Car Bill of Sale

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A car bill of sale template is a legal document confirming a car purchase and sale deal in which the main parties are a seller and a buyer. This legal document helps the parties transfer the title ownership without legal complications. Fill out the bill of sale for a car from Lawrina and download it in PDF.
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Template Description

If you’re currently in the process of buying or selling a vehicle and need help with the legal documentation, consider a simple bill of sale template for car purchases. This printable PDF template can be downloaded from Lawrina on any device and used to create a legally binding bill of sale.

couple choosing car

What Is a Bill of Sale for a Car?

A car bill of sale is a legal document confirming a car purchase and sale deal. An automobile bill of sale template can be used to create the document needed to validate a purchase of a car as an item that costs more than $500. This type of legal document helps the buyer and seller to avoid potential disputes and is needed in many states for the buyer to proceed with the transfer of title.

Insight

The auto bill of sale template helps the parties create a legally binding bill of sale and transfer the title ownership without legal complications. However, the proof of sale does not imply that a buyer automatically becomes the car’s owner. 

Another reason to have a bill of sale agreement is to properly calculate the sales tax the buyer must pay. When the document is correctly filled out, it will be easier to determine the tax owed based on the price of the vehicle. 

Parties of the Car Bill of Sale

A used car bill of sale template needs to be filled out and signed by two parties: 

  • The Seller or Dealer is anyone who is attempting to privately sell a car to a new owner. The seller is responsible for informing the buyer about any faults or problems associated with the car.
  • The Buyer is the party who wishes to purchase the car from the seller. The buyer typically test drives and inspects the car before deciding to make the purchase. The bill of sale then acts as a receipt to allow the buyer to apply for legal ownership of the vehicle.

Key Terms

When using a bill of sale template for vehicle purchases, be aware of the following key terms:

  • Vehicle identification number (VIN)—Every automobile has a VIN that acts as its unique identifier. This 17-character number provides information about the car’s origin, including the make, model, and the year it was manufactured.
  • Deal type—Most bill of sale agreements don’t offer any form of warranty, instead selling the car “as is.” This means that the seller is not responsible for any faults in the vehicle that may not have been disclosed prior to selling the car to the buyer.
  • Vehicle description—When filling in a motor vehicle bill of sale template, be as clear as possible when describing the vehicle. This section includes the current state of the vehicle and its history.
  • Further agreements—A bill of sale will also state any other agreements that are related to the sale of the motor vehicle. These can include payment dates, interest rates, and terms and conditions surrounding late payments.

Who Needs a Bill of Sale for a Car?

Both the buyer and the seller of a car benefit from having a bill of sale agreement. The contract allows the buyer to register the vehicle purchase and shields the seller from dissatisfaction after the purchase. The bill of sale can be used by either party in case of any legal disputes. The agreement is a record of the agreed terms and conditions, allowing most disputes to be cleared up quickly and efficiently.

What Should the Bill of Sale for a Car Include?

The most important information to add when using a simple bill of sale template for cars includes the following:

  • The parties’ personal information—full names and addresses;

  • Vehicle description—the VIN, make, model, year, color, mileage, condition, and possible defects;

  • Mileage—the current vehicle odometer reading at the time of the sale;

  • The purchase and sale deal information—the transaction date, price, and payment method;

  • The deal type—whether the vehicle is being sold as is or with warranties.

How To Write a Bill of Sale for a Car

The following are steps for writing a printable vehicle bill of sale template.

For Sellers

  1. Start by preparing the car for sale. List any faults that a buyer will want to know about. If you’re going to sell the car as it is, you can specify its known defects in the bill of sale.

  2. Collect all the vehicle information—the VIN, mileage, make, model, size, color, and year.

  3. As these details are key to a bill of sale for a vehicle, include them in the first section of the document.

For Buyers

  1. Meet the current car owner to see the car. Mention to the seller if you notice any defects.

  2. Because many sellers offer their vehicles in “as-is” condition, if you are not ready to buy a car with possible faults, notify the seller about your decision in advance to avoid confusion. 

Insight

Both parties can negotiate the price, due dates, main terms of the deal, and the next steps of the purchase. Other questions that you may want to raise with the seller include:

  • How are you selling your car—as is or with warranties to repair it in case of defects?
  • How and when is payment expected?
  • What is the sales tax in your state? Who is responsible for its payment?

Filling Out the Document

When both parties have discussed the details and come to an agreement, it is time to fill out the bill of sale contract. The primary details for the agreement are the full vehicle description, the car’s mileage, payment amount, and the parties’ names and contact information. Extra information or agreed clauses can be added at the bottom before the signatures.

Check the Document

woman checking bill of sale details

Review every letter to ensure that the key information is included. Pay attention to the details and align them with the discussed terms. If there are typos or errors, correct them immediately before signing the document. If anything is missing, add it right away before signing the document. When every detail is in place, both parties can sign and date the prepared standard bill of sale.  

Where To Get a Bill of Sale for a Car?

