Vehicle bills of sale are a key document that needs to be created when you have any kind of motor vehicle that you are selling. Since these vehicles need to be registered and insured no matter which state they are sold in, the new owner will need to have a bill of sale to prove that they are the new owner. Without this kind of auto bill of sale, the new owner of the car or other vehicle will not be able to legally take possession of the vehicle or protect it with an insurance policy.

There are various regulations and rules that are associated with the process of creating this kind of document, and these can be governed by your state. While the process of writing a bill of sale for a car is not tough, you will need to know about the legal requirements for your state before you complete the document or the sale. The more that you know about the required details of this process, the easier the sale will be from start to finish.

Vehicle Bill of Sale
Vehicle Bill of Sale Download for Word

Bill of Sale for Car Templates

What is a bill of sale for a car?

The bill of sale for a car is the document that states all the information about the car and indicates that it was legally sold by the seller. This document needs to be in the buyer’s possession before they can get insurance for their new car so that they can transfer the ownership of the car into their name. Even if you are giving the car to someone as a gift, you will want to be sure that you use a bill of sale to document the sale and make the details of the sale clear.

There are some other names that this document can go by. These different names are not going to impact the legal nature of this document, and you can use any of them interchangeably when creating this document. You might want to use whatever term is common for your state or your region of the country when you create your motor vehicle sales documents.

  • Car Bill of Sale
  • Automobile Bill of Sale
  • Auto Bill of Sale
  • Auto Purchase Agreement
  • Car Contract
  • Car Purchase Agreement
  • Vehicle Purchase Agreement
  • DMV Bill of Sale
  • Car Sale Receipt

No matter if you are writing a used car bill of sale or a bill of sale for a new car, you can use these names for the document.

You need a bill of sale for the following reasons:

  1. Tax purposes
  2. Vehicle insurance
  3. DMV registration

On top of this, the protection for the buyer and seller when this legal document is in place cannot be overstated. In some cases, the bill of sale can also prevent issues related to accusations of theft of the vehicle as well.

Vehicle Bill of Sale Forms

Is there a difference between a vehicle bill of sale and a vehicle title?

The bill of sale is not the same as the title of the car. The title of the car is a legal document that indicates the named owner of the car. This is a separate document from the bill of sale document, but they are linked. When someone has outright ownership of a vehicle, they will sign over the title when the purchase of the vehicle has been completed. The title is a document of record that shows who owns the vehicle in question, while the bill of sale documents the process by which the sale was completed.

Your bill of sale backs up the sales process, and it is often a required document when it comes to getting insurance or transferring the title to a new owner. This is the main proof that the vehicle in question is not stolen, and that is why a bill of sale is so important to the sales process for vehicles. In some states, a bill of sale must also be notarized, making it a legal document that provides proof of the sale that has been signed by a professional witness.

Used Car Bill of Sale Samples

How to write a bill of sale for a car

The vehicle sales documents and the title of the car are linked documents. Do not forget that the seller will need to have the title on hand when the sales document is signed, or the sale cannot be completed. Ownership of a car cannot be transferred without the title being signed over. If you have arrived to buy a car, you should never sign the contract without having proof that the title is present to be given to you at the end of the sale transfer process.

