Does a Bill of Sale have to be notarized?


Whenever you purchase or sell something, such as motor vehicles, you’ve to protect yourself or your business. This is because even a small misunderstanding between the two parties during a financial transaction may lead to lawsuits or future disputes, and you don’t want that. You will be glad to know there’s a simple way to protect the seller and buyer from disputes and misunderstandings. You can create a bill of sale agreement to protect your interests. A bill of sale is a legal document that transfers ownership of goods, such as a car, from one party to another. However, does a bill of sale have to be notarized?

If you are buying or selling a motor vehicle or automobile, a notarized bill of sale protects your interest and will make the transaction official. The document makes the ownership more secure. Whether it is a truck or car, commuter or off-roader, a motor vehicle is usually one of your most important and valuable assets.

There are several fields included in a bill of sale and a standard bill allows you to document crucial vehicle information, including condition, odometer readings, purchase price, and any warranties, in one convenient place, minimizing the risk of any legal disputes in the future.

What is a Bill of Sale?

A bill of sale, also known as proof of purchase, is a legal document used to transfer the ownership of an asset or object like motor vehicles. You should know that a bill of sale takes many different forms, such as a promissory note or a purchase receipt.

Different states have different requirements for a bill of sale. For instance, in Wyoming, a notarized bill of sale is usually required if you are selling or buying a motor vehicle, car or boat. You can use a bill of sale template for transactions involving motor vehicles, cars, motor homes, and other assets and personal property.

You might associate bills of sale with used or pre-owned vehicles, but you may use this legal document for a variety of assets and items and transfer ownership easily.

It does not matter whether you are running a remote startup, a huge corporation, or selling vehicles on eBay. If you are buying or selling an item or object, you should make sure there’s a simple vehicle bill of sale to substantiate your transaction. This is important as it grants proof of ownership to the buyer while protecting you by proving you have sold that asset or vehicle to the buyer.

Vehicle Bill of Sale

Keep in mind that a vehicle bill of sale isn’t required in all US states. For instance, Tennessee and Illinois do not require an auto bill of sale.  However, in some cases, a bill of sale doesn’t prove ownership —a title transfer document does that. Both the buyer and seller should understand this. Also, the DMV in your state may require you to bring a completed and binding bill of sale along with you before the automobile title transfer paperwork and sale forms can be completed.

It is worth noting that a vehicle bill of sale also includes the following information:

  • Vehicle type (i.e., motorcycle bill of sale, car bill of sale, or boat bill of sale)
  • Name of the previous owner
  • Make, and model of the vehicle
  • Hull number
  • Odometer reading
  • Engine serial number
  • Vehicle registration and identification numbers

What is written on a Bill of Sale?

You will typically see or use a bill of sale in order to record the sale of motorcycles, automobiles, watercraft, or other similar objects. You may also use this document to record the transfer of personal property, like purchasing or selling an old car.

A bill of sale should include key information including the following:

  • Names of both the seller and buyer.
  • Contact information, such as phone numbers
  • Date of sale
  • A brief description of the item being sold.
  • Methods of payment.
  • The price of the asset or item.
  • Warranty details and other relevant information.

Remember that bills of sale are also useful for the transfer of other assets and personal property like furniture, a bicycle, a laptop, or even an animal like a horse or other livestock. Also, you should consider any other agreements that may be pertinent to the sale — such as late payments, due dates for pending items, late fees, or interest rates.

Additional information required for vehicle sales

You will likely find the following information written on an auto bill of sale:

  • Identification number
  • Vehicle identification number or VIN
  • License plate number
  • Design
  • Serial number
  • Size, color, and purchase price
  • Any special features
  • Special conditions attached to the sale  

When do you need a Bill of Sale? 

In addition to being a legal requirement for regulated or registered items, a bill of sale provides several benefits. For example, sellers are protected from liability. On the other hand, buyers receive valuable transfer of ownership evidence.

  • Legal disputes: If you are involved in a contentious legal dispute or battle involving ownership of a vehicle, you will need documentation. Note that a notarized bill of sale often trumps all other claims in a court. Both parties signing can present a valid and binding bill of sale to avoid legal issues and disputes after the transaction.
  • Proof of purchase. Many US states require a signed and notarized bill of sale in cases when you’re transferring a title with your state’s DMV.
  • Tax purposes: Note that you may also have to show evidence of income from the sale of a vehicle or car. This is where a notarized bill of sale can help. It can also help with sales tax purposes.

There are many different types of bills of sale and rules and regulations that go along with each document, such as an absolute bill and a conditional bill of sale. Therefore, you should have a knowledgeable and experienced attorney by your side. They will give you additional details and information on writing a valid bill of sale.

However, keep in mind that you cannot use a bill of sale in order to transfer real estate. This is because most real estate or property transactions are more complex than the kind of transactions mentioned above. You will probably need additional forms from either your local or state government or a quitclaim deed when you are dealing with a property transaction. Find out whether you have to notarize real estate purchase agreements

Also, note that a quitclaim bill of sale is used in transactions when the seller does not guarantee that they own the property. 

Does a Bill of Sale have to be notarized? 

