A bill of sale for car transactions verifies that you sold your vehicle to a buyer. While not required by every state Department of Motor Vehicles or DMV, this legal document protects you from liability. See why you should consider using a bill of sale for your next used car sales experience and how PrivateAuto makes the bill of sale process easy.

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What is the purpose of vehicle bill of sale?

What are the state-specific requirements for a bill of sale?

How to write a bill of sale?

What are the different types of bill of sale?

Who needs to sign a bill of sale?

Who keeps the bill of sale?

What does a bill of sale means?

What Is a Bill of Sale?

A bill of sale is a legal document that records the transfer of ownership of an asset from one person to another. The asset could be a vehicle, boat, piece of equipment, or any other type of personal property.

A bill of sale provides proof of ownership and can be used to register the asset with the new owner with the appropriate authorities. In some cases, a bill of sale may also be required in order to obtain insurance for the new owner.

In some cases, warranty information might also be included.

Each state might have different requirements for what must be included in a bill of sale, but typically, the document will include the date of the sale, the names and addresses of the buyer and seller, a description of the asset being transferred, the amount being paid for the asset, and a guarantee that the asset is free from all claims and offsets.

Purpose Of a Vehicle Bill of Sale

Similar to the receipt you receive from every other transaction, a bill of sale provides evidence that you signed a contract with the buyer. The certificate of title is an official legal document, but the buyer takes that with them—meaning that you won’t be able to use the title to prove that you sold your car.

While a bill of sale doesn’t guarantee that the buyer will transfer the title and register the vehicle, it does prove that you are no longer legally responsible for the vehicle. You need to follow up by notifying your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) or equivalent that you have sold the car.

When selling your car to a private individual, a bill of sale acts as a safeguard in case the buyer scams you and doesn’t transfer the title out of your name.

A bill of sale shows that you are no longer the owner and are not responsible for any collisions, crimes, or parking tickets after the date of sale. Be sure you also sign the title and the odometer disclosure statement, if necessary, to prove you’re transferring ownership of the vehicle.

A bill of sale can also be used in an auto loan agreement. For example, if you're buying a car using financing, the complete purchase agreement can be framed as a bill of sale, although technically the transfer of title might not happen until all payments required under the loan are made.

When you buy or sell a car, the state you live in often regulate loan/bill of sale combinations because some sellers or lenders may abuse the practices described above.

For example, some sellers may use auto loan/bill of sale combinations to sell cars that have been damaged in accidents or that have mechanical defects. Some lenders may use loan/bill of sale combinations for a loan refinance without the borrower's knowledge or consent. If you're considering entering into a loan/bill of sale agreement, it's important to understand your state's laws and regulations surrounding this type of agreement.

It's a good idea to consult with an attorney and get all relevant legal information before entering into any loan/bill of sale agreement, just to be sure that your rights are protected.

By doing your due diligence upfront, you can help protect your rights in the event that something goes wrong. For instance, if you're considering entering into a quitclaim deed, you'll want to make sure that you understand all the implications first. Otherwise, you could end up losing your property or becoming liable for someone else's debt.

Motor Vehicle Bill of Sale Form Information

The specific form of a bill of sale varies depending on the item being sold and the location. In general, however, your document should include the following information:

  • The date of sale and contact information
  • The Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)
  • Vehicle description, including body type, make, model, and year
  • Odometer reading at the time of purchase
  • The full names of the buyer and seller
  • The agreed-upon purchase price
  • An acknowledgment that the new owner purchases the vehicle with or without a warranty
  • Buyer’s and seller’s signature

This vehicle bill of sale features helps describe the particular vehicle, the scope of the agreement, the sale price, and the parties involved. It may not replace a title transfer application in your particular state, but it does help you retain a legal document stating the scope of the agreement between you and the buyer.
Be sure the document contains enough information to clearly identify you, the buyer, and your vehicle. Carefully review the key information, like the VIN and your full name, 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 until they’re corrected.

Bill of Sale with pen on the paper.

State-Specific Requirements

There are many bill of sale form options you can choose from. Some states require a specific bill of sale for car sales between private parties. Whether you’re selling a junk car or transferring the title of your favorite classic vehicle, be sure you know how bills of sale vary by state.

One state-specific requirement you may need to follow is to have the document notarized. A notary public can witness and verify the signatures before putting a seal on the bill. This helps the motor vehicle department in your state verify the bill of sale is valid and was truly signed by both parties.

Another requirement by some states is a promissory note. This is used to show proof of purchase and the use of installments to transfer ownership of the vehicle.

How To Write a Bill of Sale

There are many different ways to create a bill of sale. A well-written bill of sale may help prevent you from getting scammed when selling online. However, these legally binding documents can be difficult to write on your own.

If you’re concerned about writing up a bill of sale that fits the requirements of your state motor vehicle department, then consider using a bill of sale form (PrivateAuto does this automatically for you).

