Bill of Sale Template

Here you can find a sample bill of sale template that you can adapt and use for any transaction between yourself and another person or party. Our bill of sale template is designed for use between a buyer and seller (two separate parties) and contains space to write whatever financial terms of the arrangement you desire as well as the seller’s signature. Sometimes, a bill of sale example form may also have a line for the buyer’s signature.

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Our bill of sale template is designed for use between a buyer and seller (two separate parties of the agreement) and contains blank spaces to write whatever financial terms of the arrangement you desire to include, as well as the seller’s signature. Sometimes, a bill of sale example form may also have a line for the buyer’s signature. All in all, to buy or sell a car, a motorcycle, a boat, or a trailer, the buyer and seller should opt for drafting a bill of sale of a specific kind. Read our detailed description of the bill of sale document and discover the benefits of this agreement a buyer and a seller conclude.

Bill of Sale Form Template Glossary

As-Is – This defines the item or service described in the bill of sale as “sold or purchased in its current condition.” In a legal sense, it means that the buyer was okay with any perceived defects or faults at the time of purchase and cannot use those faults as legal ammunition in a lawsuit after the fact. An as-is bill of sale also protects the seller from being forced to refund the buyer for any issues for defects, even if they are discovered after the fact.

Buyer – the purchaser of a service or item.

Seller – the person or party who gives up an item or service for purchase.

Gift – this is legally defined as giving something to a “buyer” without the expectation of compensation.

Payment – any legal tender used to pay for an item or service in a transaction.

Notary public – a third-party public officer without any stake in the transaction who can confirm the legitimacy of the signatures for both the buyer and seller. Such individuals can be found at professional services or a local bank.

Trade-In – a transaction where a buyer offers an item to a seller for an item of the Seller’s own. The buyer’s item is perceived to be equal to in value or at a slight discount compared to the seller’s item. As an example, motor vehicle owners may decide to “trade-in” their used car for a slight discount on a new vehicle held by the seller.

VIN – this is a Vehicle Identification Number, a 17-character code of letters and numbers that serves as a unique piece of identifying information for a vehicle. A VIN must be included on a bill of sale form if the transaction concerns a vehicle.

What Is a Bill of Sale Document?

A bill of sale is a simple legal document that essentially acts as a receipt or record of a transaction that took (or will take) place. It records that an item was passed from the ownership of one person (a seller) to another person or party (a buyer). It contains all of the necessary and appropriate information about the sale and the condition of the personal property being sold or bought. The aim of this document is to serve as a legitimate record, including:

  • The date and time of the personal property transaction
  • The price for the item or service paid by the buyer
  • Warranty information if applicable
  • Some specifications regarding the item of personal property or service (descriptions)

A bill of sale should be filled out by both parties (buyer and seller) of a transaction and both parties of the agreement should retain a copy of the signed legal document for proof of purchase or payment. Bills of sale are designed to be used when the exchange of payment is made in full at the time of the purchase and when both parties (buyer and seller) agree to buy or sell the item in its current condition or “as-is.”

A bill of sale might also be known as a proof of payment, proof of purchase, proof of sale, sales receipt, or sales slip.

Bill of Sale Form Template Types

The bill of sale document comes in a wide variety of types depending on the transaction at issue. Most people use bills of sale for expensive items or pieces of personal property like cars. Automobile, motorcycle, RV, firearms, and boat bills of sale are incredibly common and usually include a line for the VIN (vehicle identification number) for the motor vehicles being transferred. This is also partly because most states require you to use a bill of sale form to register your vehicle (at least if the transaction is for $500 or more).

Others may use a bill of sale document for boats or other types of watercraft, particularly expensive ones like yachts. However, people can also use a bill of sale for cheaper items or property like firearms, furniture, tools, exercise equipment, appliances, and more.

Individuals may also use a bill of sale for transactions of other personal property. Bicycles, jewelry, clothing, and more can all be covered under a bill of sale form, although they may not have a VIN line. Instead, they may have an additional line for a serial number or piece of identifying information that can be attached to the asset in question.

A bill of sale may have more open lines for the description of what is being traded. For jewelry, for instance, the line may be filled in with the description of the object for the purposes of identifying it later.

