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How to Sell a Car in Iowa

Hands Holding Car and Money


Do you have a vehicle to sell in the Des Moines area? If you’ve never sold a vehicle before, you might be wondering about the process as well as any Iowa laws on selling used cars. Fortunately, as long as you have a basic idea of what to expect and the necessary paperwork, the process is generally straightforward, whether you’re selling a new or used car. The finance team at Acura of Johnston has put together a guide outlining how to sell a car in Iowa below. 

Selling a Car in Iowa: The Process

  1. Remove your license plates. If you buy another vehicle within 30 days, you can put the plates on your new vehicle. If not, be sure to return the plates to your county treasurer. This is one of the Iowa laws on selling used cars that you should keep in mind, as it will make the transition smoother if you do want to use the same plates on your next car. 
  2. Bring your vehicle to the buyer – either a dealership or a private buyer – along with the necessary paperwork. You can find a list of the documents to bring with you below.
  3. Fill out and file the Notice of Sale form (you can find this on the Iowa Department of Transportation’s website) with the county treasurer.
  4. If you don’t purchase a replacement vehicle, you can get a refund on unused registration fees, if the fees equal $10 or more. Be sure to file a claim for a refund within six months of your vehicle being sold according to the Iowa laws on selling used cars.
  5. Fill out a document stating how many miles are on your vehicle’s odometer, and give the completed statement to the buyer. 
  6. Fill out a damage disclosure statement, unless the vehicle you’re selling is more than seven years old or classified as a motorcycle, motorized bicycle, or motor truck. 

Selling a Car in Iowa: Necessary Paperwork

There are a few key forms you’ll need to obtain and fill out during the process of selling a car in Iowa. These can all be downloaded through the Iowa Department of Transportation’s website. Be aware that this isn’t an exhaustive list and the dealership or private buyer may require more documents or statements. Conversely, depending on your selling situation, you might not have to obtain all of these documents. 

  • Application for Certification of Title and/or Registration
  • Claim for Refund
  • Junking Certificate
  • Odometer Disclosure Statement
  • Plate Cancellation Form
  • Notice of Sale and Delivery of Title
  • Damage Disclosure Statement

Selling a Car in Iowa: The Dealership Advantage

While you’re free to sell to whoever you choose in the Waterloo area, there are certain advantages to selling via a licensed dealership like Acura of Johnston. Licensed dealerships have proven reputations that make them safer bets than unvetted private buyers, and we can help you through every step of the paperwork process. When selling your car to a dealership, you also have the option of trading in your vehicle to put the money towards a new car. 

Sell Your Car to Acura of Johnston!

Now that you know how to sell a car in Iowa, feel free to stop by our Cedar Rapids-area finance office to talk to an expert in person! You can also contact our office with any questions about buying or selling with Acura of Johnston. If you’re interested in buying your next vehicle with us, be sure to check out our inventory of new and pre-owned cars!

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