Paperwork When Buying a Car in Iowa
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When you buy a vehicle through a licensed dealership, the dealer will usually complete the registration and title paperwork for you and send it in. If you have traded in a previous vehicle, you can put those license plates on your new car or truck. If you have never owned a motor vehicle in Iowa, the dealer will probably give you a "Registration applied for" card to use until your metal plates arrive.
When you buy a vehicle from a private individual, the seller should provide an Odometer Disclosure Statement, a Damage Disclosure Statement, and an estimate of fair market value. Be sure to get a Bill of Sale. The seller will transfer the title by signing over his title to you.
After your purchase, you'll have 30 days to register your vehicle. You'll need to submit the above documentation when you do so.
Though not required, a Bill of Sale is still an important document to own. It serves as your proof of ownership in a pre-title kind of way. For convenience purposes, you can download a copy of this form from our Bill of Sale page.
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