You can use a bill of sale for the transfer of animals as well. Dogs, cats, other household pets, and larger or more expensive animals like horses can all be transferred using these documents.

In short, a bill of sale form can be used for whatever you like as long as it has space for all of the pertinent information and spots for the seller’s signature.

Who Should Use a Bill of Sale Template?

A bill of sale should be used by anyone looking to buy or sell an asset of significant monetary worth, and especially when they don’t know the other participant very well (for instance, when buying or selling online). The paperwork serves as a layer of security for the buyer and seller. Good situations to use a bill of sale form include:

  • When buying or selling a new or used motor vehicle
  • When buying or selling an item through a trade website like Craigslist
  • When selling or purchasing any used electronic or high-value item
  • When buying or selling an item with a strong likelihood to depreciate over the next few years
  • When buying or selling an item when proof of ownership is required for insurance or registration (i.e. firearms, a vessel, a vehicle, or a pet)

Note that the last instance still applies whenever there is a “gifting” of an item. If a parent were to gift a vehicle to their child, they would still need a bill of sale so that the child could prove their ownership of the vehicle for registration and insurance.

What to Include in a Bill of Sale Form?

A bill of sale may seem like a simple legal document that doesn’t need to contain much information. Still, it’s essential to provide accurate and comprehensive details to make your bill of sale valid and useful for both parties (buyer and seller). Properly created, it will serve as a receipt of the ownership transaction and as a solid legal instrument should a dispute arise. Therefore, you are recommended to include the following information in your bill of sale: 

  • Parties’ contact details. First of all, you should identify the parties of the deal—the buyer and seller. It’s necessary to indicate each full name and address. If applicable, you can also include emails and phone numbers.  
  • Personal property type. It’s important to identify the property to be sold. A bill of sale is usually used when buying or selling personal property and expensive assets, such as motor vehicles, watercraft, or equipment. You will need to include a detailed description of the item with its serial number, if any. For the vehicle purchase and sale, such description includes the vehicle’s make, model, and year of manufacturing, an MVR (motor vehicle report) including the odometer disclosure, and vehicle identification number (VIN).
  • Purchase price. The amount of money paid for the property is also required to be in your bill of sale. Any encumbrances, such as liens or loans on the title, should also be included in the document, as well as taxes applied. 
  • Warranties and representations. If there are any warranties or representations from the seller, they all need to be included in the bill of sale. If there are no warranties, the document should state that the personal property is sold “as-is,” meaning without warranties. 

Date and signatures. After you create your bill of sale, you will need to indicate the date and put the signatures of the buyer and the seller. In some states, including Louisiana, Nebraska, Maryland, New Hampshire, West Virginia, and Montana, you will have to notarize the document, so it’s essential to find your local requirements.

More About VIN (Vehicle Identification Number)?

While creating a car bill of sale, apart from the price, condition, and mileage on the odometer, you should add a VIN to the description of the item you want to sell or buy. The VIN is a 17-character sequence including capitalized letters and digits. It identifies the car as a unique item with its specific conditions, specs, and production information. A car bill of sale should include the VIN to minimize risks for the buyer of a used vehicle. If the VIN in the bill of sale differs from one on the car, transfer of ownership is not recommended.

How to Get a Free Bill of Sale Template?

FormsPal provides a free bill of sale template that you can use for most legal ownership transactions in the United States. However, you can also write your own bill of sale form using the step-by-step guide below.

How to Write a Bill of Sale Form Correctly?

1. Download a Template in Adobe PDF or Word Format

Wondering how to create a bill of sale form? There are a few ways you can do so.
Most common business programs like Microsoft Word, Adobe PDF, or OpenDocument Text can let you edit and print out downloadable templates that you can use to create your own bill of sale form by filling in the relevant information.

You can also create your own bill of sale online with the help of our form-building software.

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However, in the event that you don’t have access to these programs, you can write your own bill of sale legal document by following a few guidelines:

  • Keep your language clear and to the point.
  • Outline your information in a logical and easy-to-understand format.
  • Leave spaces for any personal or detailed information. All writing in the template should be explanatory or transitioning information between fillable slots.

