When you buy a motorcycle, you receive a bill of sale and other important documents that allow you to legally own the vehicle, like your financing plan or account information. This documentation is helpful in situations in which possession might not denote ownership.
For example, in many cases, a vehicle will be in the custody of someone who is repairing it rather than the person who owns it. It can also be useful when the owner has lent it to another party.
Motorcycle Bill of Sale Template
A motorcycle bill of sale is, essentially, a receipt for the purchase of a motorcycle. It can be typed or handwritten on anything from printer paper to a napkin. Nevertheless, if the motorcycle bill of sale needs to be verified in court, a typed document tends to be much preferred – the more professional-looking, the better.
Most of what goes into a motorcycle bill of sale is not different from others. Any bill of sale requires a date, signatures, a description of the goods, and specification for the kind of payment that the buyer is going to make or commit to. However, a bill of sale for a car, for example, requires the inclusion of the mileage, and that is usually not the case for a motorcycle. Some items require, as well, the name of the previous owner to the current seller.
A bill of sale will generally be absolute, meaning the parties draw it up once the buyer has paid in full. But there is such a thing as a conditional bill of sale. A conditional bill of sale applies when payments are still in the completion process, but the item in question is already in possession of the person making the purchase. In cases like these, the seller can reclaim ownership if the buyer does not make a payment.
The most likely scenario in which you will need to use your bill of sale is when you file your taxes, as a vehicle is a major purchase and a possible write-off for you. However, if it does come to pass that there is reason to believe the motorcycle isn’t yours, a bill of sale can help prove that the motorcycle in question belongs to you.
The requirements to make a bill of sale for a motorcycle binding will vary from state to state. In most cases, these requirements are the signatures of the buyer and seller, an agreed-upon price, details about the motorcycle, and the date of the transaction.
In most states, a seller is permitted to draft the bill of sale themself, so long as it includes all necessary information. Some states require the signature of a witness. It’s always important to consult your state’s department of motor vehicles to make sure you’ve followed their specific guidelines.
Below is a step-by-step guide on drafting a bill of sale for a motorcycle.
- List the date of sale
It is important to note when the transaction took place for tax purposes, even if you hit no other bumps in the road. Nearly every kind of official document requires a date.
- List Information about the seller and buyer
The information listed here should be useful in locating both parties if questions should arise. It should include:
The names of both the seller and the buyer.
The mailing addresses of both the seller and the buyer.
The e-mail addresses of both the seller and the buyer.
- List Information about the motorcycle
This step is arguably the most important because it makes the motorcycle identifiable in the paperwork. Without this information, there is no telling what this bill of sale was for.
The manufacturer of the motorcycle
The model of the motorcycle
The year the motorcycle was made
The Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) of the motorcycle
The color of the motorcycle at the time of the sale
The mileage of the motorcycle at the time of the sale
- Additional requirements
If you have not already, go to the website of the department of motor vehicles for your state and find out if there is anything more they require you to include.
Please note that just because your state might require less does not necessarily mean it is a good idea to cut corners. The more information you include, the more of a safety measure your bill of sale can be for you.
- Specify the method of payment and the date of completion
A motorcycle is a large purchase and will often involve several smaller payments rather than one large one. You will want to specify how many installments this payment includes or if there is, indeed, a payment.
If the motorcycle is a gift, that is what you will want to list instead.
You will also need to list the payment method, which could include cash, check, or money order. Specify whether or not the purchase included tax.
For most exchanges, there will be a clear paper trail to verify that each payment was made.
If you are paying in cash, ensure that you get a confirmation in writing every time you make an installment.
- Arrange the Information
Decide how you want to format your document. It is popular to have a section for the seller’s information, one for the buyer’s, and one for information about the motorcycle.
Remember what the purpose of the bill of sale is. If questions arise legally, it can be helpful to have all of the information in one place to protect the buyer and the seller. However you choose to organize the information, you want everything to be laid out in a clean and legible fashion.
- Read over the bill of sale
Read the document with the other party involved, and be sure that you agree to everything listed. If you did not draft the bill of sale yourself, it is especially important that you read it thoroughly. Ensure you are comfortable with everything included, as this is a legally binding document.
Even if you simply downloaded a template online for your bill of sale, you and the person you are making this transaction with should still familiarize yourselves with the content and be sure it is accurate.
You will want specifications included in writing as to what problems the seller is responsible for fixing as they come up. In most cases, the purchase will be made ‘as is,’ meaning any potential damage will be the buyer’s responsibility. If you do not wish for this to be the case, you must specify it.
- Sign the papers
In many states, the buyer doesn’t need to sign a bill of sale. However, it does help if there are any legal issues down the road. Not all states require witness signatures, but even in those that don’t, up to two witnesses can help protect both buyer and seller should anything go wrong.
- Employ a notary
In most states, this step is optional. But, much like the signatures of witnesses, should anything come up in court later, it can only serve to help you. If you are feeling extremely hesitant or feel there are reasons to need your paperwork to be ironclad, you can also have an attorney look over your motorcycle bill of sale.
- Store the paperwork in a safe place
If you are the buyer, you will want to save this documentation alongside other items like the title of your new motorcycle. This step will help you if there are any hiccups along the way. Even if there are not, you will thank yourself for your diligence during tax season.
Here are the answers to the most common questions on motorcycle bills of sale.