Buying or selling a vehicle? Record your transaction by creating a printable vehicle bill of sale using our legally reviewed templates.
Many state laws require the vehicle seller and buyer to officially register their transaction. Moreover, most of the vehicles, like cars, trucks, boats, motorcycles, and trailers, must be titled and registered after the ownership transfer.
The vehicle bill of sale is used as a receipt that proves that a certain vehicle has changed owners. It contains details about the seller and buyer, a description of the vehicle, and a purchase price. Therefore, the vehicle bill of sale is important for the state titling and registration authorities since it proves all the relevant details they use in their procedures.
Vehicle Bill of Sale Forms By State
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
What is a Vehicle Bill of Sale?
The vehicle bill of sale is a legal document that contains all the relevant details regarding the sale and purchase of a vehicle.
This document is often used as a secondary proof of ownership in cases where there is no certificate of title for the transferred vehicle. This can often happen when the buyer purchases a vehicle from a state that doesn’t issue a certificate of title for a particular type of vehicle.
The vehicle bill of sale is, in practice, commonly referred to as:
Other Names for Vehicle Bill of Sale
Motor vehicle bill of sale
Vehicle bill of sale form
DMV bill of sale
Bill of sale for a car
What Information Goes on a Vehicle Bill of Sale?
The vehicle bill of sale example should include the following elements to be used in vehicle transactions:
Vehicle Bill of Sale Should Include
Information about the seller and buyer. This usually includes the full names of the buyer and seller, their mailing addresses, and other contact details.
Vehicle description. Includes the vehicle make, model, year of production, body type, odometer reading, vehicle identification number (VIN), and other details that help the parties to individualize the vehicle they are transferring.
Purchase price and method of payment. The purchase price is an important element of the bill of sale since it is often used by the tax authorities for calculating the sales tax.
Warranties. This section will outline any warranties about the vehicle’s condition. However, for used vehicles, it is common that the seller transfers the vehicle “as-is,” meaning that there are no additional warranties for the vehicle’s condition after the transfer is completed.
Sale date. This detail should always be included in a vehicle bill of sale since it serves as proof of the moment when the vehicle left the seller’s possession and became the possession of the buyer.
Signatures. This proves that both the seller and buyer have read the bill of sale and that they both agree with all the terms provided in the document.
Odometer Disclosure Statement
Federal and state laws require the vehicle seller to provide detailed information on the mileage of a vehicle at the moment of transfer. This includes the number of miles recorded on the vehicle’s odometer.
However, the seller is also required to disclose if the odometer doesn’t show accurate mileage and name the reason for this.
Why Do You Need a Bill of Sale Form?
Here are some of the most common reasons the seller and buyer decide to create the bill of sale for the vehicle transaction:
Reasons For Vehicle Bill of Sale
Creating a paper trail. The parties will use this document to formalize all the details of their transaction and use it to prevent or solve misunderstandings with the other party.
Tax purposes. The vehicle bill of sale provides the vehicle’s purchase price, which can be used by the tax authorities for calculating sales and other taxes.
Titling and registration. The bill of sale is often required in the process of vehicle titling and registration.
Insurance. Very often, the new owner will not be able to obtain the insurance for the vehicle without proving ownership over it. In these situations, the new owner can use the vehicle bill of sale as a proof of ownership.
Vehicle Bill of Sale Required Documents
When buying or selling the vehicle, the parties should exchange the following documents to enable a smooth ownership transfer:
Bill of sale. This document can serve as proof of all the relevant details connected to the sale and purchase of a vehicle. In most of the states, there are no specific requirements for the vehicle bill of sale. However, in Louisiana, Nebraska, Maryland, New Hampshire, West Virginia, and Montana, the vehicle bill of sale must be notarized.
Certificate of title. This document is the only official proof of ownership. After the vehicle sale, the new owner should apply for a certificate of title under their name. If the previous owner has lost the certificate of title, they should apply for a duplicate title before the vehicle is sold.
