What is a Bill of Sale?
A Bill of Sale is a form that documents the sale of an item and also acts as a receipt showing proof of purchase. It’s a valuable document that can be used in the court of law if ever a dispute arises over the sale of an item. Although mainly used in the sale of used vehicles, it can work in any transaction between two parties involving an item of value.
Other names for a Bill of Sale:
- Bill of Sale Form, Bill of Sale Template, General Bill of Sale, Sample Bill of Sale
|All-Terrain (ATV)||Dog||Livestock (Farm Animals)||Tractor|
|As Is||Firearm (Gun)||Mobile Home||Used Car|
|Business Purchase||Personal Property||Recreational Vehicle (RV)|
Do You Really Need a Bill of Sale?
A Bill of Sale should always be used in private sales between two people. When purchasing products online through websites like eBay and Craigslist, a bill of sale should be used as it’s the only way to protect a buyer from scams due to the nature of a private transaction. Always request a bill of sale in the shipment and if the seller does not include a signed bill of sale, immediately return the product back.
You do not need a Bill of Sale when purchasing products from authorized sellers or companies online from websites such as Amazon or Walmart. They will include a receipt in your package but this receipt that they include is not categorized nor deemed a bill of sale.
When You Need a Bill of Sale Buying/Selling Online
How to Complete a Bill of Sale?
A Bill of Sale is fairly an easy task to complete at a buyer’s request when selling an item. As online shopping becomes more and more popular, including a Bill of Sale upon purchase is a necessity among private transactions. Use this simple guide to complete a bill of sale with your future transactions.
Step 1 – Selecting a Bill of Sale
A Bill of Sale does not need to be specific, however if you are selling a vehicle it’s preferable to have a bill of sale that includes custom fields to enter the vehicle’s information. When selling a basic item that does not have many attributes, a simple ordinary bill of sale will suffice. See Bill of Sale Types and choose your bill of sale accordingly to your item. Always look to make sure that there is an area for the seller to sign, a bill of sale is worthless to the buyer if it goes unsigned by the seller.
Step 2 – Give an Accurate Description
Having the correct information about the item is crucial to the document’s validity. Always double check to see that all descriptions, names, signatures and the date are correctly inscribed accurately. If a serial number or model number is misspelled, your bill of sale will be powerless. Always include the following:
- Buyer’s Information (Name, Address, Phone)
- Seller’s Information including a signature
- Item description
- Notarized (conditional)
If an item needs to be registered with a government agency such as a car or vessel, it’s always a good idea to have your bill of sale notarized as some states require this to be done.
Step 3 – Finalize
In order to complete a bill of sale, the document needs to contain the correct language that ensures there will be no disputes after the sale. A bill of sale should include the term “as is” which implies that the buyer is aware of all defects and accepts the current condition of the item.
Other important topics your bill of sale should address include:
Once again, the seller needs to sign the bill of sale to finalize the document. Before transferring the bill of sale and the item to the buyer, make two copies for your records and store them in a safe place.
Is a Bill of Sale legally required?
For your everyday items being sold, a bill of sale is not legally required. The only time a bill of sale is legally required is when an item needs to be registered with a state’s government. Common items registered with your state are guns, vehicles, boats and construction equipment.
Who signs a bill of sale?
The seller must sign a bill of sale in order for it to be valid. If possible, it’s also a good idea to have the buyer sign however it’s normally not a problem if the buyer does not sign.
Does a Bill of Sale need to be notarized?
Some states that require a bill of sale also require your bill of sale to be notarized. A required notarized bill of sale is almost always related to the transaction of a vehicle. It’s always best to check with your local DMV office as they will know a.) if you need and bill of sale and b.) if the bill of sale needs to be notarized.
Where do I save my bill of sale?
You should store a copy of a bill of sale in the same place you store all your sensitive documents. This could be in a desk drawer or even a locked safe. It is common knowledge that a bill of sale should be kept in your records matching the statute of limitations in your state.