Filling out a Bill of Sale Form: 7-Step Guide

  • Hands Shaking After Making A Deal

A bill of sale is a common document when it comes to the purchase and sale of a car. If you are an owner of a used vehicle and you want to sell it to your relative or an auto dealer, a bill of sale will let you record the details of the deal and act as proof of purchase when you come to a local DMV to complete registration. At the same time, a bill of sale can be used to transfer ownership to aircraft, boats, firearms, furniture, pets, mobile homes, trailers, paintings, and a lot of other objects.

The document is generally simple to complete, but failing to do so or writing a bill of sale the wrong way can lead to issues in transferring the ownership of the purchased item.

Once you figure where to get a free bill of sale template (You can get one from, use our 7 steps to filling it out properly.

7 Quick Steps to Filling a Vehicle Bill of Sale

A motor vehicle bill of sale is the most common type of bill of sale. It might also be needed when transferring ownership of large animals like horses and cattle. For any other transactions, a bill of sale is optional.

A motor vehicle bill of sale might be required by your local DMV. However, not all DMVs provide a bill of sale form or instructions on how to fill it out. This is why make sure to take the following steps when filling out a bill of sale template.

Step 1 – Date, location of creation, and the parties

Your bill of sale should start with the date of creation and location of the transaction, including state and county.

Next, indicate who the seller and buyer are. Include the names and mailing addresses of the parties.

Step 2 – Payment information

A bill of sale should specify in what way the buyer will pay for the purchased vehicle. It might be one of the options:

  1. Cash payment. If the seller agrees to accept the payment in cash, the dollar amount should be mentioned in the document.
  2. Trade-in option. It lets the buyer exchange their vehicle for the seller’s car. It is rare that the buyer’s vehicle can be accepted as full payment for the seller’s automobile. This is why a bill of sale should specify the remaining sum that the seller should get along with the buyer’s vehicle.

If trade-in is the condition the parties choose, a bill of sale should include the description of the buyer’s vehicle. It should consist of the vehicle’s make, model, body type, color, and year of manufacturing. It should also include odometer reading in miles. Usually, all this information can be obtained by inspection of an automobile’s interior and exterior.

  1. Gift. The ownership of the seller’s vehicle might be released as a gift, which should be marked in a bill of sale. In such a case, the value of the vehicle should be recorded in the document.
Red VW Beetle

Photo by Gimmel Magaway on Unsplash

Step 3 – Description of the seller’s vehicle

In the next section of a bill of sale, there should be a description of the vehicle which consists of the information on the vehicle’s make, model, body type, year of manufacturing, color, odometer reading in miles, and VIN – Vehicle Identification Number (which can be found on the vehicle title or the owner’s manual).

Step 4 – Tax information

A bill of sale should indicate whether or not the tax that is imposed on the transaction by most states is included in the purchase price by the seller.

Step 5 – Signatures of the parties

The intention to complete the transaction by the buyer and seller should be confirmed by their signatures. The date of signing and the printed names of the parties should be specified in the document as well.

Step 6 – Odometer disclosure statement

A motor vehicle bill of sale should go with a separate document – odometer disclosure statement, even despite the fact that mileage is usually mentioned in the document. A sample of this document or instructions to filling it in might be found on your local Department of State or DMV website. For instance, you can find an odometer disclosure form on the New York DMV website.

Essentially, an odometer disclosure statement is a certification of the seller that their automobile has a certain odometer reading (it should be exactly as recorded in the bill of sale). If you use a ready-made form of the odometer disclosure statement, you should check one of the options:

  • reading is actual
  • reading is not actual
  • reading exceeds mechanical limits

The document should also include the name, address, and signature of the seller and the same information about the purchaser.

Step 7 – Notary acknowledgment

Some states require a motor vehicle bill of sale to be notarized. Even with a finalized bill of sale, ownership might not be transferred without the notary’s stamp. This is why it is important to learn the state’s regulations before completing the sale and filing paperwork with local public offices and agencies.

Featured Photo by Cytonn Photography on Unsplash