If you’re planning on buying or selling a used ATV, there’s a couple things you should know first. The last thing you want is to purchase an ATV from someone, only to have the cops come confiscate it for being stolen property. There are things you can do to protect yourself though. Having a bill of sale is the first most important thing to do.
The bill of sale is basically a document used to prove the ATV was bought or sold. Sometimes referred to as a proof of sale, the bill of sale is considered a valid legal document. The bill of sale should contain all the information needed to register the ATV. Some info to have on your bill of sale includes: buyer and seller information, VIN number, make, model, year, color, agreed price, mileage, and of course signatures.
You could always make your own bill of sale, which I’ll go over later, but here’s one with everything you need on it, you can just print it off and fill it out.
It’s a PDF so you can view and print from your browser by clicking ATV Bill Of Sale. Or you can download to your computer by clicking download.
Do You Even Need A Bill Of Sale?
If you’re buying or selling a new ATV, you will most likely have a title to sign. This is usually found on the back or near the bottom of the title and it will be labeled ‘Assignment’ or ‘Transfer By Owner’.
As a buyer, you could take the signed title to your state and apply for a new title in your name. I still think it’s a good idea to have a bill of sale for this, but I know people have gotten away without one.
As a seller, you want to have a bill of sale to protect yourself. Let’s just say you sign the title over without a bill of sale. The buyer then goes and hurts themselves, others, or damages property with the ATV. If the buyer never went to the state and updated the title to their name, it’s still considered your ATV. You’re liable.
If you’re buying or selling an older ATV, the title might not always be available. People lose or misplace titles all the time. But with a valid bill of sale, most states will let you apply for a new title in your name. This is needed if you ever want to register the ATV in your name. Some states even require ATV’s to be registered, and you need proof of ownership to do that.
Never buy an ATV without either a title or a bill of sale. If you do this, the original owner could then claim it stolen. Without proof of ownership, you wouldn’t have a leg to stand on.
Also be careful with newer ATV’s that have no title. Even if they give you a bill of sale, the title could still have liens or encumbrances placed on it. Meaning the owner hasn’t finished paying it off, or it has been used illegally in some way.
Make Your Own Bill Of Sale
If you don’t want to use the bill of sale above, you could always make your own. Each state has its own rules on what a valid bill of sale needs to have on it, so check with your local authorities to find out what you need to have. But, all bill of sale contracts must have at least the following:
- The Offer – This is the agreement on what will actually be bought or sold. The year, make, and model, as well as the VIN number (serial number), if any, should go here.
- The Amount – This is where the agreed upon amount will be displayed. If there are any contingencies, like repair work needing to be done, that will go here as well.
- Signatures – This is where both parties will print and sign their names, and date the contract. It’s also a good idea to put the address’s of both parties here.
- Legal Intent – Both parties must be competent when signing. You can not be impaired or underage, stuff like that.
Some states do require a notary to be present when both parties sign. You can have everything else filled out ahead of time. But if that’s the case, a notary needs to watch you both sign the bill of sale. Check with your local court system to see if you need a notary present.
That’s just the basics of what is needed for a legal bill of sale contract. You can type this up in a Word Doc, print it out, and you’re good to go. Even a hand written bill of sale is a legal contract. So in a pinch, you could just write this all out on a piece of paper.
The Process Of Buying Or Selling An ATV
The process of buying or selling an ATV is pretty straight forward. But if you haven’t done it before, this could be helpful. The first thing you would want to do is clean the ATV top to bottom. People just like seeing a clean machine, and doing this will help it sell faster.
You want to make sure the ATV is in good working order. Always make sure you sell it “as is” especially if there are problems you don’t want to fix. But the more you can fix and get taken care of, the more you could sell it for and the more buyers will be interested.
Title And Registration
Before you start putting up ads for the machine, you’ll want to clear the title of any liens it may have on it. This is a good time to get your title and registration info all together to be prepared for the sale.
Put up ads for your ATV. You could try selling to a dealer, but you tend to get more money doing a private sale. I like to use apps like OfferUp, LetGo, or ATV Trader. I’ve also used craigslist a lot in the past. If you’re a buyer, you’ll want to start looking in these places too.
This is the fun part for me, but I can understand why some people hate it. Once buyers start responding to your ads, they will usually have a counter offer. You will find that a lot of people don’t want to pay the price you advertised. You’ll get the occasional low baller too, don’t let that bother you. I don’t know how many times I’ve had someone offer me half what I listed the price at.
If you don’t want to do much negotiating, you could always state that your price is firm. That will help weed out some of the low ballers, and let you focus more on serious buyers. You could also add a little to the price you’re willing to sell it at to account for negotiations.
Buyer beware, a lot of sellers add a few bucks to the amount they are willing to take. This is so that even after negotiations, they still get close to the price they wanted. It’s normal and it happens all the time, no one wants to pay full price. Try to have fun with the back and forth, it’s just an expected thing everyone does.
The buyer will want to inspect the ATV. If you don’t want to hire a certified mechanic to do the inspection, you can do it yourself. Check the ATV for rust or cracks in the frame. Check the welded areas of the frame for cracks also. After having a look at the tire tread, wheels, and suspension, you should check the air box.
Remove the seat and the air intake cover. If there’s dirt and water in the air intake box, it most likely got into the engine at some point. Put your hand near the engine to see how warm it is. The ATV might be hard to start and doesn’t run well until the engine is warmed up. The seller could hide this from you by having the engine running for a while before you show up.
Now it’s time for a test drive. Take it easy since it’s not actually yours yet. You don’t want to piss off the seller by beating on the machine just to end up not buying it. All you’re really looking for is a smooth ride with the handling to your liking, and of course that the engine is running nicely.
Fill Out Bill Of Sale
When both parties agree on a price, you can then fill out the bill of sale. You can use the template I gave above, or make your own like we talked about above. Once the payment has been made, you can transfer the title over to the buyer. This is usually done by signing the ‘Assignment’ or ‘Transfer By Owner’ section of the title. If there is no title, the bill of sale can be used to order a new title in most states.
The new owner will have to reapply for a new title in their name. Either with the bill of sale or the title signed by the seller. Then, if your state requires it, you can register the ATV in your name.
There you go, time to enjoy your new ATV. Check out the Recommended Gear section of this site for all the proper gear needed to ride safely.