Buying or selling a motorcycle in California (CA) doesn’t have to be stressful. A bill of sale form should always be used when selling or buying a motorcycle to prove who owns the bike in case of a dispute.
What’s a California motorcycle bill of sale form? What paperwork is needed to buy or sell a motorcycle in California? What are the steps involved in each process? Read on to find out.
- What Is a California Motorcycle Bill of Sale Form?
- Is a Motorcycle Bill of Sale Form Required in California?
- Do You Need a Bill of Sale to Register a Motorcycle in California?
- How Do I Transfer Ownership of a Motorcycle in California?
- Does a California Motorcycle Bill of Sale Need to Be Notarized?
- Buying a Motorcycle in California
- Selling a Motorcycle in California
- How to Write a Motorcycle Bill of Sale in California
- California Motorcycle Bill of Sale Sample
What Is a California Motorcycle Bill of Sale Form?
A California motorcycle bill of sale form is a formal agreement used to document the sale of a motorcycle in California from one person to another.
The document contains important details about the motorcycle, including the make, model, year, vehicle identification number (VIN), and odometer reading at the time of the transaction. Additionally, it contains information associated with the buyer and seller, such as names, addresses, and signatures.
The California motorcycle bill of sale is crucial because it verifies ownership and can be referred to in future conflicts or legal troubles.
Is a Motorcycle Bill of Sale Form Required in California?
California doesn’t legally require a bill of sale document when transferring motorcycle ownership between private parties. It can prove ownership in place of a title in certain circumstances.
In any event, having one can offer an extra layer of protection for both the buyer and the seller. The bill of sale document is an official legal document and can be used as a written sale record, which is always good.
Do You Need a Bill of Sale to Register a Motorcycle in California?
No, a bill of sale is not generally required for California motorcycle registration.
When a person registers a motorcycle in California, the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) must be presented with ownership documents such as a title or a bill of sale.
The bill of sale should contain details like the buyer’s and seller’s names and addresses, the transaction date, the motorcycle’s VIN, the price paid for it, and a description of the bike.
All motorcycles need to be registered with the DMV in California. For registration, you must provide the certificate of title and proof of insurance, present your driver’s license, and pay applicable fees. It’s important to note that registration requirements can vary depending on specific conditions, such as if the motorcycle is brand new or purchased from out of state.
Getting advice on the exact requirements for registering your motorcycle from the California DMV or a qualified expert is best.
How Do I Transfer Ownership of a Motorcycle in California?
To transfer ownership of your motorcycle in California, you need to follow these steps:
1. Complete the Bill of Sale
The buyer and the seller should complete a bill of sale, including the buyer’s and seller’s name and address, the date of sale, the VIN, the purchase price, and a motorcycle description.
2. Sign Over the Title Certificate
The seller must complete the title certificate if they haven’t already and sign it to the buyer. The buyer should check the title certificate carefully to ensure correct information.
If the seller is not the registered owner listed on the motorcycle’s title, you will need a bill of sale signed by the seller and the person whose name appears on the title.
If the title has been lost or damaged, the parties can complete an Application for Replacement or Transfer of Title form.
3. Get a Smog Certificate
If the motorcycle is over two years old, the seller must provide the buyer with a valid smog certificate. The certificate must be issued within 90 days of the sale date.
4. Submit the Required Documents
The buyer must submit the signed over title, the bill of sale (if applicable), and the smog certificate (if applicable) to the California DMV. The buyer also needs to pay any applicable fees.
5. Receive New Registration and Title
After the DMV processes the ownership transfer, the buyer will receive a brand-new registration and title in their name.
It’s important to know that the exact requirements for transferring motorcycle ownership can vary depending on specific conditions. Ask the California DMV or a licensed professional for help if you have any questions.
Motorcycle Title Transfer with a Bill of Sale Only
In California, a bill of sale is typically not valid in place of the registered owner’s release signature on the title of a motorcycle. According to the California DMV, the registered owner of the bike needs to sign and date the title to transfer ownership.
The bill of sale is a separate document that acts as proof of the sale and the transfer of ownership from the seller to the buyer. However, it can’t be used in place of the registered owner’s name on the title.
In California, buying a motorcycle with just a bill of sale is generally impossible. For the transfer of ownership to be finalized, the state requires that the buyer sign the title certificate.
If the registered owner can’t sign the title, the DMV may accept other proof of ownership transfer forms, such as a court order or an affidavit of succession. However, these alternative methods may have additional requirements and may not always be accepted by the DMV.
A bill of sale may be used instead of a title in certain circumstances. For instance, the DMV may accept a bill of sale as proof of ownership if the motorcycle is older than ten years old and the title doesn’t mention any lienholders.
A bill of sale can also prove ownership if the seller of the motorcycle acquired it in a private sale and never registered it.
