Important Terms for a Bill of Sale
- Buyer(s): This section includes the name and contact information of the primary buyer and any additional buyers.
- Seller(s): This section lists the name, address, and other contact data of the primary seller. It may also list the information of any additional sellers.
- Signatures: By signing a bill of sale, buyers and sellers indicate that they agree to the terms listed. Physical signatures are common. Digital signatures, such as those done on PandaDoc documents, are also legal and acceptable.
- Purchase price: The amount that the buyer has agreed to pay for the item.
- Sales tax: Any taxes, such as sales and use tax, that will be included in the amount that the buyer pays to the seller.
- Gift: This term indicates that the seller is not accepting any payment for the item. The specification could be important for tax purposes.
- As-is: When the buyer has had the chance to inspect the item and agrees to purchase it in its current condition, they are accepting the property it “as-is.”
1. Virginia Bill of Sale Requirements
Virginia requires a bill of sale to register and title cars. Certain conditions that apply to the sale of a boat may require it, too. In most cases, you need to draft your own bill of sale in Virginia.
Why Use a Bill of Sale?
A bill of sale provides legal verification of a transaction. For the buyer, it proves ownership going forward. For the seller, it can protect against liability claims surrounding the item after the sale.
Many bills of sale templates are provided in English. If you choose to draft your own, you may use any language. However, you must have it translated into English if it’s to be submitted as evidence in a legal dispute.
Number of Copies
You may need to provide a copy of a bill of sale to register or title a vehicle. In cases like this, you would need three copies—one each for buyer and seller, and one for the state department involved.
Otherwise, one buyer’s copy and one seller’s copy should suffice.
In Virginia, if the cost to repair a damaged motor vehicle is 75% or more of its value, the owner or insurance company may declare it as salvage and obtain a salvage certificate.
If the car is declared non-repairable or the owner chooses not to have it repaired, the owner may sell it to a salvage dealer or another entity that is licensed to buy salvaged vehicles.
A vehicle that is not declared non-repairable may be rebuilt. The car must undergo a safety inspection and a rebuilt vehicle examination before the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) issues a new title. Titles for rebuilt vehicles in Virginia will bear a permanent “rebuilt” brand, which will carry over to all future titles.
If you choose to sell a rebuilt car in Virginia, you must:
- Sign the branded title
- Provide the seller with a Rebuilt Vehicle Disclosure Statement
- Include disclosures of the vehicle’s history
After Purchasing a Vehicle
Virginia does not require a bill of sale to transfer ownership of a vehicle unless the purchase price cannot be listed on the original title. Purchase price documentation is an important step in documenting ownership transfer.
If You’re the Seller
When you sell a vehicle in Virginia, you need to complete Section A on the front of the car’s title. You should include:
- Your signature
- Buyer’s name and address
- Sale price
- The vehicle’s odometer reading
The buyer also needs to document their name, address, and signature on the title.
After you’ve turned the title over to the buyer, you can remove your license plates from the vehicle and return them to the DMV or transfer them to another vehicle. You also need to notify the DMV and your insurance company to let them know that the vehicle’s been sold.
If You’re the Buyer
When you buy a car from a private seller, first collect the title with all of the information above. Take that title to the DMV and apply for a new title in your name.
The state requires that the transferred title include a purchase price. If that isn’t possible, you may submit a bill of sale as alternative documentation. You can use the state-provided Vehicle Price Certification (Form SUT-1) if the car or truck is more than five years old.
To receive your title, you’ll need to pay the titling fee and sales and use tax, as well as record the odometer reading if the vehicle is 10 years old or older based on model year.
Your next steps are to:
- Register the vehicle and pay registration fees
- Buy or transfer license plates
- Make sure that the vehicle has an up-to-date safety inspection sticker
2. Virginia Car (Vehicle) Bill of Sale
In Virginia, a bill of sale is required only if the transferred title doesn’t list the car’s purchase price.
A bill of sale isn’t a legal requirement in most situations, but you may still choose to draft one to document the transaction. The bill of sale may help to verify your sales and use tax, which is 4.15% of the vehicle’s sale price or $75, whichever is higher.
3. Virginia Boat Bill of Sale
Virginia requires the titling and registration of all motorboats that operate on public waterways. Sail-powered boats that are at least 18 feet long don’t need to be registered, but they do need titles.
To obtain a title, submit a completed Application for Watercraft Certificate of Title and Certificate of Number to the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. You need a bill of sale as part of this process if one of the following applies:
- The boat was registered but not titled by the previous owner
- The boat was documented by the Coast Guard but is changing to state registration
You may also need a bill of sale if you intend to operate the vehicle within the first 30 days of purchase and will not yet have registration in your name. In that case, you need to carry the former owner’s registration card and a signed bill of sale whenever you operate the boat.
If you need or choose to complete a boat bill of sale in Virginia, the document should include:
- Model year
- Type of vessel
- Hull material
- Propulsion type
- Hull Identification Number (HIN)
If the boat has more than 25 horsepower, the bill of sale should also include the motor’s make, serial number, and horsepower.
4. Virginia Firearm Bill of Sale
In Virginia, the private sale of a firearm is only legal if both the following are true:
- Buyer and seller are Virginia residents
- The buyer has undergone a background check through a licensed dealer
Alternatively, the buyer can undergo a background check through the State Police at a firearm show. A bill of sale isn’t required by law, but it’s good practice to have one to identify the firearm, buyer, and seller. The bill of sale should include:
- Buyer’s and seller’s contact information and signatures
- Make, model, and serial number of the firearm
- Either party’s concealed handgun permit information
- Background check verification
Virginia does not provide state-drafted bills of sale for firearms. You may draft your own or use a bill of sale template.
5. Virginia Horse Bill of Sale
Virginia does not require a bill of sale for transactions involving horses. However, any horses entering from out of state must have both of the following:
- A valid Certificate of Veterinary Inspection
- A negative test for Equine Infectious Anemia (EIA)
Horses that are coming from areas with EIA infections or contagious equine metritis must have permits. If you are buying a horse from a non-Virginia seller, consider completing a bill of sale that documents freedom from infection. This does not replace official veterinary documentation, but it can verify that the seller has disclosed any known health conditions, should a dispute arise.
6. General Bill of Sale
You can use a general bill of sale to document ownership transfer for any non-regulated item. A general bill of sale should include the following information:
- Purchase price
- Date of sale
- Buyer’s and seller’s contact information