inspection
If there are any issues like brakes need replacement that show up which you believed were not aware of, you might ask for a discount from the seller since it’s going to cost you a bit of money to get them replaced.
How to get funding for a used car?
If you have enough cash and can pay for the car in full that can be one option to consider. However, if the amount is high, you might want to go for loan on the used car. You can get a quote from your bank and see if that is the way you want to go.
Documents you are going to be need to complete your purchase
- Registration certificate from seller
- Bill of sale form – Should include seller and buyer’s information, and the vehicle – make, model, year, VIN, odometer reading
- Copy of seller’s driver license/photo ID
- Quebec Power of Attorney – This document is required if the seller is not going to be with you during registration of the car in Quebec.
- Letter certifying lien has been paid off (if car was bought using loan)
You can ask the seller to get a safety inspection done for Quebec as well however it’s responsibility of the buyer to provide one at Quebec’s Vehicle registration office.
Additional Documents you are going to need for vehicle registration
- Quebec Safety Inspection Certificate
- Car Insurance
- Buyer’s Provincial driving license
- Buyer’s Proof of address
Get your car registered as soon as possible
Depending on the seller’s province; and Quebec – the registration needs to be completed with a certain period otherwise might be considered expired.
I highly recommend that you get the registration same-day or following day of your purchase it will take about 15 minutes!
What if you don’t have Quebec Safety Inspection Certificate
You will be issued a temporary registration and will be given 3 days that you can drive for essential stuff till you get the Quebec Safety Inspection Certificate for the vehicle. It is highly recommended that you get it done before you are headed to the registration office.
What if the buyer has an out-of-province driving license?
If you have an out-of-province license, you can still make your purchase. You wouldn’t run into any issues if you were lets say having an Ontario Driving License and trying to register the car.
Make sure to take proof of address (Quebec) with you.
Also, You can get it swapped for a Quebec Driving License at the office.
Seller takes their license plate with them
The car’s license plate doesn’t come with the car. You have to get your license plate from the Quebec’s Vehicle Authority (SAAQ). It can be tricky driving without plates, and there are two solutions to that –
- You can ask the seller to drive the car to SAAQ for registration and then take off plates OR
- You can ask the seller to let you have the plates till the registration is transferred (as technically the car is still registered under the previous owner’s name). Furthermore, you can then take the plates off after registration and return them to the seller.
Quebec Tax and Registration Costs
You will need to pay tax for the purchase of the car as well as registration costs. It would be good to have around 15% of the car’s purchase price in the bank to pay for it.
Making payments at SAAQ
Take multiple cheques with you. The office you are headed to might accept debit card/cash payments only. You will run into trouble trying to pay with a credit card.
After vehicle registration
- Make a copy of the registration and keep the original in the car’s glove box.
- Put the new Quebec License plate on your car!