What Is a Bill of Sale?
A bill of sale form is an arrangement that aids in the property ownership documentation, legally pointing out the specifics and all of those involved in the sale. It functions as a receipt, legally noting the passing of monetary funds from one person to another. Everyone involved in the transaction, along with detailed classifying information about the item, is required.
When creating a form, each party’s responsibility to sign in all necessary places, confirming that they agree to the terms and conditions outlined in the form. After all information about the sale object is included, all those involved should print and keep a bill of sale for their own records.
Why You Should Use a Bill of Sale Form
Anytime an individual wishes to purchase or sell an item(s), they should use a bill of sale form. A few examples of those who should consider such a form include:
- Anyone buying, selling, or trading online
- Passing of ownership between previously-owned property
- When purchasing or selling items of high value
- When individuals take to purchasing property on their own
There are also circumstances in which family members or a close friend can use a bill of sale to claim ownership. These could be cases where grandparents pass on items to grandchildren or their relatives. Thus, a bill of sale helps avoid confusion or misunderstanding between other family members as a written and certified document.
Essential Details to Include
While anyone can create a bill of sale form, it must follow a set list of guidelines to be deemed useable in a court of law. When individuals choose a template, it must contain blank spaces that indicate the information necessary to give a detailed recollection of the passing the legal ownership in exchange for monetary funds.
Any such form should also outline details of the item in question. This includes specifics about the physical description along with any necessary identifying numbers that go along with it. An example would be vehicle identification numbers (VIN) for automobiles or physical addresses for homes or apartments.
Perhaps the most crucial piece of information recorded in a bill of sale is the financial details. The total purchasing price, along with a breakdown like taxes, is needed. The buyer should also provide details about the payment method, whether it is cash, credit, or check.
Before filling out a bill of sale form, all parties involved should read over the entire document and make sure that they understand the terms outlined. This includes a good grasp on the meaning of key terms, some of which are explained below:
As-Is — This is a term that refers to the condition of the item(s) sold at the time of purchase. It is also an understanding that nothing included in the items comes with no warranty, and all problems from the time of purchase and beyond are the new owner’s responsibility.
Buyer — This is the new future owner of the property. They are the person that is paying for the property up for sale.
Gift — If there is no exchange of money involved, the item is noted as a gift.
Notary Public — A notary public is an individual granted the right to act as a legal witness by the state. They are needed to legalize a bill of sale to certify that signatures were signed correctly by all parties involved.
Payment — This refers to the monetary amount used in the purchase and can be in the form of cash, check, or credit card.
Seller — The previous owner of the property who will pass ownership for monetary gain.
Trade-In — A trade-in refers to any item besides monetary funds that are used in the transaction. This could be a used vehicle, in which the value reduces the overall price of the item in question.
Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) — The unique code that acts as an identifier of a motorized vehicle. This number is needed for the purchase, sale, or trade, acting as its identifier as it is passed from owner to owner.
Buying or Selling a Motor Vehicle Privately
One of the most common bill of sale forms is that used for selling/buying a motor vehicle. Instead of going through a dealership, this form helps individuals buy and sell privately, setting their own pricing and terms to pass ownership. To buy or sell a vehicle properly, parties must:
Negotiating usually consists of a back-and-forth conversation between buyer and seller until both parties agree upon terms. There is a push to lower the price by the buyer, which the seller tries to avoid.
In this part of the transaction, the person paying for the automobile must gather necessary details about the vehicle, like its VIN, title, and registration. Though it is not obligatory, buyers are encouraged to inspect the vehicle with a third-party mechanic to verify the current condition.
Gather Proper Paperwork
Apart from the bill of sale form, buyers will need to obtain a few other legal forms involved in the buying and selling motor vehicles. These include the odometer disclosure statement that notes and verifies the vehicle’s current mileage at the time of purchase.
Filling Out a Bill of Sale Form
When a bill of sale form is needed, it is recommended to use a template. It will outline all of the necessary information and point out blank spaces where the necessary information goes. To properly create a bill of sale form, follow these steps.
Step 1 – Information from All Parties
For starters, the personal information of all parties involved is needed. It includes their full names and current addresses.
Step 2 – Payment Details
Next, the monetary method must be noted. It could be cash, credit, or check, whatever the parties choose. In this section, if the items involved are a is a gift or trade-in, this is where it should be documented.
Step 3 – Specifics
In this section, it depends on the type of bill of sale form created. This section is where the necessary identifying information will go, including VIN, details of the item, and other details. All details about the item in question are needed here.
Step 4 – Signatures
Last but not least, all parties must read and understand terms, verifying that with their signature. It includes the notary public, which will certify that all parties signed in their presence. A notary public is not required in some states, so it is always advised that all parties consult their specific laws and legislatures for creating a bill of sale before filling out and filing documents.
What does “as is” mean?
“As-is” simply refers to the state of the item(s) at the exact time of interest. In its most basic form, the term signifies that the person purchasing an object accepts the state in which they are receiving ownership of the property and understands the seller is no longer responsible for any upkeep. If a vehicle or appliance used to have a warranty, it is voided unless specified otherwise.
What property can you use a bill of sale for?
There is a long list of things that a bill of sale form can be used for. Anytime there is a change of ownership, especially involving a monetary exchange between parties both for purchase or gift purposes, this form applies. A few specific examples include the change in ownership of:
- Cars, boats, or planes
- Any kind of hardware or tools
- Personal possessions
A detailed description of the items sold or bought should be noted where applicable. It is important to note that, when applicable, numbers such as VIN or registration are needed. This also includes numbers that indicate the identity of an object like firearm registration, make and model of particular items, and detailed records of the vehicle’s upkeep history.
What payment methods can be used?
As long as both parties agree to the exchanging of funds, it is applicable. It can include cash, electronic transfer, of checks written and signed by the purchasing party. While the terms depend on the parties involved and whether they agree, it is essential to ensure that both parties are in a trusting relationship.
What are the legal considerations?
The primary purpose of a sale form is to document the exchange of the ownership of property. It should be legally noted on the part of each party what the details mean. This record notes the specific payment methods and the exact amount paid according to the terms and conditions set in the document. Anytime a previously owned item is paid for and passed on to another person, a bill of sale form should be used.
Does the purchaser need to sign this form?
The specifics of the signatures needed will vary from state to state. Because of the long list of specifics lined out in each state’s terms involving the transfer of ownership, it is advised to read specific laws in your area before moving forward to create this legal form.
When to give the bill of sale to the buyer?
A bill of sale takes on the same function as a receipt. Therefore, it can be assumed that the property’s delivery should be passed over once all is gathered, and the action is complete. While there are all sorts of ways that parties can handle their creation of a bill of sale, it is recommended that parties follow this advice to make a secure purchase.