When purchasing a car in West Virginia, you must obtain paperwork from the seller to register and title the car in your name. If you buy the car from a vehicle dealer, they will handle the paperwork on your behalf. If you buy it from a private seller, you will be responsible for handling all the required paperwork. Be sure to obtain a notarized bill of sale from the seller. You will also need to take the vehicle for inspection and obtain car insurance. Once you get all these documents, you will now proceed to registering and titling the car in your name with the West Virginia Department of Transportation (WVDOT).

Paperwork for West Virginia Car Buyers

As a buyer, you need to obtain certain documents from the seller at the time of vehicle purchase. Make sure you obtain the following from the seller:

  • The vehicle title, which must include your signature, seller’s signature and odometer reading if the vehicle is less than 10 years old.
  • A notarized Bill of Sale (Form DMV-7-TR).
  • A valid vehicle inspection sticker. If the car you have purchased does not have a valid sticker, you have 10 days from the date of purchase to have it inspected.
  • Car insurance. You must show proof of car insurance at the time of registration.

Buying from a Car Dealer

If you are buying a car from a dealer, they will handle all the required paperwork with the West Virginia Department of Transportation (WVDOT). They will also collect all applicable titling and registration fees and taxes for you. To apply for a title for a leased vehicle or transfer a title of a leased vehicle to your name, you will be required to complete and submit Form DMV-1L (Application for Certificate of Title for Leased Motor Vehicle).

Buying Without a Vehicle Title

The West Virginia Department of Transportation warns vehicle buyers from buying vehicles without a title. You must obtain the previous title of the vehicle you are purchasing; without which you will not be able to register or title the car in your name. If the title is missing, ask the seller to apply for a duplicate copy for you.

Title and Register a Car in West Virginia

To register and title the car in your name at your local West Virginia Department of Transportation, you will need:

  • The vehicle title, which must include your signature, seller’s signature and odometer reading if the vehicle is less than 10 years old.
  • A notarized Bill of Sale.
  • A completed Form DMV-1-TR (Application for Certificate of Title for a Motor Vehicle).
  • Completed Form WV-4A (Owner's Statement of Insurance).
  • Proof of passing vehicle inspection.
  • Your West Virginia driver’s license.
  • Payment of applicable fees and taxes.

Required fees and taxes

  • $10 title fee.
  • $30 registration fee.
  • Sales tax which is usually 5% of the purchase price or $25 if the vehicle’s purchase price was $500 or less.

Once you submit all the required paperwork and pay the applicable fees and taxes, you will be issued with a new license plate. In West Virginia, you cannot transfer old license plates to the new car.

Vehicle History Reports

A vehicle history report is not needed when registering or titling your newly purchased car. However, this report is required when purchasing your desired vehicle. The report provides detailed information about the car you are purchasing, such as accident history, odometer reading, repair history and damage history. Ordering this report can help you avoid misleading buyers who may want to fraud you.

West Virginia Lemon Law

West Virginia has a lemon law that covers vehicles that are used for private transportation only. The vehicle must have a defect that impairs the vehicle’s market value or use. If you purchase a personal car and realize later that it has defects that can be repaired, contact the manufacturer to refund your money or replace the vehicle with a new one.