Using a Bill of Sale in North Carolina
Purchasing a car often seems complicated enough without adding more paperwork to the mix. But bills of sale are a record that serve to protect both buyers and sellers whenever a car changes ownership. They are simple, homemade documents containing the most important information for clarifying exactly what occurred during a vehicle’s transfer, so that if any disputes arise later from either party, there will be a signed record to refer back to.
Why Do I Need a Bill of Sale?
A bill of sale is only legally required in North Carolina when you purchase your vehicle from a car dealership. The dealership is mandated by law to provide you will a bill of sale, which acts as your proof of purchase for future reference. Your bill of sale will also be needed when you go to title your vehicle, or if the vehicle’s ownership becomes part of a trust. As a dealer of cars, a bill of sale also protects you, proving the legality of the transaction from your side, and demonstrating that you upheld all of the financial and legal requirements of a sale.
A bill of sale prevents any misunderstandings between the two parties. Although a bill of sale is not required for private party vehicle sales, it is still highly recommended as an extra security measure.
What Should Be Included on a Bill of Sale?
During the process of purchasing a vehicle from a car dealership, you should ensure that your bill of sale includes the following information to the fullest extent possible:
- The name and address of the buyer
- The date of the sale
- The name and address of the motor vehicle dealer/manufacturer which sold you the vehicle
- The vehicle’s model, year, make, body style, and vehicle identification number (VIN)
- The purchase amount
- The portion of that amount that was paid upfront in cash
- The price of the insurance that the buyer is taking out on the car
- Any charges levied against the buyer
- The net balance that is still owed by the buyer
- The agreed-upon payment plan
It may sound complicated, but much of this will be obvious and quick to fill out. Make sure that when you go to the car dealership to complete the bill of sale that you take with you all of the necessary information, otherwise the vehicle transaction will not be valid.
When the bill of sale is finally ready, both the buyer and seller must sign it to make it legally binding. If you do not both sign it, you will not be able to use it at the vehicle and license plate renewal office to register your vehicle, and this could lead to major complications over who legally owns the vehicle
You can learn more about transferring ownership of a vehicle at the North Carolina DMV website.