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How to Write a Bill of Sale for a Car

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A bill of sale is a document that shows proof a vehicle changed ownership. Your state may have a specific bill of sale form that they require you use, but if not, you can write a bill of sale yourself. You just need to make sure that you have all of the required information to make the selling process go smoothly.

What is a bill of sale for a car?

A bill of sale is a document that shows that you have sold your car to another person and includes basic information about the vehicle and the terms of the sale. Bills of sale are used as a way to prove that ownership of goods had been transferred, for everything from dogs and horses to boats and property.

There are a few states that require a bill of sale when you buy or sell a car:

  • Alabama
  • Florida
  • Idaho
  • Nebraska
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont

If you’re not sure if your state requires a bill of sale when buying or selling a car, the best place to check is your state’s bureau or department of motor vehicles. Be careful when searching online for bill of sale templates or state requirements, as there are many sites that look official. The website for your state’s official bureau or department of motor vehicles will almost certainly end in “.gov”.

Additionally, you should be aware that some states require that the bill of sale be notarized when buying or selling a car.

How to write a bill of sale for a car

If your state does not require a specific form, you may be able to write your own bill of sale for a car. It is a good idea to complete a bill of sale in any state, even if you are not required to provide one. With this proof of sale, the new owner will be completely responsible for the car. It’s likely easier to find a bill of sale document through your state’s department or bureau of motor vehicles, but creating one on your own is relatively painless. If you do decide to write a bill of sale, there are certain components that you’ll want to include in your bill of sale.

  • Date of the transaction — the date that you accept the buyer’s money and sign over to transfer the title of the car.
  • Price of the transaction
  • The vehicle’s description — make, model, year, current mileage, VIN and license plate number
  • Any warranty information — if there is no warranty information, the car is assumed to be in “as-is” condition. If there are any transferable warranties, make sure to note them on the bill of sale form.
  • Seller’s contact information — full name, address and phone number
  • Buyer’s contact information — full name, address and phone number
  • Attestation of good faith — above the signature line, you should write an oath that the information provided by the seller has been provided in good faith without any attempt to deceive the buyer, under penalty of perjury.
  • Signatures — Both the buyer and the seller should sign the document. However, in many states, it is only necessary that the seller sign the document. The signatures should only be made once the funds have been transferred from the buyer to the seller.
  • Notarization — Leave space for a notary to verify your signatures if it is required by your state. Even if not required by your state, if you want the bill of sale to stand up in court, you should have a notary present to notarize the document.
Car bill of sale example

If you’re looking for an example bill of sale, some states have bill of sale templates that you can use. For example, the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles offers a bill of sale that any seller could easily download and fill out. In addition, you can find many free bill of sale templates available to download online. Just make sure that it has all of the information that is required for your state.

Next steps after creating a car bill of sale

After you have completed the bill of sale, each party should keep a signed copy for their records. The bill of sale is a record of the transaction, but it is not the only paperwork you need to complete to finalize the sale. The bill of sale should be completed after you sign over the vehicle’s title to the new owner and collect payment.

The buyer will be able to use this bill of sale to register for the car in their name. Typically, the buyer will need to register the car in their name within a certain time frame. Once the car officially belongs to the buyer, they will need to register the car, fill out any other necessary paperwork required by your state, and pay any associated fees.

 

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