30+ Free Bill of Sale Forms and Templates

Bill of Sale Form

When two people transfer the ownership of a property between themselves through a private sale, they don’t receive a receipt as is the norm with typical transactions. The alternative is to record the transaction through bill of sale forms.

What Is a Bill of Sale?

A bill of sale is a formal, legal document that outlines the purchase and sale of personal property such as a vehicle, boat, furniture, livestock, or pet. It indicates the seller and buyer details, item description, purchase price, and terms of sale. Upon signing, it transfers the ownership, liability, and title from the seller to the buyer, now the new owner.

When selling a vehicle privately, a bill of sale is a legal requirement in most states as it allows the buyer to register the vehicle in their name.

How a Bill of Sale Works

The bill of sale will vary in complexity depending on the type of transaction being made, the value of the item, and the state laws surrounding its sale. Bills of sale can be:

  • Absolute: This bill of sale does not provide any protection for the buyer and is considered final and complete upon signing.
  • Conditional: This bill of sale protects the buyer by imposing warranties and guarantees from the seller. It is valid as long as the set conditions are made.

Bill of Sale Forms and Templates

How to (Privately) Buy or Sell a Vehicle

The most common use of Bill of Sale Forms across the board is recording the private transfer of ownership of vehicles. This process involves the following steps:

Step 1: Negotiating the Terms of sale

The buyer and seller must agree on the purchase price, date of payment, and payment method. If the transaction involves cash payment, they must agree whether it will be done in full or installments.

Step 2: Preparing the Relevant Documents

The seller must prepare the vehicle title and registration to apply for one from the DMV if theirs is a mission. This could take 10 to 14 business days. Additionally, they must sign an odometer disclosure statement if the vehicle is below 16,000 pounds and less than 10 years old.

Step 3: Locating the VIN

The VIN can be run through a system to determine the repairs, auto accidents, and ownership history associated with the vehicle.

Step 4: Conducting an Inspection

For the damages that don’t show up alongside the VIN (because they were not reported), the buyer should arrange for the vehicle to be inspected by an expert third-party mechanic.

Step 5: Signing the Bill of Sale

Once the terms have been agreed to, the buyer and seller must meet and exchange the funds for the vehicle and its relevant documents. Both parties must then sign a completed bill of sale and the title.

Step 6: Registering the Vehicle

After the exchange, the buyer is free to register the vehicle in their State, which they must do within a specified period. To do this, they must present the following documents to their local DMVV office:

  • A signed copy of the bill of sale
  • Government-issued ID
  • The odometer disclosure statement
  • A car insurance card
  • An emissions test, if required by the State

The buyer will also be required to pay a registration fee at the DMV.

Key Terms — Bill of Sale

To understand how the bill of sale forms work, it is crucial that you learn the terms used within the document. The most important ones are:

  • Buyer – The person willing to pay to obtain the item.
  • Seller – The current owner of the item being sold.
  • Property – The item being sold.
  • Payment – The money paid by the buyer to obtain property.
  • Gift – Exchange of ownership of an item without compensation.
  • Trade-in – A transaction where the buyer offers the seller another item in exchange for the item being sold or as a discount.
  • As-is – A clause in the bill of sale that affirms that the item is being sold in its present condition, with no warranty.
  • VIN – Abbreviation for Vehicle Identification Number, a unique 17-character combination of letters and numbers that identifies a vehicle.
  • Notary Public – A neutral third-party certified by the State to witness and confirm the signatures on official documents.

How to Write a Bill of Sale

Most states provide a bill of sale form that can be completed to record a transaction. If they do, or you have to download one, writing a bill of sale is as easy as filling in the right information in the blank spaces. Here is a detailed guide:

Step 1: Fill in the Bill of Sale Details

Start by indicating the date the bill of sale was created, otherwise called the date of the agreement, and the county and State where the transaction will happen.

Step 2: Identify the Parties

Supply the name, contact information, and valid mailing address of the buyer and seller. Refer to government-issued IDs for these details.

Step 3: Summarize the Exchange

Describe the type of transaction as a cash payment, trade-in, or gift. If the buyer must pay for the item, note the purchase price, date of payment, and preferred payment method. For a traded-in, describe the item being exchanged and indicate the value of the item being gifted for the gift option.

Step 4: Describe the Item

The item description will depend on the type of property being sold. Common examples include:

  • Vehicle (make, model, year, color, type, VIN, odometer reading)
  • Horse (age, date of birth, sex, breed, markings, sire, dam, health condition, vaccinations)
  • Furniture (make, type, color, size)

Tip: The odometer reading of a vehicle can be read on the dashboard display and the VIN on the lower side of the windshield on the driver’s side.

Step 5: Define the Tax Status

Mention if the local, state, and federal taxes involved in the sale are included in the purchase price.

Step 6: Sign the Bill of Sale

Complete the bill of sale by having the buyer and seller affix their signatures and signature dates.

