Comments on Buying FGRV's with 3rd party titles - Fiberglass RV


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Old 03-28-2014, 09:39 AM   #1
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Comments on Buying FGRV's with 3rd party titles

A basic suggestion about titles when buying:

NEVER BUY AN RV OR OTHER VEHICLE FROM A SELLER, YOU DON'T PERSONALLY KNOW, THAT DOESN'T HAVE A CURRENT TITLE AND REGISTRATION IN THEIR NAME. (PERIOD)

These are commonly called either a "3rd party title" or a "Hot title" and, most of the time it is because; the seller is either flipping the item, is wanting to avoid paying state taxes and fees, or has already had trouble trying to get a title in their own name.

Here's one example of a potential problem for a buyer. When the current seller bought their trailer, the title was already expired, and they never titled it in their name. If the new owner has any problems while trying to register the trailer, they may not be able to locate the last registered owner.

In many states, such as California, this practice is called "Curbstoning" and is illegal. Only licensed dealers may sell a vehicle that is not registered in their name in CA. While other states may allow this practice, smart buyers won't.

As I have mentioned in the past, I too once got stung on a 3rd party, out-of-state, title when I bought an Airstream Bambi, and it turned out to be stolen. Fortunately I recovered most of my investment and the seller got some free meals at the Cross-Bar Hotel courtesy of the Commonwealth of Virginia.

That nice person selling might (and I repeat "might") just be waiting to sell that RV you want soooo bad, to have the money to move to another sale, in yet another state, tomorrow.

At the very least:
DON'T LET THE SELLERS PROBLEMS BECOME YOUR PROBLEMS...

And, if you have to travel a distance to see the rig, verify that the seller has a clear title in their name before you leave your driveway. I have even requested a fax of the title be sent to me. Just ask the seller to make a copy of the title, write VOID across the middle of it, and fax that copy.
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Old 03-28-2014, 11:05 AM   #2
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Bob, raises a very good point particularly for those members of the forum who may be looking to buy a trailer out of Canada.

We had a situation on this forum in the last year or so were there was a very nice older trailer for sale but the seller here in BC did not have what is known in Canada as Vehicle Registration papers so they were not able to provide the buyer with what is also known in Canada with a Vehicle Transfer of Ownership Papers which are required by the buyer in order to register the trailer in their name in Canada or to export the trailer to the USA. A trailer in Canada must have its own registration, plates and insurance before it can be put on the road and in order to obtain those it must be registered in the owners name.

Despite warnings from members here that the lack of Transfer of Ownership papers was going to present a big problem for who ever purchased the trailer some well meaning folks here (mostly folks unfarmiliar with the Canadian system of vehicle registration) suggested the problem could be overcome here in BC where the trailer was purchased. After 6 months of attempting to sort the lack of paper work out the purchaser failed to obtain a registration for the trailer and was not able to put it on the road here in Canada and ended up parting out the trailer in order to get back the purchase costs of the trailer.
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Old 03-28-2014, 11:13 AM   #3
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WOW... That's a scary story...Hopefully it will help others understand the issues involved when buying in Canada.

A similar problem happens when a Canadian seller, complete with appropriate paperwork, sells their trailer while in the U.S. on vacation. It's such a Catch-22 for the buyer that parting out may be the only answer here as well.

To add to my original post:

Some states (mostly in the south I think) don't title trailers after a certain age (if at all?) If someone is buying a non-titled trailer, be sure to check with your own DMV as to what you need for title and registration when you get it home, before you buy.
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Old 03-28-2014, 12:00 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Bob Miller View Post
WOW...

Some states (mostly in the south I think) don't title trailers after a certain age (if at all?) If someone is buying a non-titled trailer, be sure to check with your own DMV as to what you need for title and registration when you get it home, before you buy.
Here in New York it is somewhere around 1975 that vehicles, including trailers, older than that year do not have titles. Those vehicles just have a registration that has a transferable section where the seller signs. I was able to register a 1946 teardrop that had no paperwork other than a hand written bill of sale by simply stating that it had been in my possession more than one year, which it was. Regulations vary by states, and it is best to know what your states regulations are before buying any vehicle. I've heard that PA is so bad on registering a trailer that does not have all the paperwork that owners are registering them in Maine by mail. And then there are those ads in vintage car magazines that advertise they can get you a title for any vehicle. Very good cautionary posts Bob & Carol, can they be put somewhere to be easily found and not fade away in old postings.
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Old 03-28-2014, 12:13 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Miller View Post
As we have been asked to not comment on FGRV's being listed in the For Sale Forum, I will add a general comment here about a certain situation now existing.

A basic suggestion about titles when buying:

NEVER BUY AN RV OR OTHER VEHICLE FROM A SELLER, YOU DON'T PERSONALLY KNOW, THAT DOESN'T HAVE A CURRENT TITLE AND REGISTRATION IN THEIR NAME. (PERIOD)

These are commonly called either a "3rd party title" or a "Hot title" and, most of the time it is because; the seller is either flipping the item, is wanting to avoid paying state taxes and fees, or has already had trouble trying to get a title in their own name.

In a recent For Sale posting, the current seller had bought the trailer over a year ago in another state, that registration had expired, they still hadn't bothered to get it titled in their home state. Now, over a year later, who knows where the original owner on the title is if there are any problems trying to register it in yet another state.

In many states, such as California, this practice is called "Curbstoning" and is illegal. Only licensed dealers may sell a vehicle that is not registered in their name in CA. While other states may allow this practice, smart buyers won't.

