Motor Vehicle (DMV) Bill of Sale Form

When purchasing a motor vehicle through a private transaction, you don’t get the standard receipt and title offered to other buyers who buy from dealers and retailers. This does not mean that you and the seller don’t need to document the transaction; you do, and you can do it through a Bill of Sale.

A Bill of Sale, also called a car purchase agreement, acts as proof of transaction and change of ownership. This article highlights all you need to know about preparing one when buying or selling a vehicle.

Motor Vehicle Bill of Sale Form


Motor Vehicle (DMV) Bill of Sale 20210810

A motor vehicle bill of sale form is a fillable document that can be completed to outline the terms of a transaction involving a motor vehicle and serve as proof of purchase.

Download: PDF


    What Is a Motor Vehicle Bill of Sale?

    A Motor Vehicle (DMV) Bill of Sale is a formal document that captures the terms of the sale of a motor vehicle between a buyer and seller. It is considered valid once completed and signed (which happens upon full payment) and can be used to apply for a title transfer with the DMV. Generally, it acts as a receipt to prove that the sale happened and the vehicle has changed ownership.

    Why Do You Need a Vehicle Bill of Sale?

    As mentioned, a Bill of Sale acts much like a receipt and can be used to prove the transfer of ownership in a private transaction involving a motor vehicle. This is useful when:

    • Registering for a title at the DMV
    • Filing your taxes
    • Applying for insurance
    • Determining liability for a legal matter based on ownership, i.e., the seller can confirm that they do not own the vehicle and are not liable.

    How to Use a Motor Vehicle Bill of Sale

    Buyer: The buyer can use their copy of the Bill of Sale when filing for a transfer of title at the DMV if required by the State in which the purchase occurred.

    Seller: The seller can use their copy of the Bill of Sale as proof that they no longer possess the vehicle and cannot be held liable for any legal trouble involving it.

    Required Information for a Bill of Sale

    A valid Bill of Sale must contain the following details about the involved parties and the transaction:

    • The buyer and seller’s names, contact information, and addresses.
    • The vehicle description by make, model, year, body style, and color.
    • The VIN, a 17-character code unique to the motor vehicle that can be used to track its registration.
    • The sale price, payment method, and effective payment date.
    • The condition of sale, which could be as is or include a warranty.
    • Warranty information, where applicable.
    • Sales tax inclusion (if applicable).
    • The odometer disclosure statement, which is a record of the vehicle’s mileage that must be provided as required by federal law.

    Process of Transferring a Vehicle Title

    Although the process of transferring a vehicle title varies from State to State, it generally involves the following steps:

    • Completing a Bill of Sale by the seller.
    • Signing the Bill of Sale by both parties.
    • Notarizing the Bill of Sale (mandatory in Ohio, Louisiana, Montana, Arizona, Oklahoma, and Pennsylvania).
    • Signing over of the title to the buyer.

    After the last step, the buyer becomes the official owner of the vehicle and can register it as their own with the DMV in their State.

    How to Write a Motor Vehicle Bill of Sale

    • Step 1: identify the buyer and seller by name and mailing address.
    • Step 2: Define the terms of sale by payment method, sale amount, and conditions of sale like financing, warranty, or sold in as-is condition.
    • Step 3: Supply an effective date, which is the date the Bill of Sale takes effect.
    • Step 4: Complete the Bill of Sale by filling in the information outlined above under the subheading ‘Required Information.’ Refer to the guidelines on your State’s DMV website to determine which details to include.
    • Step 5: Check the other party’s government-issued ID to confirm the information provided.
    • Step 5: (The seller) provides the buyer with the certificate of title. You can obtain it from the DMV, if you don’t have it, at around $20 within 10 to 14 business days.
    • Step 6: (Both parties) Sign the Bill of Sale and maintain a copy.
    • Step 7: (Only mandatory in certain states) Have the Bill of Sale notarized.

    After this process is done, the seller will receive their payment and hand over possession of the vehicle to the buyer, who then has 10 days to register it with the DMV. The buyer will need to present the Bill of Sale, a valid ID, certificate of title, and proof of insurance.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Do I need a bill of sale to register a vehicle?

    It depends on the State in which the sale is happening. Tennessee and Illinois, for example, do not require a Bill of Sale to register a vehicle.

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

    As-is in a Bill of Sale means that the seller does not guarantee any warranty and is selling the item in its present condition, with all its faults.

    Does a bill of sale need to be notarized?

    A notary’s presence and signature are optional in all states except Nebraska, New Hampshire, Louisiana, Montana, Maryland, and West Virginia.

    Who signs the Bill of Sale?

    While only the seller needs to sign a Bill of Sale, the buyer and two adult witnesses may also sign it. If the State of purchase requires a notary, the notary will sign under the certificate of acknowledgment.

    Does Texas require a bill of sale for a car?

    No. A Bill of Sale is not a legal requirement in Texas, but it is advisable to create one to act as proof of purchase and transferred liability.

    Is a Florida bill of sale required to register a vehicle?

    No. A Bill of Sale is not a legal requirement in Texas, but it is advisable to create one to act as proof of purchase and transferred liability.

    Is a bill of sale required in Georgia?

    Yes, a Bill of Sale is a requirement if you wish to obtain a title, registration, and license plate for your vehicle.

    What year do you not need a title in Georgia?

    You do not need a title in Georgia for a vehicle 20 years old or older or 1962 or earlier. You only need a valid bill of sale.

    What is the required information for the Alabama bill of sale?

    An Alabama Bill of Sale must outline the motor vehicle description, sale price, effective date, seller and buyer signatures, odometer reading, odometer disclosure, proof of residence, and current registration.

    Conclusion

    A Motor Vehicle (DMV) Bill of Sale is a legal requirement in many states for when two parties wish to complete a financial transaction involving a motor vehicle. The document serves as a formal record of the transaction – like a receipt would – and can also double as proof of purchase. When drafting it, be careful to adhere to your state requirements and follow the guidelines provided in this article.

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