The vehicle bill of sale is the written document that testifies to the completion of a transaction concerning a vehicle.

Every time a vehicle is sold, the purchase must be accompanied by a document that has all the relevant information on the parties involved, as well as the identifying information of the vehicle.

Not only is it proof that the buyer is now the legal owner of the car, but they will also have to use it to register the vehicle at the DMV. Different states may have some special provisions regarding the vehicle bill of sale, but the general sections are the same.

What Is a Vehicle Bill of Sale?

In most states, it’s mandatory to issue a vehicle bill of sale for every transaction involving an automobile. When you buy a new car from a dealership, they usually handle all the paperwork, including the bill of sale for the car and the registration process.

But when you buy a vehicle from an individual, you have to handle all that by yourself. And since the transactions between private parties are quite numerous, the automobile bill of sale is a frequently used document.

The car bill of sale is the formal document that registers all the essential pieces of information in the purchase of a car. It mentions the buyer, the seller, and the relevant details of the vehicle.

In a private transaction of a used vehicle, the buyer must know all the essential facts about the car: the identifying information, and the history of the car, concerning warranty issues or previous accidents and malfunctions.

That’s why the used car bill of sale has to be as complete and as accurate as possible.

What Is Included in a Vehicle Bill of Sale?

Since the Department of Motor Vehicles requires the bill of sale for car form, the information contained by the document has to be complete and correct. For that reason, it’s best to create it starting from a bill of sale template pdf.

It’s also crucial to check for any special requirements your state may impose before you start writing the bill of sale. These are the elements every vehicle bill of sale must include:

  • Identifying information of the seller and buyer: full name and physical address.
  • A detailed description of the vehicle: make, model, year of fabrication, vehicle identification number (VIN).
  • The price the seller and the buyer established together.
  • The date of the transaction.
  • The payment details and date.

Apart from these, some states may require some individual sections, like an emissions certificate or other inspections.

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Most states have the same regulations concerning the vehicle bill of sale and the registration of a newly bought car. Before issuing a bill of sale for a car, make sure you are well informed.

You can also add whatever mentions you consider relevant to the document. To write a complete and accurate bill of sale, start from a well-written template. You can try the one CocoSign created, and also take a look at all the other useful templates in the library.

Bill of Sale for Car FAQs

Should I sign the bill of sale for the car before payment?

Yes, it’s ok to sign the bill of sale before payment; the vehicle bill of sale mentions all the essential details, including the price, and both parties sign the document. That means that the buyer is bound to pay the amount written in the bill of sale.

Depending on what the two parties decide, the payment can be made later, and that mention must be made in the bill of sale.

Is a witness necessary when issuing a vehicle bill of sale?

The law doesn’t usually request witnesses and the presence of a notary public in most states. However, that doesn’t mean that one of the parties involved cannot demand it if they need an extra safety measure.

Also, if the buyer and the seller aren’t at the same location when the transaction takes place, they can each have the document notarized separately.

Can the car bill of sale be handwritten?

Yes, if you want, you can write the bill of sale for the car by hand. But since it’s a formal document, it’s best to write it using a template. You can easily find a free one online; all you have to do is fill in the data and print it.

Can you back out of a bill of sale for a car?

If the buyer changes their mind and asks for their money back once the vehicle bill of sale was signed, there is no obligation for the seller to agree to the refund. You could not force them to cancel the sale unless there were some specific provisions in that sense in the document.

Is the car bill of sale legally binding?

The vehicle bill of sale is a contract between two private parties. As long as it’s issued following the guidelines established by the state, it is legally binding.


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