When writing your bill of sale document, follow the outline below:

2. Provide Identifying Information

Start with the identifying information of both the buyer and seller. Include space for names, mailing addresses, and the date of the ownership transaction. It may also be helpful to include the location of the deal or a spot to write it in. Be sure to clearly mark which of the two parties is the buyer and seller by writing this information after either of the two blank spaces.

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3. Fill Out the Vehicle Description

Write the item details of the vehicle or other object below the transaction type section. If it is a motor vehicle, be sure to include spaces for the make, model, body type, color, year of manufacturing, MVR (motor vehicle report) comprising the odometer miles. All of this serves as identifying information.

Next, write a section for including the 17-character vehicle identification number (VIN) if the document is for a motor vehicle.

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4. Indicate Ownership Transaction Type

Proceed with the transaction type: payment, trade-in, or gift. Leave space for each type. There should be a blank space included for either the amount to be paid for the value of the item in question (in the event that it is a gift). A check-mark box serves well to indicate which kind of ownership transaction the bill of sale is for.

Furthermore, this section of the bill of sale form should include what legal tender or valuables are being exchanged for the item under consideration. Dollars, Bitcoin, or anything else should be clearly marked.

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5. Check Taxes

Fill in the taxes section. This states that all municipal, county, state, and any other taxes related to the item or motor vehicle are included in the purchase price. Taxes may not apply if the deal concerns a different kind of personal property.

If taxes do not apply, write two checkmarks: one for taxes applying and one for them not. Then, during the ownership transaction, you can simply check the box marking that taxes don’t matter.

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It is wise to leave an additional spot open for any applicable terms and conditions. For instance, if it is a car bill of sale document and the vehicle being traded includes the floor mats or other accessories, leave space for specifying this below the VIN and taxes information.

6. Attach the Odometer Disclosure Statement

For a motor vehicle bill of sale, write a spot specifically for the Odometer Disclosure Statement. This confirms that both the buyer and seller knew what the odometer was set at and agreed to the ownership transaction. Leave space to write the odometer reading, the name of the person agreeing, and a checkable box or two to certify that the information is accurate for either party.

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7. Finalize with a Certificate of Acknowledgement

Add a Certificate of Acknowledgement at the bottom of the car bill of sale form. This should have a small paragraph detailing that a third-party notary public was present at the transfer and oversaw the signing of the document. Leave space for the date of the signing and the names of the buyer and seller.

The paragraph should end with an exit phrase like, “Hereby recognized by my official seal and signature,” or something similar, then space for the Notary’s signature, printed name, and their commission expiration date. You can use an e-signature to get your bill of sale signed.

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Any VIN, Title Notarization Requirements?

As to notarization of the bill of sale document, be it a vehicle bill of sale, a boat bill of sale, or a firearm bill of sale, different states have distinctive requirements set. Let us take a look at this aspect of the bill of sale and compliance between the seller and buyer of a transferred item.

After signing a bill of sale document, a buyer will need to complete the transfer of title. A certificate of title is a document that confirms the new ownership of the property (usually a vehicle or real estate). 

The rules and procedures vary by state when it comes to transferring titles. Many issues might arise when a person needs to transfer a car title. In most states, the vehicle buyer can simply contact their local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and apply for a title in their name. However, some states require the title to be notarized. These states include Arizona, Kentucky, Louisiana, Montana, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, and Pennsylvania. 

  • Ohio, for example, requires the title to be notarized and signed by both buyer and seller. If there are two or more owners listed on the title, they all must sign in the presence of a notary public. However, they are not obliged to do it at the same time and with the same notary. 
  • In Montana, a notary public is allowed to notarize “open titles,” that is, without the buyer being identified. 
  • In North Carolina, only the seller must sign the document in front of a notary public. 

Even if you live in a state that does not require you to get a notary acknowledgment, it’s worth considering having one. A title notarization may be beneficial for both parties. The buyer will prove that they are the personal property’s new owner, and the seller will release themselves from any liability related to the property. If you want to notarize the title, you will have to take the following steps:

  1. Find a notary and appoint a meeting. 
  2. Appear in person, bring the title, bill of sale, and identifying documents.
  3. Sign the title in front of a notary.
  4. Pay the fees.
  5. Get your documents notarized.

