Whether you just bought a vehicle or you want to sell it, it is good to know how to write a bill of sale for a car. Writing that document by yourself will spare you waiting, delaying, and repeating trips to the local DMV (department of motor vehicles).
The bill of sale is a crucial document since it proves that you are the legal owner of the car. You will need it to calculate the tax amount you should pay. So, I will try to show you in detail how an excellently written bill of sale for a vehicle looks like, what it should contain, and how to write it correctly.
What Is the Bill of Sale?
The bill of sale is a legal document necessary for the car registration, which confirms that an owner of the vehicle is changed. Be aware that the law defining the contents of that bill varies from state to state.
So, you need to make sure if your state requires an official bill of sales form or you can write the one by yourself. Keep in mind that the District of Columbia is an exception. If you live there, you won’t need to fulfill a bill of sale for buying or selling a motor vehicle at all.
Other states require this document, but the information you need to add in can be entirely different. Therefore, you should find out all the relevant facts that should be included in your bill of sale.
Nowadays, you can find on the Net a free printable pdf template for the bill of sale required by your state. Therefore, you should fill out the form or use the template as a model to write the document on your own.
Even though you can search online for the template, it is a better option to visit the official website of the state you live in. Some of them require that the public notary verifies the bill of sale as additional legal proof of its accuracy.
How to Write a Bill of Sale for a Car
The first thing you should do is to find out the laws and regulations regarding the bill of sale in your state. It is a necessary part of the registration process, and it will be the only proof that the vehicle is yours. After fulfilling that paper, you need to submit it to the local DMV.
Then analyze the legal requirements to determine what to include in the bill of sale you need to fill. If just one information misses, DMV will reject the document. Therefore, make sure to include all vital data, such as:
The document will look better if it contains a title. It will be enough to write ‘Bill of Sale’ and then add bellow an introduction about the transaction.
2. Personal information of both parties
First, you need to define who buys the car and who the seller is. Sometimes there is more than one buyer. On the other hand, there can be two people, sharing ownership of the vehicle, who want to sell it.
It is crucial to add the legal names of all participants in the sale. Also, you need to add their addresses and contact information, including phone number, mobile phone number, and email. Remember that it is necessary to enter the drivers’ license numbers as well.
3. The date that the transaction occurs
It is required to specify both dates, the one when the buyer purchased the car, and the date when he or she picked it up. If both actions occurred on the same day, you need to write down the time when the sale and delivery of the vehicle happened.
4. Information about the payment
The information about the price of the vehicle and the method of payment is required. Always determine the way of repayment and if a deposit is required. If the car is a gift instead of an object of sale, you should specify it. Don’t forget to describe the relationship between the seller and buyer (two spouses or parent/child, for example).
5. Description of the car
Make sure to enter all the relevant info about the vehicle, including:
- Car manufacturer
- Model of the car
- VIN (vehicle identification number)
- The year of production
Always add the features that describe your vehicle, including its color, current mileage, distinctive marks, and all previous damage.
6. Information about warranty
In most cases, you will sell or buy the car on ‘as is’ principle. It means that both sides are aware of the condition of the vehicle on a day of sale with no warranty, and you should add it to your document.
Without this phrase, you may have trouble in the future because of the car condition you didn’t know about at the moment of the sale.
To protect yourself from subsequently discovered car flaws, which the buyer finds later, you may add a sentence ‘buyer assumes all liability over this car after the sale is complete’ in the document.
In case your car has a warranty, you should enter the sales invoice with all the necessary details about it.
7. Maintenance records
You should have complete records and certificates documenting the maintenance and repairs on your car. When you take care of the vehicle properly, these records will be the written proof that it is maintained as required. That may even affect the final price.
If you don’t have any, you should obtain copies of the documents from the dealer or your mechanic. Many people refuse to purchase the car without this documentation.
In the end, both the buyer and seller need to sign the bill of sale to make it official. To provide peace of mind, you should notarize these signatures, as well.
In some states, this verification is obligatory. However, it is always helpful having it just in case, although it is not required in the region where you live. Besides, both of you need to sign the date of the sale.
Once you write and sign the bill of sale and finish the transaction, you need to transfer the title. Make sure to provide three copies of the document for all sides, including the buyer, seller, and local DMV.
If any problems arise, the signed bill of sale will be a proof recognized by the law and acceptable on the court.