Bill of Sale Format

A bill of sale is a form of a fillable legal document that records the purchase and sale of personal property through a private transaction.

This bill of sale represents the agreement made on {date} in {county, state name} between {buyer’s name} of {buyer’s mailing address} or the Buyer and {seller’s name} of {seller’s mailing address} or the Seller. The Buyer and Seller agree to the following terms:

EXCHANGE: The Seller agrees to transfer ownership of the item to the Buyer upon receiving a payment in the amount of {amount}.

OR, The Buyer agrees to trade in their property described as {property description} and pay {amount} to the Seller for the property being sold.

OR, The Seller agrees to gift the property of {amount} value to the Buyer.

PROPERTY: The Buyer agrees to purchase from the seller, the property described as {vehicle/boat/furniture, etc., description}.

LAWS: This agreement is written and governed by the laws of the State of {state name}.

TAXES: The purchase price {includes/does not include} the local, State, and federal taxes involved in the transaction.

WARRANTY: The Buyer agrees to purchase the item in as-is condition with no implied or expressed warranties. The Seller confirms that the information provided in this bill of sale is accurate to the best of their knowledge.

AUTHORIZATION: The transaction shall be considered complete and binding upon the execution of the following signatures:

Buyer: {signature}, {signature date}

Seller: {signature}, {signature date}

Odometer Disclosure Statement (for vehicles)

I, {Seller’s name} affirm to the best of my knowledge that the odometer reading of {miles}:

A: Is accurate

B: Is not the actual mileage

C: I sin excess of mechanical limits.


“As Is” Vs. Warranty

An item in a private sale can be sold as-is or with a warranty, each of which scenarios offers different levels of protection. If a product is being sold as-is, the seller does not offer a warranty or any guarantee after the sale and is not liable for any visible or unseen defects. An item sold with a warranty comes with protections for the buyer, which must be defined in the bill of sale. The seller must indicate when and for which reasons the warranty is valid.

Title Notarization Requirements

Eight states in the United States require that private buyers and sellers notarize vehicle titles after a transfer of ownership. These states are:

  • Pennsylvania
  • Arizona
  • Louisiana
  • Kentucky
  • Oklahoma
  • Ohio
  • Montana
  • North Carolina

Note: The buyer and seller must sign the document before a certified notary, who will affirm that the signing parties are mentioned in the title and are signing out of their own volition.

A Brief History of Bills of Sale

Bill of sale is a term that was originally coined to refer to pieces of writing that evidenced the absolute transfer of ownership of personal property for money or other value. These writings were not subject to common law and thus did not guard against fraud until later changes were made in contract law.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is a Bill of Sale required when selling a car?

Yes. A buyer must have a bill of sale to register the vehicle in their State and obtain a title. The seller should also have a copy to defend themselves from liability if there is ever a legal dispute.

What is the difference between the Bill of Sale and Sales Agreement?

A bill of sale can or fail to include a warranty for the item being sold, while a sales agreement must include a warranty.

When is a bill of sale necessary?

In many states, you will be required to prepare a bill of sale for transactions involving items above a certain value or vehicles, heavy equipment, firearms, and large animals. Refer to your state laws before conducting a private transaction.

What are Different Types of Types of bills of sale?

A bill of sale can be absolute, conditional, quitclaim, or with a warranty. An absolute bill of sale records a transaction that doesn’t involve payments or restrictions past the date of sale, while a conditional one outlines criteria that must be met to complete the transaction.

A quitclaim bill of sale, on the other hand, describes a transaction where the seller makes no guarantees about their claim to the item because they don’t have documentation that proves ownership. A bill of sale with a warranty prevents the seller from claiming ownership of the property past the sale.

What are the essential elements of bills of sale?

The basic bill of sale should contain the buyer and seller names and mailing addresses, item description, purchase price, date of sale, transaction location, terms of sale (as-is or with warranty), and buyer and seller signatures. It is also important that the seller guarantee that the item holds no liens or debts.

What does “as is” mean in a bill of sale?

As-is in a bill of sale means that the item is being sold in its present condition, with all its faults and that the seller will not accept liability for any defects that crop up after the sale.

What payment methods can be used in a bill of sale?

The payment method will depend on the seller’s preference with common choices including cash, trades, electronic transfers, bank drafts, and certified checks.

Who signs a Bill of Sale?

Essentially, a seller’s signature is enough to complete a bill of sale, but some states require that both parties sign the document. Other jurisdictions also require witness signatures and notarization so check your local laws.

When should you provide a bill of sale to the buyer?

The seller must provide the buyer with the bill of sale upon full payment or receipt of a promissory note for the balance.

Key Points

A seller usually prepares a bill of sale form to describe the terms of the purchase and sale and act as proof of sale. They are a requirement when the buyer is registering the purchased property as their own and highlight the buyer and seller details, item description, purchase price, date of sale, transaction location, and terms of sale. Generally, bill of sale requirements varies across jurisdictions, so you should always refer to local laws when conducting a private transaction.

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