How to Write a Bill of Sale for a Vehicle

As a required document in most states, a Bill of Sale will legitimize the sale of a used vehicle, be it an automobile, motorcycle or boat. This document should contain the seller's and buyer's names and contact information, as well as any details pertinent to the sale, such as payment terms or liens. The risk of legal disputes are reduced, since the terms of the sale are set in writing, and can provide you with peace of mind once the vehicle has left your possession.

Obtain a Bill of Sale form for your state. In most states, this form can be downloaded directly from your state's Department of Motor Vehicles website. If your state does not offer a Bill of Sale form, you may opt to create your own or download a generic Bill of Sale from the Internet (see the Resources below).

Step 1

Complete the Bill of Sale by writing in your full legal name and address as the seller. You will need to do the same for the buyer as well. Include the date of the sale, in addition to the year, make and model of the vehicle that is being sold. Complete the Bill of Sale by including the vehicle's Identification Number (VIN) and, if available, the vehicle's current odometer reading.

Step 2

Sign the Bill of Sale. Both the selling and buying party must sign the Bill of Sale before it will be recognized as a legitimate document. Some states may require the Bill of Sale to be signed in the presence of a Notary, who will notarize the document to assure its validity.

Step 3

Make two separate copies of the Bill of Sale. You will submit one copy to the Dept of Motor Vehicles and keep the other copy for your own records. Give the original Bill of Sale to the buyer.

Step 4

Report the sale of the vehicle to the Dept. of Motor Vehicles immediately. This will absolve you of any responsibility in the event that the buyer is involved in an accident before they can register it under their name.

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