How to Write a Bill of Sale and Why You Need It

Creating a bill of sale is not part and parcel of most people’s daily routines, but it’s also not uncommon. Moreover, it is mandatory in a number of states. How do I write out a bill of sale? This is a question that many car owners ask themselves after selling their vehicles.

Fillable Bill of Sale

Writing a bill of sale on a laptop

What Does a Bill of Sale Need to Say?

Also referred to as proof of purchase/payment/sale, a bill of sale is a document that verifies that a particular vehicle has been sold. That is, it serves as proof of ownership transfer. Apart from this, it provides information about the car sold as well as the terms on which the sale took place.

Its primary purpose is to prevent any potential misunderstanding between a buyer and a seller at the post-sale stage. Even though not all US states have requirements for the bill of sale completion, it’s a useful and simple-to-master tool that you can rely on when it comes to verifying the act of selling a vehicle.

How to Write a Bill of Sale for a Car?

Since the practice of writing a bill of sale for car sales a certain way is limited to a particular state and not applicable across the globe or the US, you have to choose the correct approach based on your location. You can start by looking at the variety of bill of sale forms offered by PDFLiner. If there is an approved template for your state of residence, it’s a good idea to use it.

Don’t get discouraged from drafting a bill of sale if there is no state-wide standard in effect for your state, though. This should not prevent you from making a document that will verify the sale of your vehicle. In it, you should pay attention to the paper’s structure and the information that you want to convey with it. Here is a list of details that you will likely want to include when writing a bill of sale without a template.

  1. Sale date. Make sure the document states exactly when the transaction took place for reference in case of uncertainty.
  2. Vehicle details. Composing a bill of sale when selling a car should include basic information about the vehicle in question, such as year, make, and model. Be sure to specify the vehicle identification number and license plate. Current mileage is another important piece of information to include in the document as it characterizes the car’s state.
  3. Parties to the transaction. Your written bill of sale needs to specify who took part in the selling process, i.e. the previous and effective owner of the vehicle. For each individual, be sure to provide the name, address, and signature. Both should acknowledge providing the true and correct information about themselves and the transaction with another signature.
  4. Price. You want to specify the selling price of the vehicle for the transaction in question.
  5. Information on the warranty provided if any.

Make sure both parties have signed the document. This article includes a dedicated section that explains how to do it in detail.

How to Fill Out a Bill of Sale for a Car?

Due to standardized state-wide templates, the question of how to make a bill of sale can be solved easily depending on your residence. However, you still need to know how to fill out the form in the most efficient manner.

You can print out a form and then enter the information about your vehicle. A time-saving and environmentally friendly alternative to this is to use a fillable PDF template of a bill that you can edit online.

Start by finding a form that fits your residents and purpose. Select Fill This Form to open it in PDFLiner’s editor and take the following steps:

  1. Place your cursor in the Name field in the Seller(s) Information section. Enter the last, first, and second names of the respective party. Then use the arrow keys to go through all the fields in this section.
  2. Place the cursor in the Year field under Vehicle Information. Navigating like above, fill out the entire section with released data.
  3. Do the same for Buyer(s) Information, entering the sale price at the bottom of Section 1.
  4. Fill out General Information in Section 2.
  5. Make sure the Seller, the Buyer, and the Witness sign Section 2 twice each.
filling out Bill of Sale for a Car

How to Sign a Bill of Sale?

The signing method depends on your answer to how to write a bill of sale. If you are using a fillable PDF template, the easiest way to sign it is to use a dedicated functionality. With PDFLiner, you can use the Sign feature to attach a legally effective signature to your document.

To do it, open the Editor and select Add Sign near the top left corner. The Signature Wizard will open, offering you to draw your signature, use a picture, or enter your name so that it can be converted into a signature. Place the signature anywhere on your document or use the pre-defined fields.

How to Notarize a Bill of Sale?

Not every state requires you to notarize proof of purchase. However, it might be a good idea even if it doesn’t. The key argument for having your proof of purchase notarized is that it becomes valid across states and offers you additional protection against fraud.

There are two primary options when it comes to notarizing your bill, namely visiting a notary in person or sending them your document online. If you choose the former approach, the most likely places to find a notary are banks and real estate offices.


This section is a collection of short answers to some of the most popular questions that arise in the context of verifying the sale of a car.

Is a bill of sale legally binding?

It is, but to be fully binding, it usually needs to be accompanied by other documents. For example, it is not uncommon to use this document along with a purchase agreement, which represents the full pack of documents supporting a transaction. In some states, you also need to notarize your proof of purchase to make it legally binding. For more detailed information on this aspect, read the respective section above.

Can I handwrite a bill of sale?

Yes, you can. Although it is uncommon these days and most documents are created electronically, you can also draft a document by hand. Make sure the structure follows the approved standard for your state, if any, and include all the required information. You will still need both parties and the witness to sign the bill.

What should a bill of sale look like?

Proof of purchase is usually a single-page document, although it can vary depending on the template and formatting. It is typical for it to consist of two sections, one of which offers the details of the parties and the vehicle while the other describes the transaction. It has to be signed by both parties and usually the witness. Additionally, it can be notarized.

How do you get a bill of sale?

The easiest way to get this form is to ask the other party involved in the transaction to prepare one or make it by yourself. You can use a fillable template in PDF to enter the necessary information and print it out for the parties to sign. Alternatively, you can sign it electronically.

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Dmytro Serhiiev
CEO of PDFLiner