So you’ve made the choice to sell your motorcycle. Whether it was for extra cash, downsizing, or to put towards a new bike, you want the transaction to go smoothly and part of that is to have a clear and concise knowledge of what your motorcycle bill of sale should include.
What is a motorcycle bill of sale?
The basics: Simply put, a motorcycle bill of sale is a receipt, usually one page long, that the motorcycle seller gives the buyer that has the details of the motorcycle written out and is used to prevent fraud during a private sale.
The specifics: A bill of sale is a legal document that shows the ownership of a motorcycle has been changed from the owner to the buyer for the agreed-upon price with the make, model, and the current odometer reading. Because of the legality behind a bill of sale, attention to detail when drafting the document is very important. A bill of sale is drafted by the seller but is in place to protect both parties in the event of a disagreement of the terms of the motorcycle sale.
A bill of sale can require extra steps depending on the item and where you are located. Make sure to check on the specifics of writing a bill of sale in your state. Louisiana, Nebraska, Maryland, New Hampshire, West Virginia, and Montana are the only require a motorcycle bill of sale to be witnessed and notarized by an official. The other states don’t require a notary official to be present, but you can always get your bill of sale notarized if it makes you feel more comfortable.
Fun fact: A bill of sale does not need to be typed up. It can be handwritten on a piece of paper or a napkin, and as long as it has all of the below fields written out, it is legally binding. However, if the bill of sale needs to be revisited for legal reasons, a typed copy will fare better in a court of law than a handwritten copy.
To be legally recognized, a bill of sale for a motorcycle MUST include:
- Date of sale
- Name and address of the seller
- Name and address of the buyer
- Manufacturer, model, year, VIN, color, and mileage of the motorcycle being sold
- The sale amount of the motorcycle
- The form of payment the buyer is giving
- A guarantee clause about the motorcycle and any other special circumstances that must be included (ex: if there is a lien on the motorcycle being purchased or if the motorcycle needs to be shipped.)
- The signature and date of the buyer and seller
What to do if the motorcycle you are selling has a lien against it: If you are selling your bike and you still owe money on it, you need to detail that in the guarantee clause by listing the lien price, lien conditions, and how the payoff will be received. Since you do not have the title, you should arrange for the closing to happen at your financial institution where they can handle the funds to pay off the remainder of the motorcycle loan. While there are other ways to go about exchanging the money, they are not as safe and guaranteed as dealing directly with the financial institution that owns the title to your motorcycle.
If you don’t feel comfortable writing your own bill of sale, there are templates available on reputable legal websites for you to use, just be sure that you change it to include any necessary information regarding a lien or special circumstances in the guarantee clause.
REMEMBER, a completed bill of sale does not show ownership of a motorcycle, only a vehicle title proves legal ownership.