Most DMV offices have bill of sale forms available for you to print out and sign—or sign online. A technology-driven listing service can also offer e-sign convenience for a straightforward way to prepare this contract. PrivateAuto sellers don’t need to worry about a bill of sale, as our bill of sale is e-signed by both parties as part of the transaction process.

Bill of Sale Types

There are several types of bills of sale, ranging from printed to handwritten to electronic—to types for different scenarios.

Printed Basic Bill of Sale

Traditionally, a bill of sale is a printed document. In even the most basic printed bill of sale, the following information should be included:

  • The names and addresses of both the buyer and seller
  • The description of the asset being sold
  • The date of sale and the purchase price should also be included

There are a few different types of simple bill of sale that can be used in different situations.

Handwritten Bill of Sale

A handwritten bill of sale is—you guessed it—a bill of sale written by hand instead of printed or generated electronically. The handwritten document should include all of the elements of any bill of sale, and it should be signed by the buyer and seller—and possibly by a notary.

A handwritten bill of sale is a valid document as long as it includes all of the required information and signatures.

Electronic Bill of Sale

An Electronic Bill of Sale, also known as an e-bill of sale, is a legal document that allows an individual to transfer ownership of an item to another person. The bill of sale can be used for a variety of different items, including but not limited to vehicles, electronics, and even real estate. In order to create an e-bill of sale, both the buyer and the seller must agree to the terms of the sale and sign the document electronically. Once the bill of sale has been signed, it is considered binding and cannot be altered or revoked.

Motor Vehicle Bill of Sale

A motor vehicle bill of sale is designed specifically for the sale of a car, truck, or motorcycle. This type of bill of sale includes space for information like the make and model of the vehicle, the year it was made, the vehicle identification number (VIN), and the mileage.

Conditional Bill of Sale

A conditional bill of sale is a legal document that outlines the terms of a purchase and sale transaction for a piece of personal property. The document typically includes information about the buyer, seller, and item being purchased, as well as the conditions under which the sale will take place. For example, a conditional bill of sale might stipulate that the purchase is contingent upon the buyer receiving financing or passing inspections. In some cases, a conditional bill of sale may also be used to transfer ownership of property in the event of death or other unforeseen circumstances. While a conditional bill of sale does not guarantee that a sale will take place, it can help to protect both buyers and sellers by clearly defining the terms of the transaction.

“As-Is” Bill of Sale

An "as-is" bill of sale is designed for when an item is sold in as-is condition, regardless of any existing faults. This type of bill of sale can be used for items like clothing, appliances, furniture, or electronics.

In some jurisdictions, a bill of sale must be notarized in order to be considered valid. If you are selling an asset, it is important to make sure that you have a correctly completed bill of sale in order to avoid any legal problems down the road.

Who Needs to Sign Bills of Sales?

Both the buyer and seller must sign a bill of sale for it to be valid. Just like signing your car title, both parties need to sign and date the document to show that the agreement is mutual. This can be done at a notary public or in private if your state doesn’t require notarized signatures.

You can review your state-specific title transfer requirements to see what needs to be included on your bill of sale, or you can use a form from an online listing service for a convenient experience. Simply confirm your state when you create a listing and you can e-sign any relevant documents when you accept an offer from a buyer. This takes the guesswork out of drafting a bill of sale and the frustration out of trying to meet with the buyer to sign this document.

Who Keeps The Bill of Sale?

A buyer and seller should each keep a copy of the bill of sale. The bill of sale is an important document for both buyers and sellers. It protects everyone involved should any disagreements arise in the future. Typically, the buyer should keep the original and the seller should keep a copy.

This document can be used as evidence if there are any disputes about the property sold. For example, if the buyer claims that the property was not as described, they can use the bill of sale to prove what was agreed upon. Similarly, if the seller claims that full payment was not received, the bill of sale can be used to show what was paid.

Without a bill of sale, either party may have a difficult time proving their case in court. By keeping this document, you can protect yourself and your interests should any problems arise.

PrivateAuto provides electronic copies of the bill of sale to buyer and seller in our app.

Person signing a document.

What Does a Bill of Sale Mean?

A bill of sale is a legal document that proves that a transaction between two parties occurred. This document is not only a record of the sale, but it also serves as a way to transfer ownership of the item from the seller to the buyer.

A bill of sale shows that a transaction was completed and cannot easily be undone.

Regardless of its form, a bill of sale is an important document that helps to protect both buyers and sellers in case there are any problems with the transaction.

PrivateAuto’s Easy Bill of Sale Template

If you’re looking to sell a car privately, using a bill of sale is the best way to protect yourself and ensure that the transaction goes smoothly. PrivateAuto makes this process easy by providing an online bill of sale template.

List your vehicle and use a bill of sale template to easily sign this important document. Whether required or not, you can easily send this bill to the buyer and receive an e-signature of the buyer’s name to complete the contract.