It’s important to remember that these situations are relatively uncommon and may entail additional requirements or limitations.
Does a California Motorcycle Bill of Sale Need to Be Notarized?
A California motorcycle bill of sale doesn’t need to be notarized to be legally valid. However, it’s recommended that both the buyer and seller sign the bill of sale in the presence of a notary public, as doing so can help prevent transaction fraud and/or any disputes over the deal.
If you choose to have the bill of sale notarized, the buyer and seller must present a valid form of ID, such as a driver’s license or passport, to the notary public. The notary will then verify the identities of both parties and witness the signing of the bill of sale.
While notarization isn’t required from a legal perspective, it can provide additional documentation and protection for both the buyer and the seller.
Buying a Motorcycle in California
The steps to buying a motorcycle in California include the following:
Step 1 – Determine Your Budget
Calculate how much you can afford to spend on a bike.
Step 2 – Research Motorcycles
Research the different models and types of motorcycles to find one that matches your needs and budget.
Step 3 – Find a Motorcycle
Look for motorcycles for sale from dealers, private sellers, and online marketplaces.
Step 4 – Inspect the Motorcycle
Once you’ve found a motorcycle you’re interested in, inspect it thoroughly to ensure it’s in good condition and meets your requirements. You can also take it to a professional mechanic for a safety inspection.
Step 5 – Negotiate the Price
Negotiate the price with the seller, considering the motorcycle’s condition, age, mileage, and other factors.
Step 6 – Get a Bill of Sale
Once you’ve agreed on a price, complete a bill of sale with the seller, which should include information such as the buyer’s and seller’s name and address, the date of the sale, the VIN, the purchase price, and a description of the motorcycle.
Step 7 – Transfer Ownership
To transfer ownership of the motorcycle, the seller will need to date and sign the motorcycle’s certificate of title to release ownership, and you’ll need to submit the signed over title, any required documentation, and applicable fees to the DMV.
Remember that buyers have ten days after the purchase to transfer ownership.
Step 8 – Obtain Registration and Title
Once the DMV processes the transfer of ownership, you’ll receive a new registration and title in your name.
Selling a Motorcycle in California
The steps to selling a motorcycle in California include the following:
Step 1 – Gather the Necessary Paperwork
Before selling a motorcycle, you must have the title, registration, and maintenance records or receipts.
Step 2 – Determine the Value of the Motorcycle
Research the value of your motorcycle by looking at similar models for sale in your area or referring to sources such as the Kelley Blue Book or NADA guides.
Step 3 – Advertise the Motorcycle
Advertise your motorcycle for sale in online marketplaces, in classified ads, and/or by word of mouth.
Step 4 – Meet with Potential Buyers
Arrange to meet with potential buyers to show them the motorcycle and answer any questions they may have.
Step 5 – Negotiate the Price
Negotiate the price with the buyer, considering the motorcycle’s condition, age, mileage, and other factors.
Step 6 – Complete the Bill of Sale
Once you’ve agreed on a price, complete a bill of sale that includes information such as the buyer’s and seller’s name and address, the date of the sale, the VIN, the purchase price, and a description of the motorcycle.
Step 7 – Sign the Title and Transfer Ownership
Sign the title to release ownership and provide the buyer with a copy of the signed title. The buyer needs to submit the signed title, any required documentation, and applicable fees to the DMV to finalize the transfer of ownership.
Step 8 – Cancel the Registration and Insurance
Cancel your registration and insurance for the motorcycle, as you’re no longer the owner, and the buyer needs to be protected from liability this way. Sellers have five days after the sale to report the transfer of ownership to the DMV.
How to Write a Motorcycle Bill of Sale in California
To write a motorcycle bill of sale in California, follow these steps:
1. Identify the Buyer and Seller
Include the legal name and address of both the buyer and seller.
2. Describe the Motorcycle
Include the make, model, year, color, VIN, and other relevant motorcycle details.
3. State the Purchase Price
Include the purchase price for the motorcycle in both spelled-out and numerical form.
4. Include Any Warranties
If you’re offering a motorcycle warranty, state the terms on the bill of sale.
5. Include Any Conditions of the Sale
If there are any conditions to the sale, such as the buyer having to obtain financing, state them on the bill of sale.
6. Sign and Date the Bill of Sale
Both the buyer and seller should date and sign the bill of sale.
7. Get a Copy of the Bill of Sale
The buyer and seller should keep a copy of the signed bill of sale for their records.
As mentioned above, while a bill of sale doesn’t need to be notarized in California, it’s a good idea to have it signed in the presence of a notary public to prevent fraudulent transactions and any disputes over the sale.
California Motorcycle Bill of Sale Sample
If you’re buying or selling a motorcycle in California, it’s a good idea to use a bill of sale, even if it isn’t technically required in every case. Check out our free template to get started.