Selling to an Individual

Vehicle Sale Procedure
Before transferring possession of your vehicle, remove and keep your license plates.  You may be entitled to a refund of the unused portion of registration fees.

If you are purchasing another vehicle within six months, and wish to receive credit toward the registration fees, fill out the bottom of your registration receipt for the vehicle you sold and submit it with the title and application for your replacement vehicle.

If you are not replacing the vehicle and wish to receive a refund, please send your Iowa plates back to the County Treasurer’s office where you last registered your vehicle, within six months, along with a completed Claim for Refund form.  Credit of less than $10.00 will not be refunded.

Title Paperwork
After removing your license plates, give the buyer the following:

  1. The original title with the "Assignment of Title" completed by the seller and buyer.  In Iowa, this is located on the back of the title.  Read carefully before completing the assignment of title. Alterations or erasures will void the title.  The title must be transferred within thirty days from the date of sale to avoid penalty.
    • The name and signature of the seller must be the same as it appears on the front of the title.
    • If the vehicle has an Iowa title, and two owners are listed with the word "AND" to the right of their names, both owners must sign the back of the title.
    • If the vehicle has an Iowa title, and the word "OR" appears to the right of their names, either owner can sign as seller.
    • Each state has different signature requirements based upon the conjunction between names.  Call our office (712) 737-2222 if the vehicle has an out of state title.
  2. Bill of Sale containing: vehicle’s year, make, model and VIN, date of sale, purchase price, seller’s name and signature and purchaser’s name.
  3. Please contact our office (712) 737-2222 if any of the following situations apply: the vehicle was titled in a trust name, the seller is deceased, someone is signing as power of attorney for the seller, alterations have been made to the title or any other unusual circumstances.
  4. If the vehicle is currently registered in Iowa, the buyer can operate the vehicle for thirty days without license plates if they carry one of the following in the vehicle:
    • Bill of Sale with sufficient detail;
    • Vehicle title with the assignment of the title completed;
    • Photocopy of both sides of the completed title


* Small Trailers*
Trailers weighing less than 2,000 pounds empty are not issued a title when they are registered in Iowa.  On the registration, if it says “Small Regular Trailer” the registration is your ownership document.  To sell a small regular trailer, you must sign the bottom of the registration where it says “Sellers Signature”, date it and give the registration to the buyer.  Take your plates off and return them to the County Treasurer’s office where the trailer was last registered.

This is general information only.  Nothing is guaranteed until we see all completed, original documents in our office.  Transfers cannot be completed by mail.