About the California Bill of Sale
A bill of sale is used when cars are sold in a private sale. It’s a document that serves as proof of a transaction, and it’s beneficial to both the seller and the buyer of a vehicle. It also helps the DMV keep track of all car sales so that everything is documented. You’ll need a bill of sale to re-register and transfer the title of the car.
How Does a Bill of Sale Benefit the Seller?
As a seller, a bill of sale not only acts as a receipt, but it also frees you from liability. This means that, were the buyer to claim that they never bought the car from you, you have proof so that you are not responsible for anything that happens to the vehicle after the purchase.
How Does a Bill of Sale Benefit the Buyer?
A bill of sale is good for a buyer because it documents the condition of the car at the time you bought it; this way if you later find that there are damages that the seller never told you about, you have proof. Having a bill of sale also protects you in the event that the seller denies having sold the car to you.
How Do I Get a Bill of Sale?
There are a couple of ways you can get your hands on a bill of sale in California:
- Pick one up at your local DMV office by requesting a printed copy of the form.
- Visit the California DMV’s website and download a bill of sale. You can then print it out and complete it with the buyer of the vehicle.
What Information Do I Need for the Bill of Sale?
A bill of sale is more than just saying “I sold/bought this car for this amount.” You will need to be sure you have some important information before you fill out the bill of sale, including:
- Both the buyer’s and the seller’s full names
- Contact information for both individuals
- The vehicle’s make, model, and trim type
- The vehicle’s Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) and the car’s odometer reading
- The price the car was sold for in this exchange
After going through the bill of sale together, both the buyer and seller must sign and date the document. Otherwise the bill of sale is not official.
If you’re the buyer of the vehicle, the next step will be registering the vehicle. In the state of California, it is required that you have a completed bill of sale before you register the vehicle. So you’ll need to bring a copy of your car’s bill of sale to the DMV when you go. You will also need to have your bill of sale in order to have the title of the car transferred.
If you’re the seller of the vehicle, it’s important that you keep a copy of the bill of sale too. It’s good to have proof that the sale was made so that you are no longer responsible for what happens to the vehicle.