How to Write a Bill of Sale for a Vehicle

Table of contents:

If you are selling or buying a vehicle, you may need to create a bill of sale. This document serves as proof of ownership transfer and outlines the terms of purchase. In this article, we will guide you through the process of creating a detailed and legally valid bill of sale for a vehicle.

Understanding the Purpose of a Bill of Sale

Before we dive into the process, let's first discuss the purpose of a bill of sale. This document is a legal record that documents the transfer of ownership of a vehicle from the seller to the buyer. It contains important information such as the purchase price, vehicle identification number (VIN), and seller and buyer information. Both parties can use this document to provide evidence of ownership and as proof of payment in case of legal disputes.

Legal Requirements for a Bill of Sale

While the requirements of a bill of sale may vary between states, there are basic legal requirements that need to be met. Firstly, the document must clearly state that it is a bill of sale. It should also have the date of the transaction, the names and addresses of the buyer and seller, the vehicle description, identification number, sale price, and signatures of both parties. As mentioned, specific state laws apply to a bill of sale, so make sure you check your state's requirements for additional information.

In addition to the basic legal requirements, there are some other things to consider when creating a bill of sale. For example, it's important to include any warranties or guarantees that the seller is providing with the vehicle. You may also want to include information about any liens or outstanding loans on the vehicle. This can help protect the buyer from unexpected financial obligations down the road.

Protecting Both Buyer and Seller

A bill of sale provides legal protection to both the buyer and seller. As a seller, this document protects you from legal claims by the buyer that the ownership of the vehicle was not transferred. It also protects you if the buyer's payment method bounces or if they refuse to pay altogether. On the buyer's side, a bill of sale protects them if they have a dispute over the vehicle's ownership or if the seller misled them about the vehicle's condition.

It's important to note that a bill of sale is not the same thing as a title transfer. While a bill of sale documents the transfer of ownership, the title transfer is what actually transfers legal ownership of the vehicle. In most states, you will need both a bill of sale and a title transfer to complete the sale of a vehicle.

Another thing to consider is the importance of keeping a copy of the bill of sale for your records. This can be helpful if you need to prove ownership of the vehicle or if you need to refer back to the terms of the sale at a later date.

Overall, a bill of sale is an important legal document that protects both the buyer and seller in a vehicle sale. By understanding the legal requirements and taking the time to create a thorough and accurate bill of sale, you can ensure a smooth and successful transaction.

Essential Information to Include in a Vehicle Bill of Sale

Now that we have covered the basics let's look at the essential information that needs to be included in a vehicle bill of sale.

Vehicle Description and Identification

The first thing you need to include is a detailed description of the vehicle. This includes the make, model, year, color, and any other relevant details. You also need to include the vehicle identification number (VIN), which is a unique 17-digit code assigned to every vehicle by the manufacturer. This number can be found on the car's registration, insurance documents, or on the driver's side dashboard.

Buyer and Seller Information

Next, you need to include information about both the buyer and the seller. This includes their full names, addresses, and contact information. If the buyer is financing the vehicle, you should also include the name and address of the entity providing the financing.

Purchase Price and Payment Details

The purchase price of the vehicle is also an important piece of information to include in the bill of sale. Here, you need to specify the agreed-upon price in both numerical and written forms. Additionally, you need to indicate the payment method agreed upon, including details such as the type of payment, date of payment, and any installment specifics.

Odometer Reading and Disclosure

It is also important to include the odometer reading at the time of sale. If the vehicle is less than ten years old, federal law requires that the odometer reading be included on the bill of sale. In some states, you may also need to include information on whether the odometer has been tampered with, or whether its measurement is not accurate.

Date and Location of the Transaction

Finally, you should include the date and location of the transaction. The date should be written in both numerical and written forms, while the location should be as precise as possible.

Preparing the Bill of Sale Document

Now that you know what information to include, let's talk about how to prepare the bill of sale document.

Choosing a Template or Format

You can find bill of sale templates online or create one yourself using HTML formatting, depending on your preference. Regardless of the format, you should ensure that it meets your state's legal requirements.

Filling Out the Required Information

Once you have chosen a template, fill out the required information that we discussed earlier. Make sure to double-check the accuracy of all the information you have provided.

Reviewing and Editing the Document

It is essential to review the document for completeness and accuracy before finalizing it. Make sure there are no typos or errors that could make the document invalid.

Finalizing the Bill of Sale

Now that you have completed the bill of sale document, there are a few final steps you need to take.

Signing the Document

Both the buyer and the seller must sign the document to make it legally valid. You should sign the bill of sale in the presence of witnesses or a notary public.

Notarization Requirements

Depending on your state's laws, you may need to have the document notarized. Notarization adds an extra level of legal protection to the parties involved.

Providing Copies to Both Parties

Finally, make multiple copies of the bill of sale and provide one copy to each party involved in the transaction. This way, both the buyer and seller will have evidence of ownership and proof of payment, making it easier to settle any future disputes.

ChatGPT Prompt for Writing a Bill of Sale for a Vehicle

Use the following prompt in an AI chatbot.

Below each prompt, be sure to provide additional details about your situation. These could be scratch notes, what you'd like to say or anything else that guides the AI model to write a certain way.


A bill of sale is a legal document that provides evidence of ownership transfer and outlines the terms of purchase. By understanding the legal requirements and the essential information needed, you can create a detailed and legally valid bill of sale for a vehicle. Remember to use the correct format and fill out the required details carefully. Finally, sign and notarize the document and provide copies to both parties involved in the transaction. With this guide, you should be able to write an effective bill of sale and protect yourself during any future disputes.

You Might Also Like...

No items found.