When you sell a vehicle in the State of Maryland you need to complete a state-specific Bill of Sale Form for any vehicle that is 7 years old or newer and the vehicle is being sold for less than the book value. This serves as a legal contract documenting the transaction and releases the seller from future liability in regard to the motor vehicle. In particular a notarized MVA Bill of Sale Form # VR-181 is needed if the sale price is less than the vehicle’s book value and the vehicle is 7 years old or newer. Please call the MVA’s Customer Service Center at 410-768-7000 to verify the vehicle’s book value.
The following information should appear on the Maryland Bill of Sale Form:
- Vehicle description, including Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), make, model, year and body style.
- Name of the seller.
- Name of the buyer.
- Purchase price.
- Vehicle odometer reading at the time of sale.
- Date of sale.
- Signature of the seller and the buyer in the presence of a notary.
Maryland Bill of Sale Form
To transfer the title and register the vehicle in your name you may need a completed and notarized Bill of Sale Form VR-181. See details below.
The Bill of Sale needs notarization if the sale price is less than the vehicle’s book value and the vehicle is 7 years old or newer. The notary will witness both the buyer(s) and seller(s) signatures. In conclusion, if you need notarization don’t sign the Bill of Sale without being in the presence of a notary!
However if the vehicle’s sale price is more than the vehicle’s book value or the vehicle is over 7 years old then you don’t need notarization. Nevertheless if you have a Bill of Sale which is not notarized and the sale price of the vehicle is within $500 of the retail value as shown in the National Publication of Used Car Values, MVA will accept the purchase price as completed on the title.
Selling a Vehicle in Maryland
As a seller you should always keep a copy of any transfer of ownership documents or related forms for your records and always provide to the buyer the original Title, and the original security of Interest Filing, so that the buyer will have evidence that the vehicle has been paid off in order to obtain the new Title.
The seller must sign and print his or her name and the buyer’s name and address on the back side of the “Certificate of Title” under the “Assignment of Ownership” section. The buyer’s name and address must be recorded in the “Assignment of Ownership” section to complete the sale. Without the name, the title is considered “open” and will not be recognized by the MVA for registration.
Please understand that private vehicle sales (not with a licensed dealer) are not regulated by the MVA. For this reason any legal action regarding the sale are the sole responsibility of the buyer and the seller.
If the title of the vehicle has been lost or destroyed, a duplicate title can be obtained by completing an MVA Application for Duplicate Certificate of Title Form # VR-018.
The seller must record the odometer mileage under the “Assignment of Ownership” section on the “Certificate of Title”. If the “Certificate of Title” has space for the purchase price, record the purchase price on the title under the “Assignment of Ownership” section along with the date of the sale.
Unless the seller is transferring the plates to another vehicle, the seller shall return the license plates to the MVA, before cancelling insurance on the vehicle, and retain the receipt. Maryland law is extremely strict and uninsured motorist fines begin at $150 for the first day a vehicle is not insured.
Buying a Vehicle in Maryland
As a buyer, to transfer the title and register the vehicle in your name you’ll need a completed and notarized Bill of Sale Form VR-181. You will need a notary, witnessing both the buyer(s) and seller(s) signatures, if you present a Bill of Sale to complete your transaction. On the “Maryland Certificate of Title” there is a space for the purchase price, and you will not need a Bill of Sale, unless the vehicle is 7 years old or newer and the vehicle is being sold for less than the book value.
Of course the buyer must sign his or her name on the “Maryland Certificate of Title” under the “Assignment of Ownership” section. If there is a co-buyer, he or she must also sign. The buyer’s name and address must be recorded in the “Assignment of Ownership” area on the title to complete the sale. Without the name, the title is considered “open” and will not be recognized by the Maryland MVA for registration.
Used vehicles must be safety inspected before they can be registered by the Maryland MVA. The vehicle must be inspected by a licensed Maryland inspection station. An automobile dealer, service station or specialized automobile service center can all be licensed as Maryland inspection stations. A “Maryland Safety Inspection Certificate” is valid for 90 days. Make sure the vehicle identification number, engraved on a metal plate and visible through the windshield on the driver’s side, matches the number entered on the “Maryland Safety Inspection Certificate”, the “Certificate of Title” and any other vehicle ownership documents. Altered inspection certificates will not be approved!
Temporary Registration in Maryland
A Temporary Registration is available for buyers who must have an inspection or repairs completed to register the vehicle. The temporary registration may be purchased at the Maryland MVA when titling the vehicle. In this case the temporary registration is valid for 30 days from the issuance date. The temporary registration allows the buyer to transport the vehicle for a Maryland safety inspection and any necessary repairs.
The registration fee will not be collected until the “Maryland Safety Inspection Certificate” is submitted. Also the registration fee will not be collected until a one or two year registration plate is requested. However, the buyer will need to pay the title fees, taxes, and any lien filing fee, if applicable. Also the buyer will need to pay the temporary registration fee when purchasing the temporary plates. If a temporary registration is needed, an MVA Temporary Inspection Waiver Form # VR-129 must be completed.
Odometer Disclosure Statement in Maryland
Please be aware, according to Federal and State laws you are required to state the mileage of the vehicle. The statement is made in connection with the transfer of ownership for any vehicle that that is a model year 2011 or newer and below 16,000 pounds. Failure to complete or providing a false statement may result in fines and/or imprisonment!
To complete an odometer disclosure statement use this official form: Maryland Odometer Disclosure Statement – Form VR-197
How to complete the Maryland Bill of Sale Form
The Maryland Bill of Sale Form VR-181 is composed of three sections. Below you will understand how to fill in this state-approved form:
The first section contains the vehicle information. Here fill in the Year, Make, Model, Body Style and VIN or Vehicle Identification Number. Next fill in the full name of the buyer. The buyer’s name must be PRINTED. This means to use only Capital Letters to write BUYER’S NAME. Then fill in the sale price of the vehicle. Lastly, if it’s the case, fill in the reason the vehicle may be purchased for a price less than the fair market value:
In the second section you have to fill in the odometer disclosure statement. Fill in first the odometer reading with digits without tenths. Then check only if this applies in your case. You may need to choose between mileage in excess or if is not the actual mileage:
The third section is reserved for Notary Public if it meets the following conditions. In particular if the vehicle is 7 years old or newer and is sold for less than the book value you need notarization. In this case DO NOT fill in this section!
However if the vehicle’s sale price is more than the vehicle’s book value or the vehicle is over 7 years old you CAN fill in this section. Fill in the date, sign and fill in seller’s and buyer’s names. Fill in the the full names of the seller and the buyer. The names must be PRINTED. This means to use only Capital Letters to write THE NAMES:
Please note that you can fill out this Bill of Sale form by hand. However don’t forget to use a pen and not a pencil. If you are filling out this form on your device (phone, tablet, computer) this form is a fillable PDF that works best with Adobe Acrobat Reader.
Learn more about the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration
For more information go to Maryland Department of Transportation – Motor Vehicle Administration
The MVA provides exemplary driver and vehicle services. Furthermore it also promotes Maryland’s mobility and safety, enhancing process and product security.