California Bill of Sale Form

Create a personalized binding California bill of sale to transfer ownership of a vehicle, boat, or item over $500 in a private sale safely and securely.

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Last Update July 18th, 2024


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Bills of Sale in California

A California bill of sale is an essential legal document used in the state to sell valuable items that can be used as proof of ownership transfer.

Bills of sale are necessary in California following the sale of a car, vehicle, firearm, or animal(s), before registering the asset in the name of its new owner with the state authorities such as the DMV.

They must also be used when selling items worth over $500 in value.

Once signed and completed the bills should be kept as a record of the sale and to legally prove that the buyer is the new owner.

Types of California Bills of Sale

There are numerous types of California bills of sale that can be used for the purchase of a valuable asset. Each is specially prepared to cover the specific information of the item being bought and sold.

A bill of sale can be used in California for a private sale if you are selling any of the following items:

General Bill of Sale

A general California bill of sale is a generic legal document used for the sale of an item or items in a private sale.

These can be customized to provide all the details necessary about the asset being sold and to show the agreement of both parties in the price and conditions of the sale.

California Bills of Sale Sample

Before starting a California bill of sale for real it’s wise to look over a prepared example document first.

Use our sample California bill of sale below, to get familiar with the information you must have prepared before completing and signing the form.

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California Bill of Sale Sample

California Vehicle Bill of Sale

A California vehicle bill of sale (also known as a car or DMV bill of sale) can be used to sell an automobile in the state.

It is structured to provide essential information about the vehicle's make/model, date of manufacture, registration details, and VIN (Vehicle Identification Number), and other crucial data.

The completed bill can then be used to prove the transfer of ownership and to update the owner’s registration information at a local DMV.

How to Register a Vehicle in California

Once a car has been sold in California the new owner must inform the DMV of the change in registration information within 10 days of the date of the transaction.

To do this, you must pay a registration fee and submit the following documentation to the DMV:

California Trailer Bill of Sale

A California trailer bill of sale can be used to record the sale of trailing vehicles such as those used to transport boats and watercraft, livestock and animals, and goods.

These documents are used to prove the validity of the transaction between the buyer and seller as well as collect essential data used to register the vehicle with the DMV.

How to Register a Trailer in California

Once a trailer has been purchased its registration information must be updated at the DMV to reflect the change in ownership.

This must be done within 5-30 days of the transaction so it can remain in use on the road.

To update the information officially, you must notify the DMV and submit a copy of the signed bill of sale and an Application for Replacement or Transfer of Title (Form REG 227).

California Boat Bill of Sale

A boat bill of sale can be used in California to transfer ownership of a vessel or watercraft.

It is specially prepared to contain key information on the boat’s make and model, age, condition, engine, as well as its HIN (Hull Identification Number).

This allows the new owner to prove the validity of the purchase officially so it can be registered for use in California waters.

How to Register a Boat/Vessel in California

Once you have obtained a valid boat bill of sale in California the new owner must register the change in vessel ownership with the DMV.

In order to do this after purchasing a boat with a bill of sale, you will need to pay the registration fees and provide the following documents:

Get your CA Motorcycle Bill of Sale

A motorcycle bill of sale is a legal document that contains the key data and information required to complete the sale of a motorcycle.

The structure of a motorcycle bill of sale for California is similar to the version used to sell cars. However, it also requires some extra information on the form such as the vehicle’s engine number.

How to Register a Motorcycle in California

It is necessary to update the registry information of a recently purchased motorcycle within 10 days of its sale in California.

After purchasing a motorcycle with a California bill of sale, the new owner must present the following documentation to the DMV:

  • Driver’s license or official photo ID
  • Proof of insurance
  • The signed motorcycle bill of sale
  • Application for Replacement or Transfer of Title (Form REG 227)

FAQs About California Bill of Sale Forms

Knowing the ins and outs of a successful California bill of sale is crucial.

If you’re still not quite sure about some of the features of this legal document, consult our FAQs below to get a better understanding.

Is a Bill of Sale Required in California?

Yes, there are some situations you must have a California bill of sale for a transaction to be legal.

A bill of sale can be required in California for the private sale of the following items:

  • Valuable items over $500 in value
  • Cars and Motorcycles
  • Boats

This is a necessary step to ensure the vehicle or item can be properly registered and the transfer of ownership can be legally proven.

What Paperwork is Needed to Sell a Car in California?

In order to sell a car in California, the seller must prepare a bill of sale providing details on the vehicle being sold and the details of the transaction if they do not have a copy of the vehicle’s title.

You must also obtain a Vehicle Emission System Statement (Form REG 139) within 90 days of the sale. It is advised to get this information prior to actually selling the vehicle.

Additionally, you must also complete a Notice of Transfer and Release of Liability (Form REG 166) to notify the DMV of the change of ownership of the vehicle.

Recently purchased cars must be registered at the DMV with the new owner’s data within 10 days of the sale.

Is it Possible to Fake a Bill of Sale in California?

It is possible to create a bill of sale in California using fake data. However, using a fake bill of sale officially can have severe legal consequences.

For example, bearing false witness to the DMV in California with a fake vehicle bill of sale is a crime under California Vehicle Code Section 20 and can be prosecuted with punishments including fines and up to 6 months in county jail.

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California Bill of Sale Sample

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