In most cases, the seller of the vehicle will be responsible for drawing up the bill of sale contract. Car dealerships generally provide one as part of their service, but when purchasing a vehicle from a private seller, be sure to ask for legal proof of the ownership transfer. 

If you’re a private vehicle seller in need of a bill of sale, Lawrina’s sample automobile bill of sale template can be used for most transactions. Once the bill of sale has been drafted and signed, a copy should be given to each party. In some states, the document must also be notarized in order to be legally binding. 

When Do You Need a Car Bill of Sale?

A bill of sale for car template can be used to create a bill of sale when a buyer is interested in privately purchasing a vehicle from a seller or through a car dealership. The agreement provides a detailed record of the transaction and can be used to settle any disputes if they arise after the purchase has been completed. 

Common Use Cases

A car bill of sale contract is most commonly used when a used vehicle is being privately sold to a buyer, such as when buying a car from a neighbor. The used car bill of sale template allows both the buyer and the seller to have a record of the sale and is also used by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to transfer ownership of the car to the buyer.

Insight

A car bill of sale usually shows that the seller has sold a car. Many states require to transfer vehicle title to the buyer to duly exercise the sale. Therefore, it should be checked with your motor vehicle department whether you need either a bill of sale or a signed title to prove the sale of your car or both.

State Law

Bills of sale are governed by state law. When privately purchasing or selling a vehicle, some states require a bill of sale for the transaction to be valid. The majority of states do not require this agreement to be notarized. However, some do require a notary to witness the signing of the contract for it to become legally binding.

No matter which state you live in, a notarized bill of sale agreement can help to prevent certain possible disputes between the buyer and the seller. The following information shows each state’s requirements.

