How To Write A Bill Of Sale For A Car

If it’s time to sell your car, and you’re thinking of listing it privately, you’ll need to learn how to write a bill of sale. It’s actually quite simple, but it’s also important that you have all the information on the bill of sale that you need. 

In this guide, we’ll look at how to format and write a bill of sale so that the transfer of your vehicle’s title can go as smoothly as possible. 

A Bill of Sale Form

Before you put in the time and effort to create a bill of sale for your car, it’s best to check with your county’s DMV. The Department of Motor Vehicles may have a bill of sale form that you can simply fill out with the pertinent information. 

Visit the website of your local government’s DMV. If the website has a search function, just type “bill of sale” into the search box. With any luck, your pre-formatted bill of sale will be returned in the results!

If you can’t find a form, you can try a search on Google or another search engine. Type in “[your state] automobile bill of sale”, and examine the results. Generally speaking, the most accurate representations of your local bill of sale will come from a website that ends in .gov. 

If you can’t find a form to fill out, that’s okay. You can easily write your own bill of sale. In the remainder of this guide, we’ll explore how to do just that. 

How to Write a Bill of Sale for a Car

A bill of sale is the proof you need to show the Department of Motor Vehicles that you’ve sold your car. Without one, you may face tax implications or have trouble transferring your title. 

Your bill of sale should include five important pieces of information. Let’s delve into what those are. 

  1. The date of the sale. You’ll need to specify exactly when money changed hands between you and the buyer. If you gifted the car, use this date. 
  2. A description of the car. Your description should be as thorough as possible. Include the year, make, and model, the vehicle identification number, your license plate number (though that may change, depending upon your state), and the current odometer reading. 
  3. The exact amount you sold the car for. If you’re giving the car to someone as a gift, specify $0, but do specify that the vehicle is a gift. This can impact the taxes paid, make sure that this information is present. 
  4. Any applicable warranty information. If the car is still under the manufacturer’s warranty, specify this. If you’re transferring a third-party warranty to the new vehicle owner, include the policy number, name, phone number, and address of the warranty provider. Be as specific as possible regarding the terms of the warranty. If you, yourself, are guaranteeing the vehicle in some way, list the specifics in this space. 
  5. The legal names of the buyer and seller, along with their addresses. You both will need to sign the document. However, check with your DMV to determine whether the signatures must be notarized. If so, wait to sign until you’re in the presence of a notary. 

That’s it! That’s all you need for a bill of sale that will assist in making the title transfer process go smoothly. The buyer and seller should each hold a signed copy of the bill of sale. Keep this in a safe place in case you need it later. 

Why Do I Need a Vehicle Bill of Sale?

A bill of sale is a simple document that proves that you did your part, legally and financially, when you sold your car. It’s proof of purchase for a motor vehicle, and so it’s an essential part of the sale process.

The document can also provide protection for you should confusion arise between you and the buyer. 

For instance, if a buyer claims that he or she was to receive specific warranty coverage, your bill of sale can help prove this to be true or untrue. Your bill of sale can also provide proof that you are no longer liable for the vehicle if it’s stolen or damaged. Finally, the taxes you pay may be affected by your bill of sale; that’s why accurate information is essential. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Need to write a bill of sale for your car, but still have a few questions? Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about how to write a bill of sale for a car. 

Can A Bill Of Sale Be Handwritten?

Yes! In most cases, your bill of sale can be either typed or handwritten. As long as all the important information is on the document, a handwritten bill of sale is still recognized by the DMV. 

Does A Bill Of Sale Form Need To Be Notarized? 

Whether your bill of sale needs to be notarized will depend upon the state where you live. Check with your DMV for information about notarization, and don’t sign the document until you know for sure. 

Is A Bill Of Sale Required?

For private car sales, a bill of sale is not required. However, the document can protect you should any questions arise in the future. Your bill of sale will also make the title transfer process go a lot more smoothly than it would without one. 

Who Keeps The Bill Of Sale Form?

Both the buyer and seller should receive and retain a signed copy of the bill of sale.