Should I Sign the Bill of Sale Before Payment?

If you’re selling your car to a private-party buyer, you should sign the bill of sale before getting paid. Doing so reassures the buyer that you’re legally obligated to deliver the vehicle so they feel safe paying you. Make sure the buyer signs the bill of sale as well.
We have a technology-driven, self-serve solution that makes signing the bill of sale easy, and protects both parties in a private transaction. We also have an amazing payment gateway that removes the friction from the private sale experience.

Introducing PrivateAuto Pay

PrivateAuto Pay gives you total freedom and control to sell your car securely and fast. It enables instant, fee-free funds transfers so you can get paid on the spot and be done with the sale.

Your PrivateAuto Pay account is actually an FDIC-insured bank account you own, accessed via your PrivateAuto dashboard.
Receive fee-free payments up to $1M from the buyer’s PrivateAuto Pay account to yours.
Instantaneous transfers enable real-time deals—no waiting or coordination. Close the deal when you meet for the test drive.
Funds are irreversible: you get the funds instantly, you own them. The buyer has no control over them after releasing them to you.
Instant payments work 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. No coordinating around banker’s hours.
Easily move money from your regular bank account to PrivateAuto Pay and vice versa.
No exchange of contact information or banking info—your sensitive info stays safe, protecting you from scammers.
Encrypted data protects you from hackers.
Self-service safeguards eliminate the need for an escrow service.
You can even sell or buy a car remotely with our escrow-like protections.

OK, so PrivateAuto Pay is great and all, but it’s a service for users of PrivateAuto’s transactional marketplace. What if you're selling your car on another website, such as eBay Motors?

Enter our DealNow fast-track solution, created to give you access to PrivateAuto’s extraordinary transaction capabilities. If you're selling your car on a platform such as Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace, this is for you.

What is a Bill Of Sale, and Why Do I Need it?

A bill of sale legally documents the transfer of ownership from the seller to the buyer. It memorializes key details of the vehicle sale, including purchase price, vehicle condition, odometer reading, and more.

Some states require a bill of sale to be completed, while others don’t. Regardless of whether your state requires one, it’s a really good idea to complete one and have both parties sign it.

The bill of sale protects both of you in case the other party chooses to contest any aspect of the transaction.

Do not sign over the vehicle title until you have been paid in full for your car.

PrivateAuto simplifies the bill of sale by providing official state forms right in our mobile app. You and the buyer sign electronically and retain the signed document in your PrivateAuto account as a legal record.

When Should I Sign the Bill of Sale?

Sign the bill of sale when the buyer is satisfied with the car, and after the two of you have verified key details like the purchase price, mileage, VIN, and vehicle condition.

Never sign over the title before receiving full payment. Meet in a public place and only accept instant payment methods (hint, hint: PrivateAuto Pay). Steer clear of cashier's checks or other payment methods that take time to clear.

PrivateAuto streamlines the transaction workflow and protects you.

Here's how it works:

1. Inspect the car together, then both you and the buyer digitally sign the bill of sale in the app.
2. The buyer pays you. Funds transfer instantly from the buyer’s PrivateAuto Pay account to yours.
3. Confirm payment, then sign over the title. Your work here is done.

There are no delays or risks. PrivateAuto Pay enables getting paid quickly while legal protections are in place. You can feel at ease using our secure process. All that's left is pricing your car competitively and finding a buyer—we'll handle the safe payment flow and documentation.

What Info Needs to be on a Motor Vehicle Bill of Sale?

Each state has its own requirements for what must be included in a bill of sale, but most include details such as the following:

Seller's info:

Full name
Contact information (phone number and/or email address)

Buyer's info:

Full name
Contact information (phone number and/or email address)

Vehicle info:

Make (manufacturer)
Body type
Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)
Odometer disclosure statement
Vehicle description, including condition

Transaction details:

Purchase price (in words and numbers)
Date of sale (month, day, and year)
Payment method

Additional terms and conditions (if any):

An acknowledgment that the new vehicle owner purchases the vehicle with or without a warranty, as the case may be
Disclosure of known defects or issues with the vehicle
Any agreed-upon repairs or maintenance to be performed before or after the sale
Terms of a return policy, if any
Any other specific terms agreed upon by both parties


Both the buyer and the seller should sign and print their names
The date of signing
Witness signatures, if required by your state, or if desired for extra validation
Notarization (if required or desired—some states require the bill of sale to be notarized, while others don’t).

Carefully review all    information before signing to be sure there are no errors in the document. Serious errors could void the bill of sale or stall the title transfer process.

When you buy or sell a car through PrivateAuto, we include your state’s official bill of sale as part of our in-app process. Both you and the buyer will e-sign the document at the appropriate stage in the transaction, after which the buyer can transfer payment and you can sign over the title.

Where Can I Find a Good Bill of Sale Template?

When you sell through PrivateAuto, there's no need to hunt for the right bill of sale form. We provide an official bill of sale for your state, right in our app.

The PrivateAuto app makes it effortless for you and the buyer to electronically sign the bill of sale after inspecting the vehicle. No printing or scanning is required—just e-sign directly in the app with a few simple clicks.

PrivateAuto is the only platform that offers end-to-end convenience plus rock-solid security, so you can focus on selling your car at top value without hassle.
List your vehicle]( today and see just how easy it can be.

Already listed your car somewhere else? Use our DealNow feature to fast-track a transaction with our infrastructure, even if you have a buyer on another platform such as Facebook Marketplace or CarGurus.

Sell a Car Through PrivateAuto

Sell your car easily and securely with the help of PrivateAuto. Our technology-driven platform helps you find verified buyers, sign documents online, and receive state-specific steps to complete the sale. PrivateAuto Pay gets you paid fast.
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Interested in buying a used car? Browse used cars for sale by owner to find the ride of your dreams.

Bill of Sale FAQ

Do you need a bill of sale to register a car?

Some states require a bill of sale in order to register a car, while others do not. But, even if your state does not require a car bill of sale, it is still a good idea to have one.

A bill of sale can also be used to establish the purchase price for sales tax purposes.

States require a signed vehicle title as proof of ownership.

How does the bill of sale process differ for out-of-state buyers?

Is a handwritten bill of sale legit?

Does PrivateAuto provide the necessary paperwork for a successful transfer of ownership?

How much should I sell my car for?

Who keeps the bill of sale?