Clarified Bill of Sale Description?

Bill of Sale Form and Title Transfer

A bill of sale document doesn’t prove ownership, legally speaking. Instead, it records the ownership transaction and notes the agreement of both parties (buyer and seller) at the time of the deal. A title transfer will transfer ownership via the title of the item to another person or party. If a car bill of sale is concerned, it also notifies the government or your local DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) of the new owner of the personal property or item in question, as well as its complete description.

Bill of Sale and Invoice

An invoice is a request from a seller to a buyer for payment for services or goods rendered or to be rendered. An invoice is a lot closer to a typical bill.

Bill of Sale and Warranty Deed

A warranty deed is evidence that ownership of a piece of real estate transferred from one participant of the deal to another. However, you cannot have a warranty deed for other objects. A bill of sale for any other item is used as a document to record ownership transactions for other types of personal property.

Bill of Sale and Sales Agreement

A bill of sale document is essentially a formal receipt while a sales agreement is a contract that lets you begin negotiations for a deal. You can spell out details of the ownership transaction including the purchase price, quality, or quantity of a product or service.

FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions

Why do I have to use a bill of sale?

A bill of sale is necessary for transferring some pieces of property (particularly expensive pieces like motor vehicles, watercraft, motorcycles, trailers, or firearm items) to protect both the buyer and seller from legal abuse. Without a record of the ownership transaction, one party (buyer or seller) could attempt to sue the other through slander or libel. Furthermore, a bill of sale is sometimes necessary for the taxes. For instance, when a motor vehicle changes ownership, a bill of sale is needed so that the taxes and registration information is correctly assigned to the new car, pistol, or boat owner instead of still being applied to the previous owner.

What payment methods apply in a bill of sale?

You can use any payment method you wish so long as it is specified in the bill of sale. Most bill of sale documents record cash as the payment method, although others may use mobile or internet banking options like PayPal.

You can also use repeated payments for a vehicle bill of sale or a bill of sale form for any other item. The payment period and amount to be paid each period (such as how many dollars per month) must be specified in the corresponding section of the bill of sale.

Who keeps the bill of sale’s original?

The buyer keeps the bill of sale’s original copy (and a digital copy in Word or Adobe PDF format), although the seller should also keep a copy for their own records. The buyer keeps the original bill of sale since the most basic of these documents only have space for the seller’s signature.

What makes a bill of sale valid?

A bill of sale is valid as long as it fulfills all of the agreements of your local jurisdiction. This means that you should always check with your state requirements when composing a bill of sale to ensure that you include room for all necessary items. For instance, some jurisdictions require that both the buyer and seller sign the bill of sale, meaning that you need two signatures instead of just one. Some jurisdictions also require that witnesses be present for a bill of sale form completion.

Furthermore, a bill of sale for vehicles must have the VIN on the document in the correct space to be valid.

Lastly, the Certificate of Acknowledgement is recommended to be included and completed by a notary public for a bill of sale form to be notarized and hence valid.

Can you register a vehicle with a car bill of sales and no title?

Yes, although it depends on your jurisdiction. Georgia, for example, allows you to register your vehicle as long as you have a bill of sale.

The state requirements will vary, but in general, you can bring your printable bill of sale and other documentation to your local DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles). After you submit the bill of sale in Adobe PDF, Word, or other formats, you will be sent a letter telling you the amount of your new vehicle’s surety bond, which you will then buy from an insurance provider approved by the DMV. This bond makes sure that the motor vehicle doesn’t have any problems or liens to let you be registered as the new owner.

After purchasing the surety bond, you may then apply for a bonded title, which will list you as the legal owner of the motor vehicle.


Published: Sep 15, 2020
Mara Erlach
Mara Erlach
Writer & Attorney
Mara has been practicing estate planning and trust law in California since 2003, taking pride in helping clients of all backgrounds and asset profiles form a complete and customized estate plan. Her specialties are: estate planning, wills and trusts, trust and probate administration.