North Carolina Motor Vehicle Bill of Sale Form


A North Carolina motor vehicle bill of sale form is an official legal record designed to provide evidence of the sale and transfer of a car within the state. The document serves as proof of purchase and outlines the precise details of the transaction. Its format protects both parties from potential misunderstandings, conflicts, or legal issues arising when ownership changes hands. Furthermore, the form lets the owner register the vehicle with the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles (NCDMV).

  • Statutes: Chapter 20 – Motor Vehicles
  • Signing Requirements: The buyer and seller must complete the form to establish it as a valid contract enforceable under state law.

What is a North Carolina Car Bill of Sale?

A North Carolina car bill of sale aims to provide legal documentation for a car transfer. The document identifies both parties and includes the vehicle’s make, model, and year of production. It has other essential details, such as previous damage and associated costs. Once both parties validate the transaction through signing, the document becomes a permanent sales record. Therefore, each person involved should safely store a copy of the bill of sale.

What are the Buyer’s Tasks?

Paying attention to detail and doing adequate research when purchasing a vehicle is essential in ensuring a satisfactory purchase. Furthermore, the buyer must complete several tasks during this process. They must compare prices, review financing options, and obtain a car history report to ensure it has a clean title without damages or mechanical issues.

The potential consumer should also take the time to test drive the vehicle to ensure it meets their expectations. Individuals should only buy from reliable dealers that have satisfactory customer service histories and provide warranties. Before signing on the dotted line, the purchaser must read each document thoroughly and ask questions.

What are the Seller’s Tasks?

Selling a vehicle is often time-consuming as the owner must complete several tasks before finalizing the sale. These steps become essential to ensure their protection and the fluidity of the transaction. Furthermore, sellers must research the current market of their vehicle, prepare it for the transfer, advertise it, negotiate with buyers, and complete the required paperwork.

Once they find a buyer and discuss the details of the sale, they must take care of the following responsibilities:

  1. Sign the title with the buyer and include the purchase price.
  2. Complete a vehicle bill of sale with the buyer.
  3. Provide the buyer with documentation relevant to the car, such as the odometer disclosure statement (Form MVR-180), maintenance records, and damage disclosure statement (MVR-181).
  4. Remove the license plates from the vehicle and return them to the NCDMV. Sellers cannot keep the plates or give them to the buyer.
  5. Notify the NCDMV of the sale and cancel liability insurance for the car.

How to Register a Car in North Carolina (4 Steps)

New residents of North Carolina must obtain an in-state driver’s license and transfer their title and registration within sixty (60) days of establishing permanent residence. Vehicle inspections are necessary for renewals but are usually unnecessary when registering a vehicle for the first time in the state. Individuals driving an unregistered or untitled car may face legal citations and fines.

Step 1 – Insurance

According to G.S. 20-309, all vehicles registered in North Carolina must obtain liability insurance through an in-state licensed company. This insurance must include coverage of $30,000 for the bodily injury of one (1) person, $60,000 for the bodily injury of two (2) or more people, and $25,000 for property damage per incident. When selling a vehicle, owners should only cancel their insurance once they have returned their license plates to the NCDMV.

Step 2 – Safety & Emissions Inspection

Vehicle owners must carry out safety inspections before registering or renewing. These assessments must occur within ninety (90) days of the vehicle’s renewal. If the county requires emissions inspections, the individual must have a technician complete this task during the appointment. Failure to meet these regulations by the due date will result in the state blocking the vehicle’s registration. As a result, law enforcement can take action by issuing tickets or other penalties.

Step 3 – Title & Registration

In North Carolina, all vehicles in active use must have a proper title and registration. License plate agencies handle the documentation process and have specific requirements for residents to follow. When registering, owners must present the vehicle title (or registration card), a North Carolina driver’s license, a title application (Form MVR-1), odometer disclosure (Form MVR-180), proof of vehicle insurance, a valid inspection, and pay the required fees.

Vehicle owners must present their driver’s licenses and pay required title fees and property taxes to the NCDMV to obtain a title. The state only requires a bill of sale when the buyer purchases from a dealer. If more than one (1) person owns the car, each owner must also provide their photo identification and sign the necessary forms in front of a notary. Individuals who want another person (i.e., an agent) to handle the title and registration process must sign a power of attorney and give the agent a black-and-white copy of their driver’s license. New residents or non-residents who bought a vehicle in the state must obtain a North Carolina title before acquiring a registration.

Step 4 – Renew

Individuals must renew their registration annually to operate their vehicles legally. They can do so up to 15 days after the registration expires; however, the NCDMV applies late fees ranging from $15-25 for all late renewals.

The NCDMV sends a renewal notice (sample) to residents approximately sixty (60) days before their vehicle registration expiration. This notice includes information about the vehicle and the property taxes owed. To successfully renew, the individual must have current liability insurance and proof of inspection(s) within the previous ninety (90) days.

Three (3) methods exist to renew vehicle registrations: online, in person, or by mail. The online renewal process requires the individual to have their license plate number, the last five (5) digits of the vehicle title number, and their prior registration card number (or MyDMV account). They must also pay the flat rate fee of $3 for online payment processing. Alternatively, individuals avoid the convenience fee by renewing through the mail or at a license plate agency.