How Do I Create a Vehicle Bill of Sale?
When you sell something of value such as a vehicle, you should have a vehicle bill of sale to show who you sold the vehicle to. The vehicle bill of sale also serves as a receipt for you and the buyer. While not every state requires a vehicle bill of sale, it’s always a good idea to provide one since it not only shows that you received money – or a trade – but it can also outline the terms of the sale.
Additionally, depending on your location, you might need the vehicle bill of sale to show you sold a vehicle, so your state or county no longer taxes you on the vehicle. A vehicle bill of sale also proves to the Department of Motor Vehicles that the buyer paid for the vehicle and is entitled to the title and registration. A vehicle bill of sale is also proof that you owe or do not owe money on the vehicle.
Finally, the vehicle bill of sale shows the Department of Motor Vehicles how much you paid for the vehicle, so it knows how much it should charge you for taxes.
Bill of Sale Completion Tips
Only a few things are required in a vehicle bill of sale, but to have a document that protects you and the buyer, you should include more than the minimum.
- Make sure you get the buyer’s correct and complete name and physical address. If you have an issue with the title down the road, or if the buyer breaks the contract, you will need to know how to contact him or her. Check the buyer’s driver’s license to get the name and spelling correct.
- Make sure the vehicle bill of sale is clear as to whether the seller paid for the vehicle in full or if the seller will make payments on the vehicle.
- Include the price of the vehicle on the vehicle bill of sale.
- Mark the method of payment, whether it is cash, money order, check, a credit card, Paypal, or a trade. If you are accepting a trade, be sure to put a full description of the item you are accepting in trade. Additionally, put the value of the trade on the vehicle bill of sale, plus the balance in cash, check, money order or credit card.
- Make sure the date of the sale is correct.
- Include the correct description of the vehicle, including the year, make, model, VIN, current mileage and the current license plate number (don’t forget to remove your plate).
- Add the city, county and state the transaction took place.
- The signature of the buyer and seller. Often, a vehicle bill of sale only includes the signature of the seller, but some states may not consider it a valid contract if it is not signed by both parties.
Most importantly, you need to include the warranty information. If you do not, the buyer could come back and insist you said or implied the vehicle had a warranty, and could force you to honor the warranty.
If you are selling the vehicle “as is” with no warranty, be sure the vehicle bill of sale states that and that the buyer understands that as soon as he or she takes possession of the vehicle that it is no longer your responsibility, even if it breaks down at the end of your driveway.
Most sellers will insist on taking the vehicle for a test drive, but if they do not, they cannot hold you responsible. On the other hand, you cannot lie about the condition of the vehicle, nor can you omit something important that the buyer might not see immediately, such as a broken water pump. The vehicle will still run, and it will take several minutes for it to get hot enough to overheat, so the buyer might not realize it until he or she gets down the street. You probably wouldn’t be able to sell another vehicle if you did not give the buyer his money back, knowing you sold him a vehicle that had a bad water pump.
Top Mistakes to Avoid
While having a notary available is not mandatory, if the transaction is between you and someone from a different state, it might be a good idea to have a notary on hand – or at least a third party to witness the sale. A lot of people try to scam others who are selling vehicles, and they are usually from out of state. The scammers also say they are in the military. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t trust someone who says he or she is in the military, but you should ask for a military ID in addition to the buyer’s driver’s license.
Never hand a vehicle bill of sale or the vehicle title over to the buyer until you have full payment in your hands and you verify that the payment is valid. Once you hand over the vehicle bill of sale, it’s difficult to prove that you didn’t get paid.
Make sure you and the buyer have a signed copy of the vehicle bill of sale. If your state requires you to record the vehicle bill of sale with your county clerk, file it as soon as possible, preferably the same day or the next working day.
Finally, contact the Department of Motor Vehicles and notify it that you sold the vehicle. Give the representative the buyer’s information. That way, if the buyer gets into an accident or gets a ticket before he or she transfers the title, you have another layer of proof that you no longer own the vehicle.
Examples to Learn From
In some cases, the buyer and seller might make additional terms and conditions, such as a partial cash payment and a trade of services. FormPro forms have room for all of the information you need on a vehicle bill of sale, including a space for additional terms and conditions.
Joan has a 2011 Ford Echo to sell, but also needs her house pressure washed. She agrees with the buyer that the buyer will pressure wash the house for a value of $500 and will pay $1,500 in cash for the vehicle. Additionally, Joan agrees to detail the vehicle prior to the sale date.
If the seller does not place these terms in the price section, he or she should place these terms in the section for additional terms and conditions. Always be sure to spell out services and not use a “catch-all” phrase.
Joan agrees to have Bobby Buyer pressure wash the house, but Bobby Buyer must use a specific type of soap because of the type of siding. Joan needs to specify the type of soap since that is part of the deal. Bobby also agrees to repaint the outside of the crawlspace with weatherproofing since pressure washing often weakens it – the buyer and seller should specify the type of weatherproofing and the distance above ground to paint the weatherproofing.
If you do not have additional terms and conditions, you should mark the space “Not Applicable” so that the seller cannot add anything after the fact, especially if you each have a copy of a vehicle bill of sale with original signatures.
Who Signs the Vehicle Bill of Sale?
In some cases, a title might have a married couple’s names on it, or it might have only one spouse’s name on it. The vehicle bill of sale should contain the same names that are on the title. If the title has both names, then both should sign the vehicle bill of sale. However, if the title has one spouse’s name, that is the spouse who should sign the vehicle bill of sale, except in extenuating circumstances or if the spouse has a power of attorney.
Visit Form Pros to Create Your Vehicle Bill of Sale Today
Form Pros‘ vehicle bill of sale has everything you need to protect yourself in a vehicle sale transaction, including warranty information and room for more than one signature. Our intuitive forms ask the necessary questions so you can create a vehicle bill of sale that protects you quickly, without spending hundreds on a lawyer. We offer customized forms to help you in many areas including: business, family, personal transactions, real estate and taxes.
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