Does a bill of sale have to be notarized in Alabama?

You can use an Alabama bill of sale form to officially record the sale of items such as cars, boats, firearms, or other personal property. Once both parties complete and sign the form, the ownership will officially pass to the buyer.

After the sale is complete, both the buyer and seller should keep a copy of the sales contract for their records.

What do you require in this contract?

In Alabama, the Department of the Treasury (DOT) doesn’t always require a vehicle sales contract. However, it is imperative if no title is available before you sell a vehicle. 

Sales invoices are always necessary to register ships in the state. A notary public has to sign all sales contracts or have two witnesses for the required signatures. 

When it comes to a bill of sale, there is no general form that covers all of Alabama. Instead, many counties have their own forms, and while you can write your own, it is important that you meet your county’s requirements when doing so.

Language requirements in a bill of sale

The DOT (and each state) does not provide sales contracts or other forms in Spanish or any other language, nor does it offer translators. So if you need to file a bill of sale contract, and you don’t speak fluent English, you will need to provide your own interpreter.

If the buyer and the seller are the only two parties in the exchange then they can draw the bill of sale in any language provided each party thoroughly understands their copy of the document.

Copies required for a bill of sale in Alabama

If the purchase agreement is necessary for a sale transaction, the state of Alabama has to receive a copy. It is also a good idea to provide copies of the document for the buyer and seller to use for their records. One copy from the state should suffice for each party.

Requirements in a Vehicle bill of sale

Most Alabama sales invoices, however, must include the following criteria: 

  • Name and contact information, not both buyer and seller (if dealer, the licensed name is required) Vehicle identification number or VIN number 
  • Vehicle make, model and year 
  • Serial number and body type 
  • Mileage 
  • Buyer’s signature 
  • Notarized seller 
  • Sale Date 
  • Purchase Price

Dealers are mandatory to provide invoices for sale when purchasing a vehicle from them, so be sure to order in advance so you can register and name a vehicle with no title problems.

What are the other documents important to register a vehicle in Alabama?

In addition to a proper sales contract, there are many other documents that must be completed and submitted in order to register a vehicle or ship in Alabama.

Dealership Sales (For Buyers)

  • The dealer can submit your title application after purchasing the vehicle. You will need to provide proof of application when registering the vehicle with the local county licensing authority. When you rent your vehicle, you must also enclose a copy of your rental agreement and a power of attorney. 
  • Form from your leasing company to complete registration. 
  • There is no need to bring a bill of sale contract with detailed tax information and this is only recorded if the vehicle was purchased from a dealer in another country. Dealer affidavit and ownership / VIN are required to verify documentation for registration.

Private Sales (For Buyers)

  • VIN / Ownership Documentation Verification is mandatory if the vehicle is from another state or does not require a title. In addition, a safety inspection is vital before the party sells or transfers any vehicle.

However, emissions testing is not essential in Alabama. You must register your vehicle within 20 days of purchasing or taking ownership. If you’re new to the state, you have 30 days. 

  • When you register your vehicle with the Alabama Department of Motor Revenue, the vehicle department transfers the title to your name at the same time.

You must appear in person at your County Licensing Office with the mileage, sale price, seller’s signature, proof of residence, insurance, a current registration, and an odometer release if not noted on the title. 

  • Title Fees and Taxes. You will receive your plates and decals as soon as the process is complete. You can also bring your old license plates from another vehicle and transfer them. 
  • All registration fees depend on the weight, type, and model year of your vehicle. You’ll need to ask your County Licensing Office about the specific fees they charge, or you can visit the DOT MVD website in advance for a general estimate. 
  • If you are a resident of Alabama and are based outside of the state, you can mail your registration documents or have a family member fill out a power of attorney form so they can complete the process for you.