California Bill of Sale Form: How to Get One, Fill it Out, and the Required Information

January 27, 2012

Before you purchase or sell a car in the state of California, it's crucial that you obtain and fill out a California bill of sale form for that transaction. Without the bill of sale, you will not be able to prove that you've legally sold a vehicle (or that you've bought one, if you're the buyer). The bill of sale is the California DMV's way of keeping track off all vehicle sales and other transactions, and it serves as your legal proof of the sale itself. A California DMV bill of sale is the basic document that you'll need to ensure that you can re-register and transfer the title for the vehicle. Read on for a brief guide on how to get a printable bill of sale, how to fill it out and what to do with it when you've finished.

How to Get a Bill of Sale

In the state of California, bills of sale are available through the state DMV at any local branch office. Stop by your local DMV and request a printed copy of the bill of sale form, or simply visit the California state DMV website and download a printable bill of sale. Print out the blank document and complete it together with the other party that you're negotiating with.

How to Fill out a Bill of Sale

Although the process of filling out a bill of sale may sound formal and complicated, in reality it's quite simple to do and takes very little time. Simply obtain some important information about the vehicle and the other party involved in the negotiation. If at all possible, you and the other party should complete the bill of sale together. You'll need both the buyer's name and the seller's name, contact information for both parties, the make, model, trim type, VIN and odometer reading for the car, and the monetary amount that was exchanged for the vehicle. Finally, you and the other party must both sign and date the bill of sale in order to make it official.

What to Do Once You've Finished

In California, you'll need a completed bill of sale in order to register a previously used vehicle. Therefore, if you're the buyer, it's important that you bring a copy of the bill of sale with you to the DMV when you begin to obtain registration materials. For the buyer, you'll need the bill of sale in order to begin to transfer the title of the car. Because the bill of sale may be needed if any legal proceedings should happen to take place that involve the negotiations or the sale of the car, it's crucial that both parties retain a clean copy of the completed bill for their records.

If you have any additional questions about how to take care of the bill of sale for your car, how to fill it out and what to do with it, ask a California DMV representative.