People buy and sell items all the time. To protect your interests when selling something, create a bill of sale that describes the item, details its condition and lists all pertinent information about the transaction.
When to Use a Bill of Sale
Many states require a bill of sale for vehicle transactions, in addition to a transfer of title. But a bill of sale can be used to record any transaction of personal property. Coin collections, furniture, antiques, art, tools and even livestock and pets are a few examples of property that can be sold.
A bill of sale can also be used as a simple loan contract to protect the seller if the buyer defaults on payments. When using a bill of sale for this purpose, include the amounts and due dates of expected payments and any agreement about late fees and interest rates. Even if you are bartering goods and services, you can use a bill of sale as an agreement to avoid confusion. For instance, if one person is offering to do upholstery work in exchange for carpentry, a bill of sale could be customized to show that the upholstery service is the item being sold, and the carpentry is the price being paid.
A bill of sale can also be used for swapping items considered an even trade. In this case, you would simply describe the item being received as payment and state that you both consider it an even trade. In this case, it would be wise to get the signature of both parties.
What Is Required
Generally, the following items are found on a bill of sale. Some are required; others are optional:
- Date of purchase
- A description of the item being sold
- Amount paid
- Method of payment (optional details: cash, check, credit card, deposit)
- Name and address of seller
- Name and address of buyer
- A statement of warranty or "as-is" condition (optional)
- Signature of the seller(s)
- Signature of the buyer (optional: often advisable for "as-is" sales)
- Witness (optional)
- Signature of a notary public (optional, though it might be required in some states)
The more information you can include on a bill of sale, the more likely it will be upheld in court if a dispute arises. Every state has different legal requirements for a bill of sale, so you should always check with your state’s official website before proceeding.
Use an Online Template
The fastest and easiest way to create a bill of sale is to find free printable forms online that have been specifically written for your state and type of transaction. The privately run DMV.org website offers free printable vehicle bill of sale forms specifically written for each state that requires one.
FormSwift offers free printable bill of sale forms for vehicle, boat and standard use, specifically written for each state. Other sites that offer free bill of sale forms include RocketLawyer, TidyForm, and LawDepot.
Your state and county may also have bill of sale forms online. To find out, visit your state or county’s official website, or search online for bill of sale with the name of your state or county.