Buying and Selling FAQs in West Virginia

If you've checked out our Dealers & Auto Industry and Buying & Selling sections, as well as our special reports Guide to Buying a New Car, Guide to Buying a Used Car, and Guide to Selling Your Car, but still can't find what you're looking for, you've come to the right place!

We've compiled a list of a few of the most frequently asked questions for West Virginians looking to buy or sell a vehicle.

Is it really safer to buy a vehicle from a dealer than an individual?

You can get bad deals anywhere. To safeguard yourself, research the vehicle and the laws before you seal the deal.

For example, did you know that dealers are required by law to inform you of certain repairs made on a new vehicle? They're also supposed to give you information about salvage vehicles and lemons.

Check out Buying & Selling for more tips on making a smart purchase.

Do I need to notify the WV DMV when I sell my car?

Yes― for your own good.

Download, print, and complete a Sold Vehicle or Watercraft Notice (Form DMV-1-S) and take it to your Division of Motor Vehicles Regional Office after you sell the vehicle. This ensures the new owners can't drive the vehicle until they've registered it in their own names, and that the DMV knows you're no longer legally responsible for the vehicle.

What does it mean to purchase a car "as is"?

It's most common to purchase a car "as is" from an individual seller rather than a dealer, though it can happen with dealers.

"As is" is basically a more pleasant way of saying, "Once the car is yours, so are the problems." Of course, an "as is" car could be perfectly fine, too.

How much should I ask for my car?

There are several steps you can take to determine a selling price. Check out the Kelley Blue Book to find out your used car's value. Consider your car's condition and mileage, as well as any special features with which your car is equipped.

You may even want to call up your old high-school-buddy-turned-car-dealer to ask for his opinion, or ask reasonable friends what they'd be willing to pay.

Does the Lemon Law apply to a vehicle bought from an individual?

No. The Lemon Law can only protect you if the vehicle is new.

Should I tell my car insurance company that I've bought a new car, or sold my old one?

Yes! Otherwise, you'll either end up without coverage, or coverage for something you no longer own.

Contact your auto insurance agent with all vehicle changes to your policy to make sure you get―and keep―proper West Virginia car insurance.

Once I buy a vehicle, how much will it cost to title it?

It costs 6% of the price of the vehicle (or 6% of the low book value if you didn't pay at least half of the value of the car), $10 to record lien information, $15 for your title, and a minimum of $51.50 for your WV license plate.

Can I buy a vehicle in another country and bring it to America?

Yes, but you won't be able to immediately drive it home―unless it's coming from Canada.

If you haven't purchased the vehicle yet, you may want to make sure you purchase one that conforms to the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS). A sticker on the inside of the car door tells you whether or not the vehicle conforms.

If the vehicle doesn't conform, a Registered Importer at your re-entry port will contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to find out if it can be modified to conform. If it can, you may modify it in America.

Once the vehicle is modified to meet the FMVSS, you must post a Department of Transportation Conformance Bond.

As you can tell, bringing a car into America from another country can be a tricky process. Study the Vehicle Importation Regulations, and then contact an expert to help you at the NHTSA at (888) 327-4236.


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