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Bill of Sale vs. Title Transfer

Don't buy a used car without transferring the title or recording the sale. Unlike buying other products, a used car requires a bit of paperwork to complete the process. If you are new to the used car buying experience, these documents are a Bill of Sale and a Title of Ownership. For both the buyer and the seller, these documents are of vital importance.

When you make the decision to buy a used car, you'll need to have the seller transfer the Title of Ownership into your name. The title transfer is absolutely required in order for a sale to be valid. The vehicle title is the final proof of ownership and if you do not have it transferred to you, then your vehicle does not belong to you. Transferring the Title of Ownership is the final step in the car-buying process. To complete a sale, the title transfer must be notarized.

A Bill of Sale is a document that no sale of an automobile should go without. While not mandatory, a Bill of Sale provides both the buyer and seller necessary information and legal protection. For instance, a Bill of Sale will detail the final sale price of the car, so the seller cannot come back at a later date and challenge you for more money.

On their most basic terms, a Bill of Sale is nothing more than a sales receipt. It records a financial transaction just like any other receipt. A Title of Ownership is a legal document providing the name and contact information for the owner of a particular vehicle. It is mandatory to transfer a title after the sale of a used vehicle and have it notarized. The same should be done with a Bill of Sale, though some buyers and sellers complete sales without a Bill of Sale at all.

Be a smart shopper and do your due diligence by ensuring that you get both a Bill of Sale and title transfer when you buy a used vehicle. Head out into the Keystone State and remember to drive often, safe and smart.