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A Washington State Vehicle Bill of Sale: Everything You Need To Know

in Car Buying Tips
Seattle Washington

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Buying a new vehicle is an exciting process, but it can also be a complicated one. Making sure your Bill of Sale is correct is one of the most critical parts of the process since the Bill of Sale is a big part of making sure a new vehicle is legally yours. Here’s what you need to know about a Washington State Vehicle Bill Of Sale and how to make sure your Bill of Sale is ready to go. 

Making sure your Bill Of Sale is ready to go and legally valid in your state doesn’t have to be challenging, but it does need to be exact. 

What Does A Bill of Sale Do?

A Bill Of Sale is one of the legal documents that track the sale of significant assets and are usually specific to the kind of asset. Vehicle bills of sale are primarily used for trucks and cars but can also be used for campers, trailers, and even boats in some circumstances. 

Bills of Sale also help ensure a vehicle’s ownership is legal and can be used along with a Title or other ownership documents to prove a vehicle is yours. They track the car’s value, who the buyer and seller are, and a few other vital pieces of identifying information about the car itself. 


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Washington Bill Of Sale Requirements

Most states’ vehicle Bill Of Sale templates are pretty similar, but most states also have a few specific requirements. Here’s what your Washington Vehicle Bill of Sale requires. 

Contact Information

One of the essential parts of a Washington Vehicle Bill of Sale is the contact information for everyone involved. This is important because it provides a way to contact the buyer and seller if necessary. 

Seller Information

The seller usually needs to provide their name, signature, and date, as well as a valid phone number and occasionally other contact information. The template will tell you what information you need to provide as a seller. 

Buyer Information

For a Washington Vehicle Bill of Sale, buyers must provide the same contact information. You will always need to provide your legal name, signature, phone number, and date of sale. You may also need to provide your address or an alternative means of contact. 

Vehicle Information

Your Washington Vehicle Bill of Sale also needs to include identifying information about the vehicle you’re buying. This is used to ensure you’re given the right car and to keep track of who owns which vehicle. 

VIN Number

The VIN is your vehicle identification number, a unique number assigned to that vehicle. The buyer and the seller should double-check the VIN if there is any chance that a similar car with a different VIN is available. This is one of the most important ways to ensure the car you’re sold and the car you go home with are the exact vehicle, not just the same make and model. 

License Plate Number

The license plate number is most important when buying from a dealership that can provide a temporary license. If you’re buying from a private owner, you may not have a license plate number until you’ve re-registered the car and gotten a new license plate. 

Registration Number

Your registration number is also important when buying from the dealership, but you may not immediately have a registration number if you buy the vehicle from a private owner. However, your bill of sale may be used to prove that you just purchased a car if you are pulled over for not having a license plate or are asked for your registration. 

Sale Information

In addition to providing information about the buyer and seller and the vehicle itself, your bill of sale also tracks information about the sale itself, like the price of the car and its value for tax purposes. 

The date of the sale is also listed and is vital because it determines your grace period for things like registering the vehicle. 

How Many Copies Of A Washington Bill Of Sale Do You Need

You should usually create three Washington Vehicle Bills of Sale when selling or buying a vehicle. That’s because the buyer and seller both need a copy of the Bill of Sale, and you’ll need an additional Bill of Sale to give the State. 

You can make more than three copies of a Bill of Sale if you want to, especially if you want to be able to put a copy in storage or file a document with an accountant or legal representative. 


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Who Takes Care of Bill Of Sale In Washington?

Knowing whose responsibility it is to take care of a Bill of Sale is important to ensure you don’t forget to make one. 

Of course, like other details of buying a vehicle, buying from a dealership and buying from a private seller can make a big difference. 

Buying From A Dealership

When you buy from a dealership, it’s usually the responsibility of the dealership to create a bill of sale and create copies. 

It’s still the buyer’s responsibility to ensure the bill of sale is correct. 

Buying From A Private Seller

Private sellers must fill out their portion of the bill of sale and give it to the buyer to finish the bill of sale. Buyers are still required to ensure the bill of sale is complete and correct as much as possible. 


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Additional Required Documents

For Washington Vehicle Bills of Sale, a few other documents are essential to ensure your bill of sale is legal and final.

Emissions Testing

Because some counties in Washington require emissions testing before registering the vehicle, you’ll need to get the emissions tested relatively quickly after the Bill of Sale is finalized. 

Registration & Vehicle Title

In Washington, you must register and title your vehicle within 15 days of the purchase; otherwise, the state levies a $50 fine.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do Washington drivers need a bill of sale?

Washington is one of the many U.S. states legally requiring a bill of sale when applying for a new title. To get a new car title in WA, you need a completed bill of sale document with the seller’s signature. The bill of sale is also required to pay for the fees and taxes associated with the car.

What information is required to complete a Washington bill of sale?

First, you’ll need to download and complete a WA Vehicle/ Vessel Bill of Sale form. Then, you must supply the following information to complete your bill of sale:

  • The vehicle’s VIN, make, model, and year
  • The license plate and registration
  • Date of sale
  • Sale price
  • Name, address, and signature of the buyer
  • Name, address, and signature of seller

What should I do after completing a bill of sale in Washington?

After completing the bill of sale document, the title transfer must be completed so the seller can transfer legal ownership of the car to the buyer. Remember that a bill of sale doesn’t legally transfer vehicle ownership and is treated more like a receipt. 



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