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Learn why you need an electronic bill of sale.

Learn why you need a bill of sale, what yours should include, and how you can create a template to use for all of your future transactions.

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Business owner making a bill of sale on their laptop

What is a bill of sale?

A bill of sale is a legal document that proves a transfer of ownership from a seller to a buyer. Most often used for motor vehicles, watercraft, aircraft, or other items of significant value, a bill of sale records the transfer of any piece of property. It should include a description of the sold item, the date and location of the transaction, and the amount paid from buyer to seller, as well as the names, street addresses, and signatures of the buyer and seller. A completed bill of sale gives the buyer proof that they are the sole owner of the property, and it frees the seller from liability after the transaction.

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Sample bill of sale on a tablet

When is a bill of sale necessary?

Most states require bills of sale for transfers of vehicles or large animals like horses and cattle. Requirements vary by state, so it’s important to check the state laws where you live. For example, to register a vehicle with the Department of Motor Vehicles in New York, you must provide the signed title and a bill of sale to prove your ownership. The California DMV requires the title for registration but requires a bill of sale only if the seller is not the owner listed on the title.

Sample bill of sale on a tablet, mobile phone, and laptop

Types of bills of sale.


An absolute bill of sale describes a complete property transfer with no restrictions or payments following the sale. This type of document is logical if a property is being sold “as is.” The seller has no responsibility once the sale is complete.


Use a conditional bill of sale when you’re transferring property as security for a loan or if the buyer and seller must meet specific criteria to complete the sale. In the case of a loan, the transfer is dependent, or conditional, upon the debtor’s repaying the loan.


If the seller doesn’t have a title or other documentation proving ownership, they might use a quitclaim bill of sale. This document makes no guarantees about the seller’s claim to the property but transfers whatever claim the seller has to the new owner. If there’s a lien on the property, this will pass from seller to buyer.

Bill of sale with warranty

This is a standard bill of sale but with additional protection for the buyer against any future claims to the property. The seller guarantees that they own the property and have the right to sell it.

Sample bill of sale on a mobile phone

A basic bill of sale checklist.

Here’s information every bill of sale should include:


Item description, including vehicle identification number (VIN), serial number, odometer reading, body type, or other identifying information


Guarantee that the item is free from other claims of ownership (and, in the case of animals, that they have received necessary vaccinations and immunizations)


Seller’s name and address


Buyer’s name and address


Date of the sale


Location of the transaction


Sale price plus applicable taxes


Buyer’s signature


Seller’s signature (required in some states)


Notary’s stamp or witness’s signature (if required)

Sample bill of sale on a mobile phone

Create an electronic bill of sale.

Once you’ve checked the necessary legal obligations in your state, you can put together a quick sales agreement with Adobe Acrobat Sign. It takes just a few minutes to create a form and add fields for legally binding signatures, the date, signer name or initials, email address, and more. Then you can send the form out via email for the other party’s signature. If you need to make changes after sending, you can. Plus, you can make sure you’re notified as soon as the other party has completed the agreement — which they can do on any device.

To see how Acrobat Sign can speed up sales agreements and the processing of other contracts, read more about Cervion Systems, a small technology company that used Acrobat Sign to cut contract turnaround time in half. Using electronic forms leads to fewer errors or points of miscommunication, and customers can sign electronically from anywhere.

If you already have a signed paper bill of sale, you can digitize it using Adobe Scan on your mobile device. Simply take a photo of the document and Adobe Scan will convert it into a PDF. Then you can upload the electronic file to Acrobat Sign, where it will be safe from the uncertainties of the physical world.

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