Car Buying and Selling Regulations in Iowa

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If you want to own or sell a vehicle in Iowa, you must go through the legal processes. Whether you are buying a new or used vehicle, you will need to go through some important processes and handle some paperwork for vehicle registration and titling.

How to Buy a Vehicle

When you purchase a vehicle from a licensed dealer, the dealer normally handles all the required paperwork for vehicle registration and titling on your behalf. If you have license plates from a previous vehicle that you sold, you can put those plates on your new vehicle that you have purchased from the dealer. If you have never owned a vehicle before, the dealer may give you the “Registration applied for” card to use it on your vehicle until your new license plates are processed. However, when you purchase a vehicle from a private party, you will need to handle the paperwork yourself. You need to obtain a completed Form 411108 (Damage Disclosure Statement), Form 411077 (Odometer Disclosure Statement) and a bill of sale from the seller. You will also need to obtain the title from the seller signed over to your name. After you purchase a vehicle, you have to register it within 30 days from the purchase date. You will need to submit the above documents to the DMV. Don’t worry if you fall a victim of a defective vehicle. The state of Iowa has a lemon law that protects buyers from defective vehicles. If you suspect that you have purchased a lemon, you can request the manufacturer to give you a replacement vehicle or your refund.

How to Sell a Vehicle

You cannot sell your vehicle if you don’t have a title. It is against the law to do so. If your title is lost, damaged or missing; you can apply for a duplicate title and sign it over to the buyer. To do so, you need to complete and submit Form 411033 (Application for Replacement Certificate of Title to a Motor Vehicle) to your nearest county treasurer office where your title was first issued. You also need to pay a duplicate title of $25. Registration papers are not needed in order to complete a sale. The buyer doesn’t need registration papers to register and title the vehicle in his name. If you are selling your vehicle to a registered dealer, the dealer will handle the process of title transfer. If you are selling it to a private buyer, you must provide them with the following:

  • A Bill of Sale.
  • Odometer Disclosure Statement (Form 411077).
  • The date the license plates expire.
  • A certificate of title signed over to the buyer.
  • A Damage Disclosure Statement (Form 411108).

Next, you need to remove your license plates from the vehicle. You can use the license plates on another vehicle that you may purchase within 30 days. If within 30 days you don’t have another vehicle to transfer the license plates to, you must return them to the county treasurer’s office. For more information, contact the Iowa DMV information center by phone at (800) 532-1121.