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Avoid scams, keep personal information private, and guarantee funds with PrivateAuto. Fast, convenient car transactions. Get started today.

Bill of Sale FAQ

Do I need a bill of sale if I have the title?

It’s a good idea to always have a bill of sale in addition to the title. A bill of sale typically includes information about the buyer, the seller, and the item being sold. It is sometimes required for major sales, like the purchase of a vehicle. The Bureau Of Motor Vehicles can use the bill of sale to keep track of vehicle’s ownership.

The bill of sale serves as proof that the transaction took place and that the item belongs to the buyer.

The title is a document that proves ownership of an asset.

A vehicle title includes information about the vehicle, like its make, model, and year, and vehicle identification number (VIN). The title also includes the name of the current owner. The title is transferred from the seller to the buyer when a vehicle is sold. This ensures that the new owner is able to register and insure the vehicle.

Both documents are important and, in most cases, both are required in order to complete a major sale.

Do you need a bill of sale to register a car

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

The process of registering the vehicle can be a bit confusing. When you buy a car, the dealer usually takes care of the paperwork for registering the vehicle in your name. However, if you buy a car from a private seller, you will need to register it yourself.

In most states, you will need to show some proof of ownership, such as driver licenses, in order to register the car. However, a bill of sale can also be used as proof of ownership.

A bill of sale provides evidence that you are the rightful owner of the vehicle, and it can also be used to establish the purchase price for tax purposes. As a result, even if your state does not require a bill of sale, it is still worth taking the time to obtain one.

Is a bill of sale required in Florida?

If you're selling a used car in Florida, you'll need to provide the buyer with a bill of sale form. This form, also known as HSMV Form 82050 from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles DMV acts as legal proof that the sale took place and that the buyer has taken ownership of the vehicle.

The bill of sale form includes information about the car being sold, information about the buyer and the seller, as well as the purchase price and the date of sale. It's important to keep a copy of the bill of sale for your records, in case you need to reference it at a later date.

One of the most important things to do when selling a car is the transfer of ownership. This ensures that the new owner is legally responsible for the vehicle, and not you.  

You should also make sure that the buyer has filed for a title and registration for the car. If you don't follow these steps, you could be held legally responsible for actions taken with the vehicle, even if you no longer own it.

PrivateAuto makes private vehicle sales easy by bringing the entire transaction process—including e-signing the bill of sale—into our intuitive application.

Can you get a title with a bill of sale in Arkansas?

In Arkansas, a bill of sale is only valid as a receipt for the purchase of a vehicle. It is not sufficient for transferring ownership of the vehicle. To make the ownership transfer official, you will need to complete a title transfer. You can get a title transfer form at your local department of revenue office or online through the Arkansas Vehicle Services Portal.

When you complete the title transfer, you will need to provide the following information: the vehicle's make, model, and identification number; personal information like the names and addresses of the buyer and seller; and the date of sale. If you're using a power of attorney to sign over the car, be sure to include that information as well. Once the title transfer is complete, the new owner will be able to register the vehicle in their name.

Can you get a title with a bill of sale in Mississippi?

A Mississippi motor vehicle bill of sale is a document that proves the legal sale of a motor vehicle and the change of its ownership. The form provides information about the seller, the buyer, and the vehicle that is for sale. The bill of sale is often needed for vehicle registration. It does require notarization.

The Mississippi Motor Vehicle Title Act required a bill of sale as a supporting document when making an application for a Certificate of Title. Many dealers have been following a custom of providing an invoice to the buyer in lieu of a bill of sale.

While an invoice may contain many of the same provisions as a bill of sale, it does not serve the same purpose. An invoice is used to calculate the amount due from the buyer to the seller.

A bill of sale is an agreement between the buyer and seller that transfers ownership of the vehicle and title to the new owner.

If you do not have a bill of sale form, you may be able to get one from your local DMV office, or from the Mississippi Department of Revenue's Motor Vehicle Division. The official Mississippi bill of sale document is form 78013188.

Do I need a bill of sale if I have the title in Idaho?

If you're selling a car in Idaho, you'll need to provide a bill of sale or receipt as proof of the sales price. This is required when titling the vehicle. Without it, the Department of Motor Vehicles will not be able to process your title application. So if you're planning on selling a car in Idaho, make sure you have a bill of sale or receipt ready to go. It'll save you time and hassle in the long run.

What is a living trust agreement?

A living trust is a legal document that allows you to control how your property and assets are distributed after your death. You can choose to have the trust manage your property during your lifetime as well, which can be helpful if you become incapacitated. Living trusts are revocable, meaning that you can make changes to them at any time. They are also private, so your beneficiaries won't have to go through the public probate process. Setting up a living trust requires working with an attorney, but it can be a valuable tool for protecting your assets and providing for your loved ones.