Driver's Guide

How to Write a Bill of Sale for Used Car

Howdy, Driver? It is important to know how to write a bill of sale for a car as a seller. A Bill of sale is required in some states as a document that confirms the purchase of a vehicle, and the buyer would be expected to issue a bill of sale to register a car, obtain a temporary license, transfer car title, etc.

how to write a bill of sale for a car

You have to write a bill of sale when selling a car, it serves as a proof that the buyer and holder of the bill of sale is the legal owner of the car and it states any agreement that exists between the seller and buyer of the car. A bill of sale is a major requirement in some states for registrations, so the owner of the car must possess it.

A bill of sale can be a sales receipt for a used car purchase. In a bill of sale, you will write out the name of the parties involved in the vehicle deal, their addresses, drivers license ID, and phone numbers.

If you have a used car to sell, get a bill of sale form from the local motor vehicle department in your state. However, if your state does not provide a bill of sale form, you may write a bill of sale for a used car.

In this article, I will disclose the information you must know regarding how to write a bill of sale for used car.

Before You Write a Bill of Sale

Before you write a bill of sale, find out whether your state has an authorized bill of sale template.

I am assuming that you confirmed from the website of your local DMV before arriving here to learn how to write a bill of sale for used car.

If you are reading this guide as a buyer, the dealership will issue you a bill of sale, but you can read on to discover the information on a typical bill of sale.

Also, note that states have priority information that must be provided in a bill of sale. You do not have to worry about what information your state makes a priority because I will show you how you can write a bill of sale for a car with the relevant information your state would demand.

How to Write a Bill of Sale for a Car

Firstly, search the web for a sample bill of sale template for your state.

How do you write up a bill of sale for a car

Below are the steps regarding how to write a bill of sale for a used car:

  1. Write the Introduction

Of course, you will begin writing a bill of sale with a clear title stating “Bill of Sale”.

It passes the information that it is a bill of sale document. You may choose to write in block letters or capitalize the first letter of each word only.

Below the title, write a brief introduction about selling the vehicle to a new owner.

  1. Location of Sale

Write the name of the state and country where the transaction of the vehicle takes place.

  1. Enter the Personal Information of the Buyer and the Seller

Regarding how to write a bill of sale for used car, you must enter the personal information of the buyer and the seller.

You will define the buyer of the vehicle and yourself if you are the seller.

If there are multiple owners or multiple buyers for the car, you must capture their personal information in the bill of sale.

The personal information you need for a bill of sale for a car includes the name of the participants of the transaction, addresses, phone numbers, and drivers license numbers.

  1. Write the Transaction Date

You must specify the date of the transaction because some states require the date for official purposes.

For example, to drive without a license plate in some states, you have between 2 and 30 days from the date on a bill of sale to drive the car without receiving a citation or having the car impounded.

If the buyer picks up the vehicle on a day different from the day he made payments for the car, you must include in the bill of sale for used car.

And if you would be delivering the vehicle to a buyer on a certain date, include the date and time in the vehicle bill of sale.

  1. Provide Payment Information

You need to include information about the cost of the car and the payment method the buyer uses to receive the payment.

If you are giving out the car as a gift, specify that it is a gift in the bill of sale. You should further disclose the relationship that the giver shares with the receiver. For example, whether they are married couples, father-child, mother-son, brother-sister, etc.

Meanwhile, if the transaction requires a deposit, you should ascertain the method of payment.

  1. Describe the Vehicle

Be careful not to enter the wrong information here.

The information you require to describe a vehicle in the bill of sale are:

  • Make: Toyota, Chevrolet, Volkswagen, etc.
  • Model: Rav4, Mustang, Passat, etc.
  • Location: Where the vehicle is situated currently
  • VIN (Vehicle Identification Number)
  • Body type: SUV, SEDAN, etc.
  • Model year: 2025, 2030, etc.

Also, include other descriptive information such as the color of the car, current mileage, and previous damage.

  1. Warranty Information

A bill of sale for a used car should contain information about the warranty status of a car.

