Whether buying or selling a car, most people are usually unsure of exactly how it should be documented or recorded and what paperwork might be needed for the transaction. There are two main documents to make sure you get completed correctly and ensure that the transaction and ownership transfer is successful and secure.
Original Title Document
The number one most important document, is the original title document of the vehicle being sold. On this original “Transfer By Owner” or “Assignment” section need to be completed, signed and then filed with the state, thus transferring registration of the title of the vehicle to the buyers name and property.
Bill of Sale
The other document that we also suggest securing, is a car Bill of Sale. This bill of sale will ensuring proper ensures that the sale, sales price, condition of the car and the hold harmless clause indemnifying both buyer and seller are documented.
Why is a Bill of Sale Needed?
Whether purchasing or selling a car, there are two distinct reasons for securing a bill of sale:
- Vehicles vary in price, and as such, you want proof of the transaction to prevent someone else claiming false ownership of the vehicle, transaction disputes, or in the event that the vehicle is involved in an accident or injures someone.
- It is a requirement in all states that a car must be registered with the department of motor vehicles. In order to register a car, proper documentation showing or proving ownership will be required.
What is Required on a Bill of Sale to be Valid?
Basically a bill of sale, is like a contract between buyer and seller of a vehicle. What is considered a valid bill of sale will vary by state, but the following general rules must apply in a contract:
Offer: An intent or promise to sell or exchange a vehicle for an amount of money. This offer could also be subject to certain condition of the sale from the buyer or the seller.
Consideration: The amount of money that is being exchanged in the transaction. It is best to write this in written and numeric format so as to prevent any possible confusion claims.
Acceptance: Acceptance section where both parties sign on the form.
Competence and Intent: Ensure that both buyer and seller entering into the agreement are competent, meaning they are of legal age, sound mental state, and do so willingly and not forced or impaired. The transaction also needs to be lawful as any contracts pertaining to illegal acts are not binding.
Ensure there are two copies of the bill of sale, one for the buyer and one for the seller. Keep your copy in a safe place, preferably also in digital format as you may need it for registration, disputes or other claims.
Car Bill Of Sale Template
This standard bill of sale template should be sufficient in the following states: