When buying a car in Iowa, you must obtain certain required paperwork from the seller in order to register and title your vehicle. If you buy your car from a dealer, they will normally process the required paperwork on your behalf. However, if you buy the car from a private seller, you will need to visit the Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) to register and title the car in your name. Continue reading this article to get more information about the paperwork required when buying a car in Iowa.

Paperwork for Iowa Car Buyers

Immediately after purchasing a car, you must register and title it into your name in order to legally drive it. The single mandatory document that you must obtain from the seller is a vehicle title. This title should include:

  • The vehicle’s purchase price.
  • The vehicle’s odometer disclosure statement.
  • A damage disclosure statement.

Depending on the vehicle’s age and title status, you will also need other documents from the seller, such as:

  • A bill of sale.
  • Form 411077 (Odometer Disclosure Statement) if there is nowhere on the title to list the car’s mileage.
  • Form 411108 (Damage Disclosure Statement) if there is no damage disclosure section on the title.

The seller should also tell you:

  • The registration expiration date.
  • The last county in which the car was registered.

Iowa Title Transfers

The seller must sign over the title to your name at the time of vehicle purchase. You and the seller must sign and date the title certificate. Normally, a vehicle title should include:

  • The purchase price.
  • Disclosure of damages.
  • The odometer reading.

NOTE: If there are no spaces on the vehicle title, the seller must provide you other additional documents. A title is an important document that can serve as the proof of vehicle ownership. If the title is missing or damaged, ask the seller to apply for a duplicate copy before purchasing the car. You will then need to title and register the car in your name with the county treasurer office.

Iowa Vehicle Registration

Vehicle registration in Iowa is fairly simple and quick. It will only take a couple of days to do at your local county treasurer’s office. All you need to do is to submit the required forms and fees and wait for the registration papers.

Registration Deadlines

You must register your vehicle within 30 days from the date of vehicle purchase.

Applying for Registration

To apply for vehicle registration, visit the nearest Iowa county treasurer’s office with the following papers:

  • The vehicle title, with all required information accompanied by supporting documentation.
  • A completed Form 411007 (Application of Title and/or Registration for a Vehicle).
  • The registration and title fees.

Once all of these documents and the required fees are submitted, you will be issued with new license plate for your newly bought car.

Vehicle History Report

A Vehicle History Report is not needed when registering or titling the car. However, this report is needed to verify and confirm the status and history of the car you are purchasing. By requesting a vehicle history report, you will not only avoid car problems, but also avoid a number of vehicle frauds. So, ensure you have this document at hand when negotiating with the seller.

Iowa Lemon Law

Iowa has a lemon law that covers vehicles from the manufacturer that come with defects. The vehicles covered by this law include:

  • Those having fewer than 24,000 miles.
  • Those that are younger than 2 years old.
  • Those that are under the manufacturer’s warranty.

If your newly bought vehicle meets the above requirements, you should report the problem to the manufacturer. If the manufacturer fails to comply with the matter, you can then request arbitration.