For example, if there is a warranty for the vehicle, you will include the information about the warranty and the sales invoice in the bill of sale.

If you sell the car “as is” (no warranty), you must include in the bill of sale and it specifies that the buyer is also aware that the deal is “as is”.

If you do not want to be responsible for the damages caused by the buyer eventually, you may write “No warranty attached” or “buyer is responsible or liable for damages and repairs of this car after purchase”. The statement will protect you against being liable for damages the vehicle may suffer in the future.

  1. Record of Maintenance

You may have to include the vehicle record of maintenance if you have any.

It is optional to do so but the buyer may request that you issue the maintenance record(s) of the vehicle.

If you have none, contact your mechanic for copies of the record. Of course, you will include the record in the bill of sale to further confirm that you sold a faultless vehicle to the buyer.

  1. Delivery of Vehicle

Write where the vehicle will be delivered to the buyer.

  1. Cancellation of Tags and Insurance

If there is active insurance or tags associated with the vehicle, the buyer may choose to cancel them and you should write it in the bill of sale.

  1. Signatures of the Buyer and Seller

For a bill of sale to become official and recognized, the seller(s) and the buyer(s) must sign at the end of the document.

You may have to notarize the signatures, though it may not be obligatory in your state.

  1. Odometer Disclosure Statement

The report of the odometer must be accurate and if you must enter write the disclosure statement of the odometer on a separate page if your state demands.

how to write a bill of sale for used car
What a Bill of Sale Looks Like

Who Creates the Car Bill of Sale?

The seller creates the car bill of sale. A dealership that sells a car will offer a bill of sale to the buyer of the vehicle.

If you are a private seller, or if you are dealing with someone that sells a car privately, the seller may have to write a bill of sale for a used car that will be signed by themselves and the buyer.

A private seller may download a bill of sale template from the website of the local DMV.

After a seller generates a bill of sale for a car, the buyer must obtain a copy to use to prove ownership of the vehicle. A buyer may drive the car home with a bill of sale without license plates or a registration in some states.

Can I Write My Own Bill of Sale for a Car?

Yes, you may write a bill of sale for a car if your state does not provide a form for a bill of sale. However, you must find out the details that the state requires for a typical bill of sale before writing or downloading the template online. You may check the motorvehicle department website for the required information.

If your state has a state-recognized bill of sale template, you do not have to create a bill of sale for a car.

Do I Need a Bill of Sale for a Car?

Yes, you need a bill of sale to confirm that you are the owner of the car, particularly after registration.

In some states, you need a bill of sale to apply for temporary permits, title transfer, drive home without license plates, etc.

Overall, a bill of sale is proof that the vehicle belongs to you legally, and that you are liable for the vehicle.

Assuming your car is stolen and recovered by the police, the police impound lot will list a bill of sale as part of the requirements to retrieve your car from Impound.

What Does a Car Bill of Sale Look Like?

The look of a car bill of sale differs in all states.

Below is the information your state may require in the bill of sale:

  • Name of the buyer and the seller of the car.
  • Their signatures
  • A declarative statement
  • Title number of the car
  • VIN
  • General information of the vehicle; name of car, model, year, make, and body-type.
  • Date of purchase
  • Odometer reading
  • Price of car

Final Thought

After writing a bill of sale, you may have to transfer the title immediately or when you feel like, depending on how long your state can permit you to drive without registration.

Ensure that both the seller and the buyer sign the bill of sale and that it is notarized. Not all states make it mandatory to notarize but it is advisable to do so.

And if you encounter any problem in the future, issuing a  signed bill of sale will allow you to be recognized as the legal owner of the vehicle.

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Bernard Juchli

Bernard Juchli is an experienced racer, mechanic and team owner who trusts Avon Tyres.Bernard is the lead driver and force behind his Big Dog Garage Race Team. He is the General Manager and Chief Mechanic of Jay Leno’s Garage. Bernard and his crew of seven are responsible for all repairs, restoration and fabrication of Jay’s incredible automobile and motorcycle collection.

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