Iowa Motor Vehicle Bill of Sale Form


An Iowa motor vehicle bill of sale form is required to transfer possession of a car and register it with the state. If the seller does not have a title or cannot present it, the transferee can use the document to prove ownership. It requires the vehicle identification number (VIN) and the automobile’s year, make, model, selling price, and date of the purchase. The buyer and seller must enter their name, mailing address, daytime phone number, and the signing date.

  • Statutes: § 321
  • Signing Requirements: The form requires the buyer and seller to sign.

What is an Iowa Car Bill of Sale?

An Iowa car bill of sale establishes the final sales price of a vehicle transaction and offers information about the deal. The buyer and seller must complete the form in ink; otherwise, the state considers it invalid. Owners who gift the car to another person must include the transaction details in the document.

As soon as the involved parties sign, neither person can make edits or alter the form. If the title requires changes, the individuals may need to obtain a signature from a notary public. The state also requires notarization under specific circumstances or when an accompanying document requires it.

What are the Buyer’s Tasks?

First, buyers must choose a car that best accommodates their lifestyle. Then, they need to find a dealer or seller with the vehicle. The potential buyer often views the automobile in person before taking action. The individual should:

  1. Assessment. The buyer should check the VIN on the title and vehicle to make sure it matches. They should also read the mileage on the car and compare it to the number on the paperwork. If they feel the car needs a professional evaluation, they can have a mechanic look at it before purchasing.
  2. Seller. The person potentially purchasing the vehicle should make sure the seller is not a scammer. They should watch out for red flags, such as odd requests, lower-than-expected pricing, or lack of essential paperwork.
  3. Bill of sale. Complete the bill of sale with the buyer and sign it to officialize the deal.
  4. Compensate seller. Give the seller the discussed amount using the listed payment method.
  5. Obtain title and paperwork. The purchaser should collect the signed title with the damage and odometer disclosure statement. If not on the title, the seller must provide these documents separately, along with other necessary forms.

What are the Seller’s Tasks?

The seller must complete the following steps when transferring vehicle ownership to a buyer.

  1. Remove license plates. The seller can submit the license plates to the county treasurer by completing a “Plate Cancellation (Form 411122). They can also transfer them to another vehicle purchased within thirty (30) days of the sale.
  2. Odometer disclosure statement. Iowa vehicle titles generally have a section for providing the odometer reading. However, if the title does not have it, the seller can fill out a separate document (Form 411077).
  3. Damage disclosure statement. Car titles usually have an area for listing damages. If it does not, the previous owner can complete another document (Form 411008).
  4. Title. The merchant must sign the backside of the title and include the date of the sale, plus the buyer’s printed name and address. They must also tell the buyer the county where they registered the car and the registration’s expiration date.
  5. Deliver title or junking certificate. Vehicles sold to out-of-state buyers or for junk require a title or junking certificate (Form 411123).
  6. Retain proof of sale. Collect a receipt from the buyer stating the seller delivered the car and title to them. Make a copy of the back of the title, which shows the assignment to the buyer.
  7. File notice. To eliminate burdens (i.e., accident reports, fines, etc.) from accruing on their record, the seller must send the county treasurer a “Notice of Sale of Vehicle and Delivery of Title” (Form 411107). This form proves that the seller gave the buyer responsibility and rights for the vehicle after signing off on it.
  8. Refund claim. The person selling the car must claim unused registration fees if they sold or junked the vehicle and the credit never went through. In addition, the seller can claim a credit of $10 or more on a traded car. They must send the completed “Claim for Refund” in this case (Form 411047).

How to Register a Car in Iowa (4 Steps)

Established and incoming residents have thirty (30) days to register and title their vehicle after purchasing or moving to the state. County treasurer offices handle registrations and titling, and therefore, the individual must contact their nearest location for an appointment. Individuals who move to a new in-state county must inform the county treasurer within ten (10) days to transfer the information.

Step 1 – Driver’s License

Individuals must have their Iowa driver’s license before registering and titling their vehicle. People moving from another state to Iowa have thirty (30) days to transfer their out-of-state license.

If the license has not expired (or suspended/revoked), the state requires proof of identity, residency, and a social security number. The applicant must also take a vision test. Expired licenses require the new resident to pass Iowa’s written and driving exams. Driver’s license appointments occur with the county treasurer.

Step 2 – Insurance

Per § 321A.21, drivers must have an insurance policy covering them in an accident. The coverage needs to include $20,000 for the bodily injury or death of one (1) person and $40,000 for two (2) or more persons. In addition, the policy must cover $15,000 for property damage per incident.

Step 3 – Register

Upon registering, the new resident must give up their current ownership document (i.e., a certificate of title or bill of sale) and submit a completed Iowa certificate of title and/or registration application. If approved, the office replaces the out-of-state title and registration with in-state versions.

Incorrect titles require the individual to fill out and send an affidavit of correction (Form 411219). An affidavit of non-use exempts cars from registration if the owner has not driven them on public roadways for three (3) consecutive years.

Other potential documents include a damage disclosure statement (Form 411008), listing damages to vehicles seven (7) years or newer. In addition, a motor vehicle power of attorney (Form 411021) allows an assigned representative to take care of car-related matters for the principal.

Bring the Following:

Step 4 – Renew

Iowa car registrations last for one (1) year. The state determines the registration’s start and end date based on the owner’s birthday month. Furthermore, registrations begin on the first day of the month following the individual’s birthday. Similarly, they end on the last day of their birthday month (§ 321.28).

For example, an applicant celebrates their birthday on June 15, 2022. Therefore, their car registration ends on June 30, 2022. It begins again on July 1, 2022, and expires on June 30, 2023.

Renewals must occur through the county treasurer’s office or online. Individuals can renew up to one (1) month before expiration and one (1) month after. If they miss the thirty (30) day deadline, the county office penalizes the resident with additional fees.