  • Seller and Buyer Information. The full legal name of the buyer and seller needs to be at the top of the document. Nicknames are not allowed and can invalidate the bill of sale. Make sure that you have the full legal name of a trust or a company that owns a vehicle if this is the owner that is listed on the title. You cannot name a person who is not the titled owner, and if the titled owner is a company, then this is the seller’s information that needs to be correctly identified at the top of the document. Make sure that you have addresses and phone numbers for all the parties as well. This helps with the identification of the parties in question and can make communication after the sale easier if any questions should come up.
  • Price of the Vehicle. The price of the vehicle needs to be stated clearly in this section of the document. Even if the car is a gift, the price or the nature of the sale as a gift needs to be indicated here. Make sure that you are clear about how payments are to be made in the future if the buyer is purchasing via installments. You will want to be clear about the total price of the purchase if there is going to be interest included or if you have asked for a down payment that is part of the total purchase price.
  • Vehicle Description. The vehicle that is involved in the sale needs to be correctly identified in this part of the document. Make sure that you have the VIN, the make, the model, the color, the year, and a description of the condition of the car in this section. If the vehicle is an older car without a VIN or a modified car that does not meet the Kelley Blue Book valuation standards and descriptions, you will need to have an appraiser come take a look at the car and write up a report to state the value and the description of the vehicle. This section of the bill of sale helps to make sure that the right vehicle is being described in the document so that both parties are clear about the details of the sale. This is also important if the car cannot be evaluated based on a VIN so that there is no question about the car involved in the sale. If sales tax or other state-mandated details need to be included in this section of the contract, make sure that you have added this information to the vehicle description in the bill of sale. You might need to look at the sales requirements for your state to be sure that you have collected all the information that is necessary to finalize a vehicle sale where you live. An odometer disclosure and some other specific information might be needed in your specific region of the world when you finalize a sale.
  • Related Documents. If you have had an independent appraisal done on the car or you need to provide documentation for modifications and other changes that have been made to the car, you need to list these items in the contract. You will need to add copies of the documents to the bill of sale paperwork as well to be sure that the owner has the full information about the item that they have purchased. In some states, the pink slip is also provided to the buyer at the time of the sale. This can be requested from the DMV if the existing one has been lost somehow. This might take a few weeks to be processed, so you will need to allow for this time if this step is necessary. The buyer will need to provide a driver’s license and some other information to get a new one sent to them.
  • Sign and Date the Document. All the buyers and the seller need to sign the bill of sale and date their signature lines. In some states, the bill of sale cannot be signed until a notary public has been hired to witness the signature process. If you sign the document before the notary is present, you cannot use the signed version of the bill of sale and will need to create a new one that can be signed with the notary as the witness. This is a key step in the sales process in some states, so be sure that you do not skip this part of the bill of sale process. If you do not need to have a notary sign your sale documents per the legal requirements in your state, you still might want to arrange to have a notary present when the bill of sale is signed. This adds legitimacy to the document that cannot be offered just by signing it with the buyer. You might want to consider this added layer of legal protection if you are selling a vehicle that is not easy to establish a value for or one that is being sold as-is and not in running condition. This kind of witness to the signature process can give your bill added legal protection in case there is a dispute going forward between the buyer and the seller.
  • Consider adding a warranty section to any bill of sale that you create. This is the “as-is” part of the document that states that there will be no further promises made by the seller to alter, change, or fix the vehicle once the sale is complete. This can come in very handy if you are worried about the buyer trying to pursue you for issues with the vehicle after the sale has been finalized. Most dealerships will sell used cars with an as-is warranty, and you should consider yourself open to the same risk of legal action if you do not include this disclosure in the document that you have created to sell your car to someone else.

Motor Vehicle Bill of Sale Examples

If you have decided to sell a car that you own, you will need to be sure that you do not finalize the sale without having a sales contract prepared to document the transaction. This is a required document in some states, but even if it is not, you will want to be certain that you do not sell your car based entirely on a verbal contract. There are too many variables that can crop up after the fact when you do not have a bill of sale in hand and the new owner might not be able to get the car retitled in their name or place insurance on it without a sales document.

The bill of sale does not even have to be a record of money changing hands. If you have decided to give your car away to someone else, you still need to take the time to make a sales document that states that you have gifted the car to someone else. This is the only proof that the buyer will have that the car is not stolen, and you will want to have the legal protection on both sides of the purchase that this document offers.

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Tagged:Bill of saleCarContractsLegalVehicle
TemplateLab February 9th, 2023
Ryan Duffy
Ryan Duffy