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How Do I Create a Bill of Sale?

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  • Written By: Lori Smith
  • Edited By: M. C. Hughes
  • Last Modified Date: 20 April 2014
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A bill of sale is most commonly used when personal property, such as a vehicle, is sold to another individual. For clarity, it is best to create this document on a computer as opposed to handwritten agreement. The bill of sale should include the full name, address and phone number of both the buyer and the seller involved in the transaction. The date of the agreement, the purchase price, and any identifying numbers for the sold item should be clearly indicated on the form as well. Then, both parties must sign it in order for the paperwork to be complete.

Be sure to include the date of the transaction on the bill of sale. Clearly delineate the names of the buyer and seller, as well as the purchase price of the item. If you are selling a vehicle, be sure to include the year, make and model of the car. Additionally, when applicable, the vehicle identification number (VIN) and the current mileage should be written on the bill of sale. Otherwise, an item's serial number and description should be sufficient.

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It is a good idea to notate the terms of the agreement. Private sellers may offer a limited guarantee, for example, or simply sell the item "as is," disavowing any responsibility to make repairs, even if they're currently required. Any verbal agreements and understandings about they property's condition, and the buyer's remedy in case extensive repairs are needed, should be put in writing. Failure to record specific terms on the bill of sale can lead to misunderstandings later on.

Once the bill of sale has been written, two copies should be printed. Both parties should sign each one. This way, the buyer has an original copy and the seller has one as well.

Bills of sale should be kept in a safe place. If they are created for car purchases, the buyer should not keep his copy in the vehicle. A location within in his home, or a safe deposit box, is a better place to store the document.

Accurate information is very important. For example, an auto tag agency representative in the United States may refer to the purchase price noted on either the bill of sale, or the title, to calculate sales tax. You may end up paying too much or too little to the agency if the former is used to calculate it.

Regardless of how the document is used, it is important to keep on hand. It serves as proof of purchase, not only for a car, but also for any item purchased from a private seller. Essentially, this is your receipt to prove that the transaction took place and that both parties agree to the terms as written in the document.

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