Writing a Bill of Sale That Works

As someone who has written numerous bills of sale, I’ve come to understand the importance of having a well-crafted document. A bill of sale is a critical piece of paperwork that provides proof of a transaction between a buyer and a seller. Whether you’re selling a vehicle, a piece of furniture, or any other item of value, a bill of sale is essential for both parties involved.

Key Takeaways

  • What is a Bill of Sale? A bill of sale is a document that records the details of a transaction between a buyer and a seller.
  • Importance: It serves as legal proof of ownership transfer and includes details about the item, the transaction date, and the involved parties.
  • Basic Components: Includes the date of sale, names and addresses of the buyer and seller, description of the item, sale price, and signatures.
  • Tips: Be clear and detailed, ensure both parties sign, and make copies for both the buyer and seller.
  • Templates: Provided three unique templates for different scenarios.

What is a Bill of Sale?





A bill of sale is a written agreement that records the details of a sale transaction. It’s commonly used in situations where items of significant value are being sold, such as vehicles, boats, or equipment. The bill of sale serves as proof of ownership transfer and outlines the specifics of the transaction.

Why You Need a Bill of Sale

Having a bill of sale is crucial for both the buyer and the seller. For the seller, it provides legal proof that the item was sold, which can protect against future disputes. For the buyer, it provides evidence of ownership and the terms of the sale, which can be important for registration purposes or if issues arise with the purchased item.

Basic Components of a Bill of Sale

When drafting a bill of sale, it’s important to include the following components:

  1. Date of Sale: The exact date when the transaction takes place.
  2. Buyer and Seller Information: Names and addresses of both parties involved in the transaction.
  3. Description of the Item: Detailed description of the item being sold, including make, model, serial number, and condition.
  4. Sale Price: The agreed-upon price for the item.
  5. Signatures: Signatures of both the buyer and the seller to make the document legally binding.

Tips from Personal Experience

Over the years, I’ve learned a few key tips that can make the process of writing a bill of sale smoother and more effective:

  • Be Clear and Detailed: Include as much detail as possible about the item and the terms of the sale. This can prevent misunderstandings and disputes later on.
  • Use Simple Language: Avoid legal jargon and write in plain, simple language that is easy for both parties to understand.
  • Include Witnesses if Possible: Having a third party witness the signing of the bill of sale can provide additional protection.
  • Make Copies: Ensure that both the buyer and the seller have a copy of the signed bill of sale for their records.

Real-Life Example

I once sold an old car to a friend. We drafted a bill of sale that included the car’s make, model, year, VIN, mileage, and condition. We also noted any known issues with the car and the agreed sale price. Both of us signed the document, and we each kept a copy. This bill of sale later helped my friend when he went to register the car in his name, and it protected me from any liability after the sale.

Template 1: General Bill of Sale

Date of Sale: [Date]

Seller Information:
Name: [Seller’s Name]
Address: [Seller’s Address]

Buyer Information:
Name: [Buyer’s Name]
Address: [Buyer’s Address]

Item Description:
[Detailed description of the item]

Sale Price: $[Amount]

The item is sold “as is” with no warranties.

Seller’s Signature: _____________________
Buyer’s Signature: _____________________

Template 2: Vehicle Bill of Sale

Date of Sale: [Date]

Seller Information:
Name: [Seller’s Name]
Address: [Seller’s Address]

Buyer Information:
Name: [Buyer’s Name]
Address: [Buyer’s Address]

Vehicle Description:
Make: [Make]
Model: [Model]
Year: [Year]
VIN: [Vehicle Identification Number]
Mileage: [Mileage]

Sale Price: $[Amount]

The vehicle is sold “as is” with no warranties.

Seller’s Signature: _____________________
Buyer’s Signature: _____________________

Template 3: Personal Property Bill of Sale

Date of Sale: [Date]

Seller Information:
Name: [Seller’s Name]
Address: [Seller’s Address]

Buyer Information:
Name: [Buyer’s Name]
Address: [Buyer’s Address]

Description of Property:
[Detailed description of the property]

Sale Price: $[Amount]

The property is sold “as is” with no warranties.

Seller’s Signature: _____________________
Buyer’s Signature: _____________________

Final Thoughts

Writing a bill of sale doesn’t have to be complicated. By including all necessary information and following these tips, you can create a document that provides clear proof of a transaction and protects both parties involved. Remember, the more detailed and clear your bill of sale is, the better it will serve its purpose.