In many cases, you are not legally obligated to notarize a bill of sale. Most states in the US do not require a notary or public official to witness and authenticate the signing of a bill of sale. However, there are some exceptions to this rule. Some bills of sale have to be witnessed to be valid and legally binding. In these cases, the witness can be a notary public or a third party agreed on by the seller and buyer. Find out how you can notarize an electronic signature while complying with state and federal law.

Every US state requires that a seller of a motor vehicle or car issue a bill of sale to the buyer. However, six states require that this bill of sale be notarized before you can use it to transfer the title of a vehicle. A notary public or public official needs to witness both parties to the transaction signing a bill of sale in six states. These are Louisiana, Maryland, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Montana, and West Virginia. You can use a mobile notary for this purpose. Learn how to notarize a document to keep protect yourself legally.

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Although the other 44 US states do not require that a vehicle bill of sale be notarized, all states do require that one be signed by both the seller and buyer before a vehicle title transfer is initiated. In many cases, a vehicle certificate of title and a rightfully executed bill of sale are needed to register a motor vehicle in the name of the new buyer.

Does a notarized document expire? The notarization of your bill of sale or other document doesn’t expire as long as the date on the official notarization seal at the time of attestation is valid.

Why is a notarized Bill of Sale important?

While you don’t have to get a bill of sale notarized, you should do so anyway for the following key reasons:

  • Notarizing it helps ensure a smoother and quicker transfer of ownership
  • A notarized bill of sale is important as it protects both the seller and buyer from scams or fraud
  • While a notarized bill of sale isn’t usually needed for the immediate purchase or sale, you may need it for future documentation. So, it is a smart idea to notarize documents when purchasing a new car.

Notarizing a vehicle bill of sale gives buyers and sellers more confidence and assurance in the transaction. Also, with the right solutions and tools, such as mobile notaries, you can get a bill of sale notarized conveniently. Find out whether you can notarize your own document and if it is a wise move. 

How to write a Bill of Sale? 

You will be happy to know that anyone can write a valid bill of sale as long as the document meets certain requirements. For example, when writing a bill of sale, you have to ensure that it contains information for it to be valid and legally binding. You should include the following details:

  1. Parties involved: When writing your bill of sale, make sure that it contains the seller’s name and full address, and the buyer’s name and full address.
  2. Date of sale: The bill of sale should also mention the date of the transaction or sale.
  3. Description of the item:  A description of the item or asset being sold, and if it is for a motor vehicle, make sure that you include the vehicle identification number and the previous owner. The document should also mention the year, make, and model of the vehicle, current mileage, and license plate number.
  4. Selling Price: The bill of sale should mention the amount paid and the method of payment. It should also contain any agreements regarding due dates for pending payments.
  5. Warranty: If your sale agreement has a warranty, you should include it in the bill of sale.

Finally, it’s a good idea to re-read and check your bill of sale in order to ensure that all the information is correct and updated and there are no other errors and mistakes.

How to notarize a Bill of Sale? 

Most sellers and buyers have to get a bill of sale notarized. Unfortunately, getting a document notarized traditionally requires that all parties to the transaction be in the same room or place, which often requires some coordination and long waiting times. You can visit a notary in person at law firms, banks, libraries, parcel shipping businesses, or real estate firms. Learn more about who can notarize a document.

Luckily, online or remote online notarization through PandaDoc Notary is simple. The process is convenient, efficient, and secure – making selling or buying a car easier for everyone. You can also get a notary’s signature online through a digital document. Learn whether you can notarize for family.

Some simple steps involved in getting a bill of sale notarized through PandaDoc Notary include:

Step 1

You can take a picture of your bill of sale or upload a PDF file from your computer. You can also upload from a cloud storage service, such as Dropbox. No matter the time of day or location, or device, PandaDoc Notary has notaries ready to complete all your notary requests!

Step 2

Now, you just have to confirm your identity with PandaDoc’s verification process. The platform uses identification verification technology in order to verify government-issued photograph IDs and passports.

Step 3

You can connect to a live notary anytime and confirm your identity on a secure call or face-to-face on a webcam. Connect easily with a professional and licensed electronic notary public over live video in order to sign and notarize your bill of sale. The PandaDoc Notary agent will verify your identity and witness your signature, assisting you throughout the process.

Notarize a Bill of Sale with PandaDoc Notary

A bill of sale details a transfer of property, such as cars, or the sale of items between a buyer and buyer. This document is vital as it serves as legal evidence that the seller transferred their rights to the assets mentioned in the bill of sale. You should have a bill of sale notarized to minimize any potential legal issues and complications, and this is where a mobile notary can help.

The fastest and most convenient way to notarize is to use RON. Keep in mind that notarizing a document or form online is the same as notarizing that document in person. With a simple and convenient online platform and flexible times that fit your unique schedule, PandaDoc Notary makes things simple. 

Notarize your bill of sale with PandaDoc Notary and enjoy peace of mind! It only takes about 10 to 20 minutes, and you may do it from any location as long as you have all the legally required information and the sale form. You can take care of this crucial document from your home, office, business location, or seller’s home. Notarization with PandaDoc Notary is a simple way to sell your assets, whether it is private sales or public transactions.