A bill of sale should at a minimum include information identifying the parties to the transaction (the buyer and seller), the total purchase price, and a specific description of the item that was sold.
In the case of a motor vehicle, it is important that the bill of sale include specific identifying information such as the make, model, year, body type, and vehicle identification number (VIN number). When selling a boat or other watercraft, the bill of sale will include the hull identification number (HIL).
Bills of sale also typically include the following information:
- 'As is' language, stating that the buyer agrees to accept the item in its current condition (whether the item is currently working as originally intended or not).
- A statement that the seller has the legal authority to sell the item and that nobody else has a claim to the item.
- A provision stating that the buyer has inspected, or had an opportunity to inspect, the item before the transaction.
- Identification of the state whose laws govern the transaction.
- Sales of motor vehicles should also include the odometer reading at the time of the transfer between parties. Bills of sale for motor vehicles should include an "Odometer Disclosure Statement." In this statement, the seller affirms that the odometer reading is accurate and was not altered while in the seller's possession or at his or her direction.
- Signatures of both the buyer and seller of the item.