A bill of sale refers to a record of a sale which states that an item was sold by a particular seller at a specific place, on a specific date, and for a certain amount of money. The bill of sale is generally a hybrid legal paper with two main purposes: it confirms the transfer of title to the ownership of a property and, by doing so, acts as evidence of a contract.
Secondly, you can also use a bill of sale as a loan element. For instance, if you are purchasing a vehicle using installment payments, the agreement can be used as a bill of sale, but theoretically, the transfer of the title may not happen until all the payments needed under the loan gets cleared.
Who should use a bill of sale form?
Anybody who buys an item that might later need proof of purchase should utilize a bill of sale. It’s pretty important that anybody selling or purchasing a vehicle privately, instead of a dealer’s shop, should utilize a bill of sale. In such situations, a bill of sale is crucial to avoid being unfortunate victims of fraud by purchasing stolen cars. Also, those who buy a boat, trailer, motorcycle, or any other personal property should always use bills of sales as well.
Components of a bill of sale
When selling or buying property, bills of sale templates can be a great way to prove that the agreement is being made. If you are going to make a bill of sale form, you should be familiar with all the essential sections of such a document. Besides, it’s a legally binding document that can cause lots of problems if the important parts are not all there. Some of the important parts of a bill of sale form are:
Details of the buyer and seller
The bill of sale specifies the names of the buyer and seller and should also include their contact information as well. This section also lists information about all additional sellers and buyers if they exist.
Description of the Item
The agreement should also include a detailed description of the item in question identifying characteristics, and its condition. If possible, include a serial or identification number. For example, when you are selling cars, vans, and any other motor vehicles, a description of the vehicle’s history or condition and the mileage should be indicated on the agreement. In some states, this section is mandatory.
Date of sale
The bill of sale should also specify the date of sale and when the item will change hands, especially if the date is not concurrent with the transfer of ownership and signing of the agreement.
This section lists the buying price the buyer will pay for the item in question. Generally, subtotals are not listed on a bill of sale, but you will only indicate the total price. The agreement should state how much will be paid when the agreed upon payment is due, and if there are some form of financing or installments, as well as any other details relevant to payment or the price of the item.
This part is only relevant if a witness will be available to sign the agreement. It includes the full names, address, and any other contact information of the witness. The witness can be an individual agreed upon by both the seller and buyer or a public notary. Some ownership transfers, such as selling a boat or car, are regulated by state agencies.
Some states might require that bills of sale meet specific criteria, which means you should check with the relevant department of licensing for the kind of property involved. On the other hand, some states will need notarized bills of sales, and others might not. If you reside in a state where it’s needed, then you will have to add two witnesses as well as their signatures and identification card numbers.
Warranty A bill of sale should also have a warranty section. The part indicates whether the seller is selling the item as-is or providing a warranty on the property in question. The as-is clause shows that the buyer has agreed to buy the property in its current condition at the time of the sale. If a warranty is offered, the agreement will nicely provide this information, and it will also outline all its terms.
Free bill of sale form templates
Difference between a bill of sale and a sales contract
A sales contract and a bill of sale are both used between a seller and buyer in a contract for the sale of items. Again, both documents have a lot of similar terms and conditions, but the timing of when each is used, and the main purpose of the documents differ in different respects.
A sales contract refers to an agreement contemplating the sale of goods between a seller and buyer at a later date. Although the items might exchange hands immediately after both parties sign the sales agreement, the important thing to remember is that it’s used before any items are exchanged. Therefore, the sales contract outlines the terms on which the seller agrees to sell goods, and the buyer agrees to purchase them.
For instance, if the buyer is going to purchase a hybrid computer, the sales agreement should outline the details about the particular type of computer. It should also include the delivery location, the price, and the right of the buyer to inspect the computer when it arrives and even reject it if it does not conform to the terms and conditions of the sales contract.
While a sales agreement is used before the exchange of items, bills of sale are used after or during the exchange of the goods in question to transfer ownership of the items from the sellers to the buyers. A bill of sale focuses on identifying the items the buyer is getting and promises that the seller has a valid title to the items and the right of the transferal of the title to the buyer. Also, the seller can decide to make warranties about the items and how they’ll perform. On the other hand, the seller can opt to disclaim any warranties and sell the items “as-is.”
Therefore, going back to our previous example, when the seller delivers the hybrid computer to the buyer, the seller will then complete a bill of sale to transfer the ownership of the computer to the buyer. By doing this, the bill of sale serves as a form of receipt to help the buyer prove ownership of the computer if issues arise in the future.
What are the legal considerations of a bill of sale?
When it comes to legal documents, a bill of sale is found somewhere between a formalized deed or title and a simple cash receipt. The bill of sale usually represents evidence that a seller has sold some possessions to a buyer. The seller drafts this legal document, and it signifies intent to transfer the ownership of an item and proof of the sale.
The bill of sale form also includes the details of the agreement, and although it’ll be signed by the seller, it doesn’t have the legal force of a deed or title. A bill of sale does not prove ownership; instead, they only prove that transfer of ownership has occurred. However, bills of sale can be useful proof that the contract took place. The document can also be beneficial if there’s a dispute as to the conditions and details of the contract.
While a bill of sale is a relatively simple document when compared to many legal documents, it also carries a legal force, and it should be taken pretty seriously. Just like any other legal document, it’s not a good idea to sign a bill of sale without reading and understanding all sections of the whole document, and the fine print as well.
That is especially important for the buyers since the bill of sale is usually composed by the seller. Therefore, while both the seller and the buyer must consider the terms and conditions of the sale pretty carefully, it’s especially vital for the buyer to understand all the legal considerations of a bill of sale.
It’s also crucial to realize that a seller should have rights to sell the goods or properties highlighted on the bill of sale; otherwise, there might be serious legal consequences for the seller. Therefore, the buyer should request the seller to produce documentation that shows that the buyer has full ownership right to the goods being sold. If this documentation is not produced upon request, then the buyer should not sign the bill of sale.