State Law
Alabama
  1. Bill of Sale is required to validate private purchase & sale deals.
  2. Notarized Bill of Sale is NOT required.
State Law
Alaska
  1. Bill of Sale is NOT required to validate private purchase & sale deals.
  2. Notarized Bill of Sale is NOT required.
State Law
Arizona
  1. Bill of Sale is NOT required to validate private purchase & sale deals.
  2. Notarized Bill of Sale is NOT required.
State Law
Arkansas
  1. Bill of Sale is NOT required to validate private purchase & sale deals.
  2. Notarized Bill of Sale is NOT required.
State Law
California
  1. Bill of Sale is required to validate private purchase & sale deals.
  2. Notarized Bill of Sale is NOT required.
State Law
Colorado
  1. Bill of Sale is required to validate private purchase & sale deals.
  2. Notarized Bill of Sale is NOT required.
State Law
Connecticut
  1. Bill of Sale is required to validate private purchase & sale deals.
  2. Notarized Bill of Sale is NOT required.
State Law
Delaware
  1. Bill of Sale is NOT required to validate private purchase & sale deals.
  2. Notarized Bill of Sale is NOT required.
State Law
Florida
  1. Bill of Sale is required to validate private purchase & sale deals.
  2. Notarized Bill of Sale is NOT required.
State Law
Georgia
  1. Bill of Sale is required to validate private purchase & sale deals.
  2. Notarized Bill of Sale is NOT required.
State Law
Hawaii
  1. Bill of Sale is NOT required to validate private purchase & sale deals.
  2. Notarized Bill of Sale is NOT required.
State Law
Idaho
  1. Bill of Sale is required to validate private purchase & sale deals.
  2. Notarized Bill of Sale is NOT required.
State Law
Illinois
  1. Bill of Sale is required to validate private purchase & sale deals in specific cases.
  2. Notarized Bill of Sale is NOT required.
State Law
Indiana
  1. Bill of Sale is NOT required to validate private purchase & sale deals.
  2. Notarized Bill of Sale is NOT required.
State Law
Iowa
  1. Bill of Sale is required to validate private purchase & sale deals.
  2. Notarized Bill of Sale is NOT required.
State Law
Kansas
  1. Bill of Sale is required to validate private purchase & sale deals in specific cases.
  2. Notarized Bill of Sale is NOT required.
State Law
Kentucky
  1. Bill of Sale is NOT required to validate private purchase & sale deals.
  2. Notarized Bill of Sale is NOT required.
State Law
Louisiana
  1. Bill of Sale is required to validate private purchase & sale deals in specific cases.
  2. Notarized Bill of Sale is NOT required.
State Law
Maine
  1. Bill of Sale is required to validate private purchase & sale deals.
  2. Notarized Bill of Sale is NOT required.
State Law
Maryland
  1. Bill of Sale is required to validate private purchase & sale deals.
  2. Notarized Bill of Sale is required in specific cases.
State Law
Massachusetts
  1. Bill of Sale is NOT required to validate private purchase & sale deals.
  2. Notarized Bill of Sale is NOT required.
State Law
Michigan
  1. Bill of Sale is NOT required to validate private purchase & sale deals.
  2. Notarized Bill of Sale is NOT required.
State Law
Minnesota
  1. Bill of Sale is NOT required to validate private purchase & sale deals.
  2. Notarized Bill of Sale is NOT required.
State Law
Mississippi
  1. Bill of Sale is required to validate private purchase & sale deals in specific cases.
  2. Notarized Bill of Sale is NOT required.
State Law
Missouri
  1. Bill of Sale is required to validate private purchase & sale deals in specific cases.
  2. Notarized Bill of Sale is NOT required.
State Law
Montana
  1. Bill of Sale is NOT required to validate private purchase & sale deals.
  2. Notarized Bill of Sale is NOT required.
State Law
Nebraska
  1. Bill of Sale is required to validate private purchase & sale deals.
  2. Notarized Bill of Sale is required.
State Law
Nevada
  1. Bill of Sale is required to validate private purchase & sale deals.
  2. Notarized Bill of Sale is NOT required.
State Law
New Hampshire
  1. Bill of Sale is required to validate private purchase & sale deals in specific cases.
  2. Notarized Bill of Sale is required.
State Law
New Jersey
  1. Bill of Sale is required to validate private purchase & sale deals.
  2. Notarized Bill of Sale is NOT required.
State Law
New Mexico
  1. Bill of Sale is required to validate private purchase & sale deals in specific cases.
  2. Notarized Bill of Sale is required.
State Law
New York
  1. Bill of Sale is required to validate private purchase & sale deals.
  2. Notarized Bill of Sale is NOT required.
State Law
North Carolina
  1. Bill of Sale is NOT required to validate private purchase & sale deals.
  2. Notarized Bill of Sale is NOT required.
State Law
North Dakota
  1. Bill of Sale is NOT required to validate private purchase & sale deals.
  2. Notarized Bill of Sale is NOT required.
State Law
Ohio
  1. Bill of Sale is NOT required to validate private purchase & sale deals.
  2. Notarized Bill of Sale is NOT required.
State Law
Oklahoma
  1. Bill of Sale is NOT required to validate private purchase & sale deals.
  2. Notarized Bill of Sale is NOT required.
State Law
Oregon
  1. Bill of Sale is required to validate private purchase & sale deals in specific cases.
  2. Notarized Bill of Sale is NOT required.
State
Pennsylvania
  1. Bill of Sale is NOT required to validate private purchase & sale deals.
  2. Notarized Bill of Sale is NOT required.
State Law
Rhode Island
  1. Bill of Sale is required to validate private purchase & sale deals.
  2. Notarized Bill of Sale is NOT required.
State Law
South Carolina
  1. Bill of Sale is required to validate private purchase & sale deals in specific cases.
  2. Notarized Bill of Sale is NOT required.
State Law
South Dakota
  1. Bill of Sale is NOT required to validate private purchase & sale deals.
  2. Notarized Bill of Sale is NOT required.
State Law
Tennessee
  1. Bill of Sale is NOT required to validate private purchase & sale deals.
  2. Notarized Bill of Sale is NOT required.
State Law
Texas
  1. Bill of Sale is NOT required to validate private purchase & sale deals.
  2. Notarized Bill of Sale is NOT required.
State Law
Utah
  1. Bill of Sale is NOT required to validate private purchase & sale deals.
  2. Notarized Bill of Sale is NOT required.
State Law
Vermont
  1. Bill of Sale is required to validate private purchase & sale deals.
  2. Notarized Bill of Sale is NOT required.
State Law
Virginia
  1. Bill of Sale is required to validate private purchase & sale deals.
  2. Notarized Bill of Sale is NOT required.
State Law
Washington
  1. Bill of Sale is required to validate private purchase & sale deals.
  2. Notarized Bill of Sale is NOT required.
State Law
West Virginia
  1. Bill of Sale is required to validate private purchase & sale deals in specific cases.
  2. Notarized Bill of Sale is NOT required.
State Law
Wisconsin
  1. Bill of Sale is NOT required to validate private purchase & sale deals.
  2. Notarized Bill of Sale is NOT required.
State Law
Wyoming
  1. Bill of Sale is required to validate private purchase & sale deals in specific cases.
  2. Notarized Bill of Sale is required.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How to get a title for a car with a bill of sale?

After you buy a new car, you should gain ownership rights at your state DMV (department of motor vehicles). You will need a created bill of sale as proof of the car purchase; that’s the main document of this legal procedure. It has the following steps:

  1. Your DMV will assign you to purchase a particular amount of the vehicle surety bond that your chosen insurance agency should provide you. 
  2. Within a restricted time, you will need to apply for a bonded title proving that you are the new owner of the purchased vehicle.
  3. After your application review, the DMV will send your bonded title confirmation.

With the DMV’s confirmation, you can register your title and buy comprehensive insurance for your car.

Do I need a bill of sale when buying a used car?

You will need a motor vehicle bill of sale template in whatever condition you want to purchase the car. This legal document is crucial to prove that the deal occurred in a specific state. 

Legal notarization is also required in particular states. Above, we provided a table on the bill of sale requirements across the U.S. states. 

Who keeps the bill of sale when selling a car?

Both parties, the buyer and the seller, should have a copy of an auto bill of sale template. You can always refer to the specified data in it, use this form in your next purchases and sales, and submit it to state governments if necessary. 

Plus, you can always stay on the same page with the other party and resolve future disputes.