Paperwork is usually the least interesting part of buying or selling property, but from a legal perspective it’s often the most important part of any transaction. We’ve already discussed the importance of a purchase agreement, but a Bill of Sale is something a little different.
What is a Bill of Sale Used for?
In its simplest form a Bill of Sale is simply a document that shows who sold an item, who purchased that item, and the dollar amount for which that item was purchased. For the seller, this paperwork is mostly ceremonial and is used primarily for record keeping to show that they no longer own the item in question. But for buyers, a Bill of Sale is much more important. In many states, new vehicle owners cannot complete insurance or registration/licensing forms without a Bill of Sale. These documents are also often used to determine any state or local taxes that buyers must pay in conjunction with their registration and licensing.
What Do I Need to Include on a Bill of Sale?
While the required information on a Bill of Sale will vary slightly from state to state, all will include required information like the name and address of the buyer and seller, the sale amount of whatever was sold, and any registration, VIN or plate numbers specific to the item being sold. Additional information will vary depending on whether it was a car, boat, camper or motorcycle that was bought, but most state DMVs have instructions on their websites as to what details need to be included. You can also fill out a free bill of sale on our site that includes a section for notary public stamping if it’s required in your state.
Who’s Responsible for the Bill of Sale?
While either party can draft a Bill of Sale, it never hurts to come with a blank or partially completed form of your own in case the other party forgets – especially if you’re the buyer. You may even want to bring multiple copies so that each person can have two copies for their records. If you happen to be buying from a dealer, the dealership will draft up all the necessary paperwork for you.
Again, paperwork and the details required on a Bill of Sale will vary slightly from state to state, so be sure to consult your local DMV to ensure that both parties are aware of what’s needed. If the requirements are in any way unclear, err on the side of gathering too much information from both parties. This can save you the time and hassle of trying to track down the buyer or seller after the sale is complete.