The motor vehicle bill of sale form is a written contract between a buyer and seller for the exchange of an automobile for cash, trade, or both. This form is legally required to facilitate the transfer of possession and to register the vehicle.
For the bill of sale to be legal, it must contain the following:
- Buyer and Seller information – Names and Mailing Addresses.
- Vehicle Description – Body Type, Make, Model, Year, and any other information that should be mentioned.
- Purchase Price – To be paid as a single payment, down-payment with balance to be paid later, payment with trade-in, or simple trade.
- Liens and Encumbrances – If there are any existing liens on the vehicle they should be mentioned and stated how they shall be released.
- Vehicle Condition – List any repairs or defects.
- Additional Details – If there are any additional details in regards to the purchase and sale of the vehicle it should be mentioned. Verbal agreements are not accepted in most States.
Per federal law, all vehicles sold in the United State must have an Odometer Disclosure Statement attached to the Bill of Sale. Otherwise the sale is not considered valid and the State will refuse to register the automobile under the Buyer’s name.
- Vehicles that are either older that nine (9) years or over 16,000 pounds are exempt.
To register the vehicle with your State’s Bureau or Department of Motor Vehicles (BMV / DMV) the Title is necessary. The Title to a vehicle (See the California Sample for reference) acts like the deed to real estate and is the official record-keeper of all owners of the vehicle. After the sale has been completed, the seller will usually give the Title to the buyer along with writing the transaction details on the back (different laws in every State).
- If the Title to the vehicle is not available or the seller does not have it, a duplicate may be obtained by the Seller by the State’s Bureau of Motor Vehicles (or the Department under the State’s jurisdiction).