Motor Vehicle Bill of Sale Form

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A motor vehicle bill of sale document is used for the legal sale of a personal or commercial automobile from one individual to another person. Cars, trucks, and small vans fall into this category as they serve as a means of transportation for people and cargo. A bill of sale is also referred to as a sales receipt because it shows that a buyer purchased a vehicle from a seller (opposed to stealing or borrowing it). Both parties should make sure that it is filled out as accurately as possible considering its importance in proving the transfer of the vehicle.

Summary

  • Thirty (30) states require the use of a car bill of sale form.
  • The buyer and seller must sign to verify the transfer of ownership.
  • Notarization is mandated by nine (9) states.

By State


What is a Car Bill of Sale?

A car bill of sale lawfully transfers the possession of a car from an owner to a purchaser. State Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) offices often require the form as proof of ownership for registration purposes. It also verifies that the seller no longer has liability for the vehicle, and, as a result, the buyer cannot make legal claims after the sale.

Since the document holds power in the eyes of the state, both parties must ensure they complete it with accuracy, sign it, and have it notarized as needed. If the form contains errors, the DMV can reject the application or determine it valueless. Buyers and sellers cannot make edits to the bill of sale once signed. Instead, they need to create a new document.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

The list below contains commonly asked questions along with answers.

Do You Need a Bill of Sale to Register a Car?

Some states require a signed bill of sale to register a vehicle; however, having this form is always recommended, regardless of requirements. Reference the lists below to determine whether or not to use a car bill of sale form.

A bill of sale IS required to register a car in the following states: Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

A bill of sale IS NOT required to register a car in the following states: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, New Jersey, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

Where to Get a Car Bill of Sale?

Download and electronically fill or print a vehicle bill of sale to complete it. Keep in mind that certain states have a specific form that residents must use. In other words, they cannot handwrite or utilize a generic copy of the document.

Do I Need a Bill of Sale to Sell My Car?

State laws determine whether or not owners need a bill of sale to sell their car. If the state requires a bill of sale for registration, then the buyer and seller must complete the document (unless stated otherwise).

While not needed in some states, it is a good idea to fill out a bill of sale to prove the purchase happened. It confirms that the new owner paid for the vehicle and has rights over it. Similarly, it shows that the previous owner effectively carried out the sale and is no longer liable.

What Does a Car Bill of Sale Look Like?

Each bill of sale form looks different, especially if the state of residence has an official document. Nonetheless, a car bill of sale generally has six (6) sections: 1) buyer and seller information, 2) vehicle details, 3) payment, 4) odometer disclosure, 5) signatures, and 6) notarization.

The sections allow the buyer and seller to include pertinent information about the sale. Listing the details prevents miscommunication before or after the sale. It also tells third parties that both individuals agreed to the terms and conditions of the trade.

Does a Car Bill of Sale Need to be Notarized?

Most states do not require notarization, although having a notary seal or stamp indicates the authenticity of the form. Courts, lawyers, judges, and other personnel trust notarized documents. They signify that an officialized third-party verified both parties’ identities, witnessed the agreement, and observed the signing.

The following states require notarization of bill of sale forms: Arizona, Hawaii, Louisiana, Maryland, Missouri (for rebuilt vehicles or upon request only), Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, and West Virginia.

How to Get a Car Title with a Bill of Sale

To get a car title with a bill of sale, make an appointment at a local DMV office. Bring the bill of sale, other required accompanying documents, and a valid form of payment. Present the bill of sale form to the clerk to prove rightful acquirement and ownership.

What to Put on a Bill of Sale for a Car

The most important facts on a car bill of sale are the buyer’s and seller’s contact details, vehicle information, payment, and signatures. Providing these details validates the property transfer to the new owner, who properly compensated the previous owner for it. Additionally, if the trade happened by gift, it verifies that the recipient has rightful ownership.

Can You Handwrite a Bill of Sale for a Car?

In most cases, yes, you can handwrite a bill of sale for a car. However, before beginning the handwritten form, contact a local DMV office to ensure that this is legal in the state.

Using a pre-made form saves time and ensures both parties have included the necessary information. It also gives the buyer and seller peace of mind knowing the legitimacy of the bill of sale document.


Sample Car Bill of Sale

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