What is a notarized bill of sale?

You’ve probably heard the term thrown around a lot — but what is a “notarized bill of sale”, and when do you need one? 

A bill of sale generally serves as proof of a transaction or ownership transfer.

A notarized bill of sale is a legally binding document that verifies the transfer of ownership for an item or property.

It is signed by the seller, buyer, and a notary public, who confirms the identities of the parties and ensures the document’s authenticity and legality.

Nevertheless, knowing if you need a notarized bill of sale or buyer’s order in any given situation can be tricky.

So, we’ll explore the former in detail in this article to help you make more informed choices moving forward.

What is a bill of sale, and what does it mean to get one notarized?

A bill of sale proves a sale or transfer of goods or property occurred.

It confirms that the seller has transferred the rights to the assets listed in the bill of sale, and the buyer has paid the full purchase price.

Bills of sale can be categorized as:

  • Absolute bills of sale i.e. simple contracts of sale, or 
  • Conditional bills of sale, which create a security interest in personal chattel as collateral for a debt or obligation.

Getting a bill of sale notarized means having a notary public witness the signing of the document and verify the identities of the parties involved.

The notary will confirm the signing parties are who they claim to be and have willingly entered into the transaction. 

Notarization adds an extra level of authenticity and can provide assurance that a document is legally valid and enforceable.

Do bills of sale need to be notarized?

You’re not alone in asking, “Does a bill of sale need to be notarized?” The simple answer is that it’s not always required by law. 

A notary or public official isn’t needed to witness and authenticate bills of sale in most US states.

However, in some cases, a witness is required to validate the bill of sale and make it legally binding. 

Some jurisdictions will require a notarized bill of sale for high-value assets or real estate transactions (this is to help prevent fraud).

A notary public or another neutral third party, mutually agreed upon by the seller and buyer, can serve as witnesses to these transactions. 

There are some other cases where a bill of sale notary is required.

Certain government agencies, for example, will not process paperwork without a public notary’s certificate of authority or seal. 

Is a bill of sale legally binding whether it’s notarized or not?

Yes, a bill of sale is generally considered legally binding whether it’s notarized or not.

While notarization adds authenticity and may be required in some jurisdictions, its absence does not invalidate the bill of sale’s validity. 

The following elements make a bill of sale legally binding:

1. Agreement. Both the buyer and seller have willingly entered into the transaction and agreed to the terms and conditions of the bill of sale.

2. Consideration. The bill of sale shows the buyer has paid for or exchanged goods in return for ownership.

3. Intent. The bill of sale clearly states both parties’ intent to transfer ownership from seller to buyer.

Even if it’s not required, here are a few reasons to consider getting a bill of sale notarized:

  • Notarizing makes ownership transfers easier and faster.
  • A notarized bill of sale protects sellers and buyers from fraud.
  • You may need a notarized bill of sale for future documentation. 

How to get a bill of sale notarized

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to get a notarized bill of sale.

1. Prepare the document

Create your document or use a notarized bill of sale template to accurately record the details of the transaction.

This should include buyer and seller information, a description of the item being sold, the price, and any other terms and conditions.

2. Find a bill of sale notary

You’ll need the services of a registered professional who knows how to notarize a bill of sale.

Notaries work in banks, law firms, and public offices.

You can also search online directories for remote online notarization services.

3. Bring identification and the document.

Both the buyer and seller should bring a valid form of ID, such as a driver’s license or passport.

Take the bill of sale document with you too.

4. Sign in the presence of the notary

Arrange a meeting with the notary and all parties involved.

Sign the bill of sale in their presence.

The notary will confirm your identities and witness the signing.

5. Notary’s acknowledgment

The notary will complete the notarial certificate, which may include their signature, seal, and details of the notarization.

This certificate proves they witnessed the signing.

6. Pay the notary

Notaries usually charge a fee for their services.

Ensure you have the necessary funds to cover this.

7. Know who keeps the bill of sale

You will get the bill of sale after it’s been notarized, so remember to take it away with you.

Both parties should keep a copy for their records.

Do both parties have to be present to notarize a bill of sale?

You might be wondering, can I get a bill of sale notarized without the seller?

In some cases, a notary public can notarize one party’s bill of sale signature.

This might happen if they’re absent but have consented to another individual signing on their behalf. 

The jurisdiction and circumstances will determine whether both parties must attend a bill of sale notarization.

Combine PandaDoc Notary and our printable bill of sale template

Need help getting a bill of sale notarized? PandaDoc’s convenient online notary service streamlines the process and adds authenticity to your documents. 

Pairing this with a printable bill of sale template will give you a solid foundation to outline the terms of your transaction clearly.

So, whether you’re selling a vehicle, artwork, or any other valuable item, you can rest easy knowing that your transaction is legally binding and protected by law.