California Vehicle Bill of Sale Form

A California motor vehicle bill of sale form is an essential document that displays particulars of a sale agreement between the buyer and seller in California. It is a legal document that shows the particulars of the transaction such as the buyer and seller’s name, purchase price, date of sale, inspection date, and other relevant details. The bill of sale assists individuals to purchase a genuine car without falling into the hands of fraudsters. After filling out the bill of sale template, the buyer and seller must sign it to complete the agreement.

California bill of sale forms – see other bills of sale common in California.

Read this article to learn more about bills of sale in general.


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Registering a Motor Vehicle in California

After completing the sale, the buyer must proceed to the registration process. You must call the Division of Motor Vehicle (DMV) office to book an appointment to register your vehicle. Take note that you must conclude the process before the lapse of 30 days after the purchase. Ensure that you start the paperwork to avoid last-minute inconveniences. If you bought your car from a local dealer, the owner would have to process the registration papers for you. However, if you bought it from a private party, you have to collect a few documents for presentation at the DMV.

First, the auto bill of sale is a mandatory document to prove the transfer of ownership and the original title for the car with an odometer reading. If you do not have the title, you must file an Application for Title or Registration (Form Reg 343).

In California, a smog certificate is crucial when you want to register your car. It is typically a requirement if the car is below ten years old. However, if the seller had a smog certificate with two-year renewal validity within the last ninety days, you can still present it at the DMV. If you need more information about the smog inspection certificate, you can visit the website. Here, you can search the information with your zip code to find out your local station and if the county you reside in conducts smog inspections.

You must also produce proof of identification and the insurance agency. It is vital to ensure that you are the legitimate purchaser of the vehicle. As a buyer, you must foot the costs of the title, CHP, registration, plus any other valid taxes that arise from the process.

It is imperative to note that all of these safety inspections mentioned above are not necessary if you are registering a new vehicle.

The buyer, on the other hand, must get a copy of the Release of Liability (Form REG 138) and fill out all of the information. It is a legit document informing the State of California that the buyer is no longer liable for the vehicle after the sale.

Another vital document for new California residents is an Approved residency document from the website. You must submit proof of residency among the other documents.

Once you gather all of the above paperwork, please submit it to the DMV office and register your car.

California Vehicle Bill of Sale Form Details

Document Name California Vehicle Bill of Sale Form
Other Names California Car Bill of Sale, California Automobile Bill of Sale
Relevant Link California Department of Motor Vehicles
Registration Fee Varies depending on vehicle type, purchase price, city/county, dates etc.
Required by the State? No
Avg. Time to Fill Out 7 minutes
# of Fillable Fields 59
Available Formats Adobe PDF
Template Preview
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How to write California Vehicle Bill of Sale

Down below, you will see the guidelines written by drawing upon the template developed by our experts. But, should there be a document supplied by your local authorities, it’s recommended to use it in the transaction.

Step 1: Indicate the date when document is created and filled out.
Part for indicating creation date of vehicle bill of sale for California

Step 2: Provide the purchaser’s and seller’s particulars:

  • Name
  • Street address
  • City
  • State of residence
  • Area code
  • Mobile phone number
  • Email
    Purchaser's and seller's information indication section of California car bill of sale

Step 3: Type in the descriptive details of the car:

  • Manufacturer
  • Model
  • Body type
  • Model year (MY)
  • Odometer record
  • Color
  • Identification Number
    Part for descriptive details of car of California motor vehicle bill of sale document

Step 4: Now, you need to specify the way in which you will receive money for the vehicle.

This stage also involves providing the date of the purchase and the full amount approved by both sides of the transfer. After that has been concluded, you need to indicate the way of transaction:

  1. One-time transaction. Absolutely nothing difficult here: on the same day, the buyer has the motor vehicle transported to them and transfers the full amount of money.
  2. Trade-in. Using this option, the seller agrees to trade their motor vehicle for the purchaser’s motor vehicle with an added payment from the buyer. You’ll also have to add the information about the purchaser’s automobile.
  3. In installments. Specify the deposit amount plus the exact date when it has to be given, along with the date by which the entire amount must be transferred to the seller.

After that, select one transaction method:

  • Cash
  • Cheque
  • Cashier’s cheque
  • Money order

Finally, indicate if the purchase cost includes all applicable taxes.
Payment method and amount indication section of bill of sale for vehicle for California

Step 5: Read through the miscellaneous provisions.

The “as-is” part states that the property owner gives no warranty and will not be responsible for maintenance after the transaction.
Section of miscellaneous provisions of California bill of sale form for automobile

Step 6: Now, the form must be signed.

The purchaser is usually not required to sign the document. But, it’s advised to get the bill of sale signed by all sides. As an additional safety measure, you can have one or two people attest the process and sign the form.
Signing section of vehicle bill of sale document for California

Step 7: Have a notary public attest the bill of sale

Notarization is normally not required, but it can be a great option to introduce one more layer of legal protection to the transaction.

The original bill of sale copy has to be presented to the purchaser as they are going to need it to get a title to their new motor vehicle. As a seller, you may either make a copy and store it or have a pair of identical documents signed and completed by both sides.
Notarization section of a document of motor vehicle bill of sale for California

Published: Sep 17, 2020