Bill of Sale Cost

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What does a bill of sale cost? If you’re planning to sell an expensive item, this may be a question you have. So let’s explore this question and review some general information about bills of sale.

According to Based on ContractsCounsel’s marketplace data, the average cost of a project involving a bill of sale is $300.

How Much Does a Bill of Sale Cost?

A bill of sale, sometimes called proof of purchase or proof of sale, is a legal document that serves as a record for the transfer of ownership of property from one party to another in exchange for money. A bill of sale is most commonly used when selling a valuable asset like a vehicle, boat, aircraft, or trailer. Sometimes, a bill of sale is used for transactions in which personal property like animals or furniture are sold.

A bill of sale is usually drafted by the seller and must include all transaction details. If you have never prepared a bill of sale, it is recommended that you seek the help of a lawyer familiar with bills of sale. This document serves as proof that a sale agreement was made and a transaction was completed. In addition, an accurate bill of sale can protect both the seller and buyer in the event of a dispute.

The cost of a bill of sale depends on several variables, including the type of property being sold, any custom terms that you need added to the bill of sale, and the lawyer you hire to help you with the legal document.

Can You Write a Bill of Sale Yourself?

It is possible to write a bill of sale yourself. Many people find bill of sale templates online, and often, your local tax collector’s office or DMV will provide bill of sale forms.

Requirements for a bill of sale will vary by state. So, if you aren’t sure of your state’s laws and requirements, it is best to consult with an experienced attorney to ensure your bill of sale complies with all local laws.

If you plan to write your own bill of sale, you should always include the following critical information:

  • Date of purchase
  • Name and address of the seller and the buyer
  • Amount paid for the transfer of ownership
  • Description of the item being transferred
  • Guarantee that the item is free from all claims and offsets

Some states require that both the buyer and seller sign the bill of sale, while others only require the seller's signature. Whether or not the document needs to be notarized also varies by state. Make sure you know your state’s laws before executing a bill of sale.

Suppose you are selling a vehicle like a car or a boat. In that case, your bill of sale should also include the following information about the vehicle:

  • Vehicle type (car, boat, motorcycle, etc.)
  • Make, model, and year of the vehicle
  • Odometer reading
  • Hull number
  • Engine serial number
  • Vehicle registration number
  • Vehicle identification number

What Makes a Bill of Sale Legal?

To be legally enforceable, a bill of sale must comply with all your state requirements governing bills of sale. These requirements will vary by state. If you are unfamiliar with your state laws, it is best to contact a lawyer familiar with bills of sale.

In most states, the bill of sale will need the signature of the buyer and the seller, and it will need to be notarized.

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Bill of Sale Drafting

It is recommended to hire a knowledgeable lawyer to draft a bill of sale. An experienced lawyer will be familiar with the state laws surrounding bills of sale and ensure the document is legally enforceable.

Although hiring a lawyer to draft a bill of sale will incur costs, you protect your sale or purchase by knowing that the transaction is legal and properly recorded.

Bill of Sale Drafting Cost

A lawyer will charge a client for the time it takes to draft a bill of sale, any consulting time, and any communications between the lawyer and client.

ContractsCounsel’s marketplace data shows the average bill of sale drafting costs are $350 across all states and industries.

When Do You Need to Draft a Bill of Sale?

It is a good idea to execute a bill of sale any time you sell personal property and need to have a record of the sale and purchase. Records may be required for accounting or tax purposes and protection against legal action.

If you are privately buying or selling a car, you should record the transaction with a bill of sale. The bill of sale should include details of your agreement, like the vehicle being sold “as is.”

Many states require proof of purchase like a signed bill of sale to transfer a property title, like a car or boat.

There are some instances where a bill of sale is not necessary to exchange property. For example, you do not need a bill of sale for the following transactions:

  • Real estate transactions. Real estate transactions are more complicated than selling personal property, so a bill of sale cannot be used for this transaction. Most laws require additional documents to buy and sell real estate, like real estate contracts and quitclaim deeds.
  • Performance of services. Bills of sale are only used to transfer the ownership of property, not services. Therefore, if you perform a service, like landscaping, you need a service contract, not a bill of sale.
  • Small sales. Bills of sale are only used for property with substantial value, like vehicles or livestock. If you sell less expensive items like a small piece of furniture, yard sale items, or clothing, a bill of sale is not necessary.

If you are unsure whether you need a bill or sale, the best thing to do is contact a lawyer familiar with bills of sale and the state laws regarding bills of sale. A lawyer will inform you whether a bill of sale is necessary and guide you through the process of drafting and executing this document.

How Do Lawyers Charge for a Bill of Sale?

Lawyers can charge for services, like document drafting, in several ways. Depending on the project's complexity, the lawyer will typically use an hourly rate or a flat fee rate.

Hourly Rates for Bills of Sale

Many lawyers bill for their time using an hourly rate fee schedule. The lawyer will inform the client of their hourly rate and then log time in a timesheet to be invoiced at the end of the project for any time spent working on the client’s case.

ContractsCounsel’s marketplace data shows the average hourly rate for a bill of sale lawyer ranges from $200 - $300 per hour.

Flat Fee Rates for Bills of Sale

Flat fee billing structures are often used for drafting projects. Unlike an ongoing case that doesn’t have a definitive end, drafting a bill of sale is a one-time project. A lawyer can estimate the amount of time the document will take to create and then quote the client a flat rate for the service. The benefit of flat fee billing is that it provides certainty to the client on the project's total cost.

ContractsCounsel’s marketplace data shows the average flat fee rate for a bill of sale is $300.

Get Help with a Bill of Sale

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