How do I complete a title transfer in West Virginia? West Virginia

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If you purchased the vehicle from a dealership, the dealership will handle both the vehicle registration and the titling process. This includes reassigning the Manufacturer’s Certificate or Statement of Origin, collecting all registration and title fees, and providing you with a temporary license plate until your permanent one arrives in the mail.

However, if you purchased a vehicle from a private party or otherwise took over ownership (such as in a gift or inheritance situation), you’ll head to your local WV DMV Regional Office to handle the title transfer yourself.

NOTE: Title transfers and vehicle registration usually take place at the same time. Be sure to search our West Virginia vehicle registration information or contact your local WV DMV Regional Office if you aren’t clear on how to register the vehicle.

Completing a West Virginia Title Transfer

A WV title transfer must take place within 60 days of changing vehicle ownership. To do so:

  1. Both the previous owner (the seller) and the new owner (the buyer) must complete all applicable sections, sign, and date the back of the title.
  2. If the vehicle is fewer than 10 years old, the seller must complete an odometer disclosure statement and the buyer must acknowledge that the recording is correct. It’s safest to include this information both on the back of the title (if there’s room) and on Form DMV-TM-1 – especially if the buyer plans to apply for a new title by mail.
  3. The seller and buyer must complete a bill of sale and have it notarized. You might find the DMV clerk won’t require the bill of sale if the seller and buyer show up together with the properly completed title, but it’s best to have one filled out (and copies made for each party’s records) – especially if the title transfer is taking place by mail. The WV DMV provides Form DMV-7-TR.
  4. The buyer should print and complete Form DMV-1-TR, the Application for a Certificate of Title for a Motor Vehicle.
  5. The buyer must then either head to the DMV with the paperwork and applicable fees (see below) or mail everything to:
Department of Transportation
Division of Motor Vehicles
P.O. Box 17710
Charleston, WV  25317

NOTE: In certain situations, you might need additional documents. Such situations include:

  • Gifting or family transfer, in which case you’ll need Form DMV-5-TR, the Affidavit of Transfer Without Consideration.
  • Paying off an auto loan and removing a lien, in which case you’ll need Form DMV-12-A-TR, the Release of Lien form.
  • Applying for a title for a leased vehicle, in which case you’ll need Form DMV-1-L, the Application for a Certificate of Title for a Leased Motor Vehicle.

Title Transfer Fees

In addition to registration fees (which usually only set you back around $30, unless you order special license plates), you must pay applicable title transfer fees. They are as follows:

  • $10 for the title.
  • 5% sales tax (based on purchase price; minimum taxable amount is $500).
  • $5 for any lien information.
  • $5.50 for any license transfer.

Purchase a Vehicle History Report

Unfortunately, titles don’t always tell the whole story when it comes to used cars. That’s why it’s important to purchase a vehicle history report (VHR) for each used vehicle you’re considering. No matter how much you trust the seller, the VHR will give you the entire vehicle history, which will help the buyer determine whether he’s getting a good deal and help make the buy car/sell car process a smooth one.

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