Owner’s manual and the service records. Although not necessary for the completion of the transaction, these documents will give confidence to the buyer when purchasing a vehicle and support the seller’s claims about the vehicle’s condition.
Warranty. If the vehicle is still under some sort of warranty, the seller should provide information on the remaining warranty period and information about the warranty provider.
What’s the Difference Between a Vehicle Bill of Sale and a Title?
The vehicle bill of sale and a certificate of title are both used as proof that the vehicle’s ownership has been transferred from one person to another. However, there are some differences between these two documents.
Although not considered an official proof of ownership, the vehicle bill of sale contains all the details about the vehicle’s transfer and is often required by the authorities in the process of issuing a certificate of title.
For some kinds of vehicles, certain states don’t issue a certificate of title. In these situations, the bill of sale can be used as proof of ownership.
However, in most of the states, the certificate of title is considered the only official proof of vehicle ownership.
What Does “As-is” Mean in a Vehicle Bill of Sale?
In the bill of sale, the parties can agree to include certain warranties regarding the vehicle’s condition. However, if the seller doesn’t wish to provide any warranties, they will indicate that the vehicle is sold “as-is.”
The vehicle bill of sale “as-is” clause means that the buyer can inspect the car before the purchase, that by signing the bill of sale, they agree to buy the vehicle in its current condition at the moment of purchase, and that the seller will not have any liabilities regarding the vehicle’s condition after the transfer is completed.
How to Fill Out a Vehicle Bill of Sale Form
This section will show you the step-by-step process of how to fill out the form in our bill of sale builder and download a vehicle bill of sale pdf that you can later file with the state titling or registration authorities.
Step 1 - Negotiate The Conditions of the Sale
Before you start drafting the vehicle bill of sale, the seller and buyer should inspect the vehicle, note down all the relevant details about the vehicle, negotiate the purchase price, negotiate the warranties, and other details relevant to the sale and purchase of the vehicle.
Step 2 - Fill Out Seller’s & Buyer’s Information
The seller and buyer should then exchange their information and provide their full names, mailing addresses, and contact details. The seller’s name on the bill of sale should match their name on the certificate of title.
Step 3 - Fill Out Information About the Vehicle
Here, you should enter the vehicle’s make, model, year of production, vehicle’s identification number (VIN), body type, color, and other relevant details.
Step 4 - Gather the Required Documents
Besides the bill of sale, you should also prepare other documents needed for vehicle titling and registration. Depending on the state, that can be proof of the vehicle’s insurance, driver’s license or state ID, proof of paid fees, a manufacturer’s certificate, and more.
Step 5 - Sign & File the Document
After completing the bill of sale, you should sign it, notarize it if required, and file it with the local DMV office.
State DMV Locations and Bill of Sale Form Requirements
DMV office location
Is the vehicle bill of sale required?
Vehicle Bill of Sale FAQ
The handwritten vehicle bill of sale is usually considered legal. However, each state has a different form, signing, and notarization requirements. Our easy-to-use vehicle bill of sale builder includes all the necessary provisions so your bill of sale can be legal and enforceable in the state you are using it in.
The following information should be on a vehicle bill of sale:
Full names and mailing addresses of the seller and buyer
Vehicle description (vehicle’s make, model, year of production, vehicle identification number, color, and odometer reading)
Purchase price and method of payment
Date of sale and signatures of the seller and buyer
To get a vehicle bill of sale, you can go to your local DMV office and check if there is a vehicle bill of sale example they are using in that particular state. You can also use the vehicle bill of sale builder, where you can enter all the relevant information and get a printable vehicle bill of sale ready to be signed.
Yes, you need a vehicle bill of sale when buying a used car. This document is even more necessary for transferring the used car since the vehicle bill of sale can provide all the details about the vehicle’s condition and prevent disputes between the seller and buyer after the transaction.