State Regulations in West Virginia
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Buying a vehicle is a major purchase, whether you're buying from a dealer or an individual, new or used. Not only does it usually take a big chunk of change out of your pocket, but it's also the catapult that's going to get you from Point A to Point B (those two very important points usually being home and work, and vice versa).
Although it can often be more expensive, doing business with a dealer is sometimes the safest, and easiest, way to go. Whether you're buying, selling, or trading, the dealer can handle all procedures and paperwork for you, as well as collect all applicable registration and title fees.
Before you visit the dealership, take some time to decide what kind of vehicle you're interested in, whether you want to trade or buy, and how much money you're willing to spend. Too many times buyers fall victim to what seem like "good deals" simply because they just wanted to just "look around" on their way home from work. Enter with a plan.
Note that dealers are required by law to inform you of any salvaged status vehicles, Lemon Law returns, and any major repairs made on a new vehicle. If you want to make sure the vehicle you're considering purchasing doesn't fall into any of these categories―ask!
To title a leased vehicle, or to transfer the ownership if you buy your leased vehicle, use the Application for Certificate of Title for Leased Motor Vehicle(Form DMV-1L).
Buying a vehicle from an individual can help you save money, and selling a vehicle to an individual allows you to make a little extra cash without having to trade in or go to a dealership.
Whether you're buying or selling, these are just a few of the forms you'll need to obtain:
- Odometer Certification (Form DMV-TM-1).
- Bill of Sale (Form DMV-7-TR).
- Application for Certificate of Title for Motor Vehicle (Form DMV-1-TR).
For more online forms, visit Applications and Forms.
Buying from an Individual
If you're buying a vehicle from an individual, you'll probably want to do some research. A Request for Vehicle Information will help you get started, as will our Vehicle History Reports section. You may also want to check out the National Insurance Crime Bureau to find out if the vehicle you wish to purchase has been seriously damaged by flooding, as many in WV have.
Make sure that the individual notifies you of any salvage or cosmetic total loss titles, as well. Do a thorough inspection of the vehicle, and ask about salvage or cosmetic total loss titles if you have suspicions.
Some sellers will suggest that you have the vehicle professionally inspected. Take advantage of this, and if your seller doesn't offer an inspection, suggest one yourself.
Selling to an Individual
If you're selling a vehicle to another individual, you might also want to protect yourself by completing and submitting a Sold Vehicle or Watercraft Notice (Form DMV-1-S) after the date the vehicle or watercraft is sold. By doing so, the DMV has a record that the vehicle has been sold and you are no longer legally responsible. Because your registration information will be removed, the new owner won't be able to drive the vehicle legally until he or she registers and titles it in his or her name.
For more details on how to title and register your vehicle, visit our Registration and Titling section.
Buying or Selling Without Paperwork
The DMV warns against buying a vehicle if the seller can't produce the title. Without the previous title, you won't be able to get a new title in your name and register the car. The registration information is handy to get from the seller, too, although you don't need the registration to complete a sale or title and register the vehicle in your name afterward.