How to Write a Bill of Sale

By Andrew Otis , last updated July 24, 2011

If you want to sell your car you would need a bill of sale to do this. A bill of sale is a legal document from a seller to a buyer. It records on a specific date, time, and location with a specific amount of money that a sale has been transacted. A bill of sale is relatively straightforward to write.

Language of the Bill of Sale

It generally starts out with the words “I (the seller's name) in consideration of (amount of money) do hereby sell, transfer and convey to (the buyer's name) the following vehicle: (make, model, year and VIN of vehicle)." It is essential on the bill of sale that you prove that the vehicle you sold was in fact your vehicle. A bill of sale is only valid if the seller held, in actuality, the item to be sold.

This language is usually followed by an acknowledgment from both the buyer and the seller of the purchase/sale of the car. At the bottom of the bill of sale there should be a location to place signatures to make the document legally valid. If you have any questions on the legal validity of a bill of sale, make sure to contact your lawyer for further information.

There are three basic aspects that a bill of sale must include to be valid. First, it must contain the full names and the contact information of the buyer and the seller. Nowadays, this information tends to include email addresses along with the usual addresses and phone numbers. This information should also include both the seller's and the purchaser's driver's license number. Second, the bill of sale must include a full description of the item being transferred. A full description is important as legal protection for both the buyer and the seller in the case of a bait-and-switch purchase or in preventing abuse by either signer of the bill of sale. `

Conditional vs Absolute Bill of Sale

There are two basic varieties of a bill of sale, which are called conditional bills of sale and absolute bills of sale. They are what they sound like. In an absolute bill of sale, the transaction is considered to have been completed by the point at which the sellers and buyers have signed the bill of sale. A conditional bill of sale is a bit more complicated. A conditional bill of sale usually includes some provision whereby the seller can regain their property if the buyer defaults on the purchase. The buyer might also be required to post up some collateral for the car. Conditional bills of sale are common in selling cars because of the expense associated with purchasing a car. Not many people can purchase a car with cash upfront and require time to pay in installments.

There are many template forms online that can be used to create a bill of sale. One good bill of sale template is available at

Resources and References
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