If you are looking to buy or sell a motorcycle privately, you will need to record the transaction through a formal document called a Bill of Sale. It is to such sales what a receipt is to normal day-to-day purchases. Essentially, it captures the seller, buyer, motorcycle, and transaction details to act as proof of purchase and ownership change.
Selling or buying a motorcycle is no simple task; it also involves an exchange of liability. If the motorcycle is involved in a legal issue, the seller must be able to prove that they no longer own it, which can be achieved through a Bill of Sale. This article will help you learn how to draft this crucial document.
What Is a Motorcycle Bill of Sale?
A Motorcycle Bill of Sale is a document that captures the agreement between a seller and buyer to exchange a motorcycle for cash or funds. After the transaction, it is presented to the DMV to apply for a title and registration and later used to get insurance. The document outlines the identities of the buyer and seller and describes the motorcycle by year, make, and model, among other descriptions.
It is important to note that, unless otherwise stated in the agreement, a motorcycle is usually sold in as-is condition., which means it will come with all its present flaws, unseen or not. If you require an inspection or repairs, you will need to negotiate this before signing the Bill of Sale.
Motorcycle Bill of Sale (Word Template)
Why Is a Motorcycle Bill of Sale Important?
Completing and signing a Bill of Sale for a motorcycle transaction will benefit the buyer or seller in the following ways, it will:
- Serve as a reference for the terms of sale if a dispute ever arises between the buyer and seller.
- Act as proof of ownership as it is a legally binding contract.
- Be presented to the DMV as a requirement when applying for title and registration.
- Be presented to an insurer when applying for insurance coverage.
- Help the seller avoid liability for future legal issues the motorcycle might be involved in.
Process of Selling a Motorcycle Bill of Sale
One of the key things you should do when selling a bike is to advertise it. Getting it in front of as many eyes as possible will diversify your market reach and allow you to sell it at the best price. To get there, however, you will need to follow these steps.
Step 1: Prepare the Motorcycle
Have your motorcycle been inspected and repaired by a licensed mechanic to remove any visible (and invisible) flaws like rust? Next, wash and wax the finish with traditional wax and take clear pictures of the bike. You will use these to advertise your motorcycle.
Step 2: Determine its Worth
Look for similar motorcycles in your area and compare the prices through an online price estimator like the Kelley Blue Book (KBB.com).
Step 3: List and Advertise the Motorcycle
List your motorcycle on as many platforms as possible, including online stores, magazines, local newspapers, and classifieds.
Step 4: Negotiate with the Buyer
Meet with potential buyers and negotiate your terms until you find an interested party. If you trust them, you can let them test drive the bike.
Tip: Always conduct these negotiations in a public place.
Step 5: Complete the Transaction
If you and the buyer agree on the terms of sale, set a closing date for the transaction. On the set date, show up with the motorcycle and its title and registration. The buyer must then provide the funds as a money order, certified check, cashier’s check, or wire transfer.
Step 6: Complete the Bill of Sale
Once you and the buyer have made the exchange, complete and sign a Bill of Sale to complete the transaction, show up with and ask that the buyer bring their government-issued ID for identity verification.
Essential Elements of a Motorcycle Bill of Sale
The content of a Motorcycle Bill of Sale will vary from transaction to transaction depending on the State in which the transfer is happening. That said, almost all Bills of Sale will include the following details:
- The effective date
- The buyer and seller’s names, contact information, and mailing addresses.
- The selling price
- The motorcycle description (make, model, color, year, etc.)
- The Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)
- The odometer reading
- The buyer and seller’s signatures and signature dates
- Witness signatures.
- A notary seal and signature (applicable in 6 states)
Motorcycle Bill of Sale Examples and Templates
How to Write a Motorcycle Bill of Sale
A motorcycle bill of sale, once signed, is a legally binding agreement between the buyer and seller and should thus be prepared carefully and in accordance with state laws. Here is a step-by-step breakdown of the process:
Step 1: Identify the buyer and seller by name, contact information, and mailing address. Provide a copy of your government-issued ID and ask the buyer for theirs for this step.
Step 2: Prescribe the motorcycle’s selling price, pay-by date, and acceptable payment method.
Step 3: Describe the motorcycle by make, model, year, and color. Indicate its VIN, which can be found stamped on the bike’s metal frame or written in the title and registration.
Step 4: Date and sign the Bill of Sale in the presence of witnesses. The presence of witnesses, unless required by State law, is optional but advisable.
Step 5: Notarize the Bill of Sale (optional unless required by the state).
Frequently Asked Questions
Notarization of a Bill of Sale is a legal requirement in Maryland, Louisiana, Montana, West Virginia, New Hampshire, and Nebraska. It is optional in all other states but highly advisable.
In most states, it is illegal to transfer ownership of a motorcycle without a title. Even when you are not required to present it upfront, you may be obligated to do so later. Always check your state’s laws regarding this matter with your local DMV.
If you have a motorcycle that you acquired before titling began in your state, go to your local DMV and apply for a title. They will run the bike’s VIN to ensure it is not stolen then process your title.
Once completed, a Motorcycle Bill of Sale becomes final and legal proof that the seller has transferred ownership of the bike to the buyer. Both parties will need to maintain a copy of the document, and the buyer will use it to apply for title and registration at the DMV in their state.