Title Transfers

How to Transfer a Title After Selling a Vehicle in Iowa

How to Complete a Title Transfer When Buying a Vehicle from a Private Seller in Iowa

Bill of Sale is Required

  • A Bill of Sale (PDF) signed by the seller/transferor is required for all title transfers even if the transfer is a gift.
  • A Buyer/Transferee has 30 days to present the properly assigned title to the County Treasurer so that a title can be issued in the Buyer/Transferee name. Penalties will apply after 30 days.
  • A Buyer/Transferee can drive the vehicle for 30 days without plates, as long as the vehicle was currently licensed by the Seller/Transferor. The properly assigned title and proof of insurance must be available in the vehicle in case the Buyer/Transferee is stopped by law enforcement.
  • All documents must be completed in ink, preferably blue or black. Payment with all original documentation can be mailed to the Treasurer's Office or placed in our drop box located at the front of the Linn County Public Service Center. The mailing address is 935 2nd St. SW, Cedar Rapids, IA 52404. 

Follow the Instructions Below to Complete Your Title Transfer if You:

  • Purchased or are transferring a new or used vehicle (car, truck, SUV, motorhome, motorcycle)
  • Purchased or are transferring a new or used trailer (utility, cargo, travel trailer, mobile home)
  • Recently moved into the State of Iowa

This process is NOT for transfers of boats, dirt bikes, snowmobiles, ATVs, or OHVs. Those are completed with the Recorder’s Office.

Seller/Transferor Responsibility

  • Remove the plates from the vehicle and return them to the County Treasurer with a Claim for Refund form if not obtaining a replacement vehicle. If there is at least $10 credit remaining on the registration, the County Treasurer will process the request electronically and the refund check will come from the Iowa DOT. Regardless of refund status, plates are required by law to be surrendered in order to remove them from your motor vehicle record. Plates can be deposited in the drop box outside the Linn County Public Service Center.
  • Provide a properly completed and signed Bill of Sale (PDF) to the Buyer/Transferee.
  • Complete the Assignment of Title on the back of the Iowa Title  and deliver to the Buyer/Transferee.
    • Title Assignment: Buyer/Transferee name and address on the assignment line. Up to three names may be listed as owners on a title.
    • Date of Sale: The purchase date
    • Odometer Disclosure: If the vehicle is a 2011 or newer, complete the odometer reading (no tenths) and mark the appropriate odometer legend box. Only one Seller/Transferor is required to hand print as indicated under Signature of Seller.
    • Damage Disclosure: If the vehicle is seven years old or newer, complete the two damage disclosure questions on the back of the Iowa title.
    • Signature of Seller: If jointly owned with "AND" between names, all Sellers/Transferors must sign and print their name. If jointly owned with "OR" between the names, only one Seller/Transferor needs to sign and print their name. 

Buyer/Transferee Responsibility

  • Signature of Buyer: All Buyers/Transferees must sign and print their names on the back of the title to verify mileage. 
  • Complete the Iowa Application for Iowa Title and/or Registration form and sign in ink, preferably blue or black. "Owner" refers to Buyer/Transferee.
    • Owner Information Section: All Buyers/Transferees must complete all fields AND all Buyers/Transferees are required to sign at the bottom of the application in ink.
    • Primary User Information Section: Only complete if different from Owner.
    • Vehicle Information Section: Complete by using the information on the title. Do not include a plate number unless you are using a plate from a vehicle recently sold or traded. If you request a special design (e.g., Blackout, DNR, Flying Our Colors plate), indicate that in the Iowa Plate No field and additional fees will apply.
    • Security Interest Information Section: If there is a lien to be noted on the title, provide all information requested. If no lien against the vehicle, you must check the "none" box. 
    • Purchase Price Section: Purchase price must be declared. 
      • If no purchase price was paid (e.g., a gift) mark the Claim Exemption box and complete page 2 of the application for the tax exemption code. The purchase price must match bill of sale. 
      • If applicable, Business Trade truck exemption information box may be checked.
    • Sign and date: Each Buyer/Transferee must sign and date in ink.
  • Surrender original title, original signed applications, bill of sale, and fees to County Treasurer by mail, drop box, or in person within 30 days of purchase date to avoid penalties.

Complete Title Transfer via Mail or Drop Box

After completing the steps outlined above, the Buyer/Transferee submits the original title, original signed application, bill of sale, and fees to the County Treasurer by mail or the white drop box located in front of the Public Service Center at 935 2nd St. SW in Cedar Rapids. It is recommended you keep copies of the documents for yourself while work is being processed.

Mailing Address

Linn County Treasurer
935 2nd St SW
Cedar Rapids, IA 52404

How to Pay the Fees

When completing a title transfer by mail or drop box, the Buyer/Transferee must include either a check in the amount of the applicable fees or a completed Electronic Authorization Form (PDF). When using the authorization form, Treasurer's Office staff will calculate the fees for you. You will receive an email from [email protected] confirming that your payment was processed. Please allow up to two weeks for this process to be completed.

The following fees apply to title transfers:

Title Transfer Fee$25
Lien Fee (if applicable)$10
Tax5% of purchase price
Postage for Standard Plates$3
Registration FeeVaries by vehicle

How to Calculate Registration Fee

  • Visit the Iowa DOT website
  • Click the Fee Calculator button under Registration Fee Calculator
  • Select Tools
  • Select Dealer Inquiry
  • Select Estimator and enter pertinent information

View a user guide (PDF)

Complete Title Transfer in Person

If you do not wish to mail or place your completed forms in the drop box, you can complete your title transfer in person at the Treasurer's Office. Follow the Seller/Transferor and Buyer/Transferee instructions outlined above. If the title application is completed properly, it is not required that all Transferees come in person; it is acceptable for only one Transferee to present the completed documents. Wait times will vary for in-person services.