Buying a vehicle is a major investment that you can make. Not only does it require huge chunks of money from your bank, but also it requires a bit of research.

Dealing with a dealer

Although purchasing a vehicle from a dealer is a bit more expensive than when buying from a private party, doing a business with a dealer is the easiest and safest. The dealer can handle all the paperwork needed for car registration and titling on your behalf. They also collect all applicable registration and titling fees and taxes. Before you take a trip to the dealership of your choice, take your time to do some research on the type of vehicle you want and how much you can afford for that vehicle. There are many car sellers out there who claim to offer ‘best deals,’ but they are simply out to fraud you. Beware of such sellers. If the vehicle has a Lemon Law return, salvage status or a major repair, the dealer is required to inform you about it. It is against the law if they fail to inform you about that status. To transfer the ownership or apply for a new title for a leased vehicle, use Form DMV-1L (Application for Certificate of Title for Leased Motor Vehicle).

Dealing with Individuals

Buying a vehicle from a private seller can help you save money. Also, selling a vehicle to a private buyer can help you make extra cash without going to a dealership. Whether you are selling or buying a vehicle, these are some few forms you will need to obtain:

  • Bill of Sale (Form DMV-7-TR).
  • Odometer Certification (Form DMV-TM-1).
  • Form DMV-1-TR (Application for Certificate of Title for Motor Vehicle).

For more online forms, visit the West Virginia Applications and Forms page.

Buying from an Individual

If you are purchasing a vehicle from a private party, you must do some research before completing your purchase. Order a vehicle history report for the vehicle you are purchasing. This report contains detailed information about the vehicle’s accident history, damage and repair history, vehicle description and odometer reading. You can also check out the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) to check whether the vehicle you intend to purchase has been involved in a serious accident or damage. This report will also help you determine whether the vehicle has a salvage certificate. Ask several questions about the car if you have suspicions. It is also wise to hire a certified mechanic to inspect the vehicle before purchase.

Selling to a private party

If you’re selling a vehicle to a private seller, you may also want to protect yourself against any claim or liability that may arise. You will need to complete and submit Form DMV-1-S (Sold Vehicle or Watercraft Notice) after selling your vehicle. Upon receiving this form, the West Virginia DMV will remove your registration details from their records and you are no longer held responsible for that vehicle. The new owner will need to register that vehicle in his or her name in order to drive it legally in West Virginia.

Buying or Selling Without Paperwork

When selling or buying a vehicle, the title must exchange hands. If you are a buyer, don’t purchase a vehicle without a title. If the title is missing, ask the seller to apply for a duplicate copy and sign it over to you. Without this vital document, you won’t be able to transfer ownership into your name. Registration papers are not required when registering and titling the vehicle. However, you may need this document when verifying the vehicle tags.