When you have found the right car, and you have inspected and test-driven the vehicle, there is almost nothing left standing in the way of completing the deal. By the way: you can of course try to negotiate and bargain down the price of cars offered online!
What you need now is a comprehensive and correct bill of sale (sales contract). Ask the seller to give you all required documents. In Germany, the latest mandatory vehicle inspection and exhaust emissions test certificates and the service history booklet document regular maintenance and the technical conditions of the vehicle. Also, the service history booklet will help confirm the actual mileage of the car.
Ask the seller whether the vehicle has been damaged: the seller is required to disclose all damage he or she is aware of – this includes repaired minor accident damage.
If the vehicle is handed over only after the contract was signed, you should both record the time of delivery and any expensive equipment on the contract. Make sure that you are handed all documents (see below).
If required, use a model contract such as those usually provided on online market sites or by ADAC for ADAC members.
When closing the sale, the following documents are required in Germany:
- Part I Registration Certificate (or, if you temporarily cancelled your vehicle registration before 1 October 2005, the cancellation certificate)
- Part II Registration Certificate (ownership certificate)
- For older vehicles the old-style documents or the cancellation certificate may be required**
- Latest mandatory vehicle test and exhaust emission test certificates for vehicles which are older than three years
- Identity card or passport of the vehicle keeper; the data should match the data in the Part II Registration Certificate (ownership certificate)
- Power of attorney of the vehicle owner/keeper if not identical with the seller
**Please note that the German vehicle registration documents were amended with effect from 1 October 2005. The “Fahrzeugschein” (registration certificate) was replaced by “Zulassungsbescheinigung Teil I” and the “Fahrzeugbrief” (ownership certificate) was replaced by “Zulassungsbescheinigung Teil II” (now: Part I Registration Certificate and Part II Registration Certificate). The old-style documents will remain valid until the registration is transferred.
Whether your new car will be covered by warranty depends on who is the seller. Private sellers can exclude the legal warranty, while dealers are obliged to honour the legal warranty which in Germany is 1 year minimum.