As I have mentioned in the past, I too once got stung on a 3rd party, out-of-state, title when I bought an Airstream Bambi, and it turned out to be stolen. Fortunately I recovered most of my investment and the seller got some free meals at the Cross-Bar Hotel courtesy of the Commonwealth of Virginia.

That nice person selling might (and I repeat "might") just be waiting to sell that RV you want soooo bad, to have the money to move to another sale, in yet another state, tomorrow.

At the very least:
DON'T LET THE SELLERS PROBLEMS BECOME YOUR PROBLEMS...

And, if you have to travel a distance to see the rig, verify that the seller has a clear title in their name before you leave your driveway. I have even requested a fax of the title be sent to me. Just ask the seller to make a copy of the title, write VOID across the middle of it, and fax that copy.
Once again ,It's different here in the states,
I have never presented anything other than an open title when when aquiring a title for a used vehicle of any kind... 75 cars and numerous trailers bought from many different states.. The one exception was a lost title which required getting a bonded title.

As for registration.... it is only required here if the vehicle is to be driven (or towed in the case of a trailer) on public roadways.

I have never given anything more than an open title and a bill of sale when selling a vehicle or a trailer. I remove and keep the registration (if registered) before the sale. The buyer then orders his own, usually at the same time as ordering his title.
More than likely you are buying a better trailer from a "Flipper" than you would from an owner who just no longer wants it.
No problems so far...
Still it is wise to be aware of the requirements of your state (or province) and those of the seller's. CYA is wise, paranoia is soul killing.
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Old 03-28-2014, 12:36 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Bob Miller View Post

A similar problem happens when a Canadian seller, complete with appropriate paperwork, sells their trailer while in the U.S. on vacation. .
It is actually illegal to sell a Canadian registered trailer or car in the USA without having first properly imported it into the USA. A Canadian owned trailer can only be taken into the USA for personal use by the registered Canadian owner for a period of only one year.

The import process of a trailer legally into the USA includes amongst other things the filing at the time of import of a DOT-HS7 forum that must be completed & submitted at the time the trailer crossed the border into the USA.
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Old 03-28-2014, 12:37 PM   #7
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In CA, because you also have to pay sales tax when you buy a vehicle, it gets collected when you register a private party sale. This is part of the reason that certain "Bluebooks" have such low values for trailers. As most are sold as private transactions the actual sales price isn't reported to reduce tax obligation, and that number is what the blue book type draw information from.

And BTW: It seems different in almost every state as well.
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Old 03-28-2014, 12:40 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Carol H View Post
It is actually illegal to sell a Canadian registered trailer or car in the USA without having first properly imported it into the USA. A Canadian owned trailer can only be taken into the USA for personal use by the registered Canadian owner for a period of only one year.

The import process of a trailer legally into the USA includes amongst other things the filing at the time of import of a DOT-HS7 forum that must be completed & submitted at the time the trailer crossed the border into the USA.
So true, but that didn't stop a Canadian couple, that had been touring the U.S. for 6 months, from listing their Trillium in a local craigslist and attempting to sell it from a campground so they "Didn't have to tow it all the way back to Canada".

I was able to get the Ventura Co. Sherriff's dept. interested and they had a talk with the sellers.
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Old 03-28-2014, 12:49 PM   #9
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Any advice on how to buy a financed trailer?

Owners to don't have title in hand in that case either. Cars are bought this way every day but I never have. You are paying a stranger that will take your money and pay off the loan, then mail you the clear title all on their promise to do so. A lot if banks are not close enough to drive with the seller and walk in with them and watch them pay off the loan with your eyes. In this case, how do people go about buying the car's or RV's? Thanks.
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Old 03-28-2014, 01:03 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by floyd View Post

As for registration.... it is only required here if the vehicle is to be driven (or towed in the case of a trailer) on public roadways.
I suspect when it comes to Canadian owned trailers the use of the term "Registration" and the terms "Title" documents caused some confusion. In Canada the registration papers are the "Title" document. There is a form that in Canada must be filled out in order to transfer the Registration (title) of the trailer over to the new owner.

If one is wanting to make sure there are no legal registered leans against a trailer or car purchased in Canada that is a very different document. In Canada a registered lean against a trailer or car is more often than not referred to as a "Chattel Mortgage". Provinces have a government maintained data base that the serial number of every trailer or car that has a Chattel Mortgage registered against it is recorded - a chattel mortgage will be in the data base of the province the trailer or car it is actually "registered" (titled). That data base can be searched on for a small fee in order to confirm that there are no Chattel Mortgages (leans) registered against the trailer or car. If the Serial number of the trailer is not in the data base the trailer or car would then be considered to be as those in the USA call it "free titled".

Edit to add: It should be noted that if a purchaser takes the Registration papers into to be changed over to their own name a search of the data base were the trailer was previously registered will be done and the purchaser will not be able to register it into their name if it turns out there is a Chattel Mortgage (lean) still registered agains it in the previous owners (sellers) name.
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Old 03-28-2014, 01:41 PM   #11
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WOW... That's a scary story...Hopefully it will help others understand the issues involved when buying in Canada.
Well the good news in that story was the seller was very clear about the fact that they had no Registration (title documents) for the trailer and the price reflected that. They had themselves learned the lesson the hard way. The second party who purchased the trailer without any registration papers was a local party well aware of the Provincial registration requirements and the probable troubles they faced so they went into the deal with "eyes wide open".

When the 2nd purchaser failed to get the trailer legally registered to themselves they parted it out and I have a hunch they actually made some money doing that as the purchase price for the age and condition of the trailer was really low. The low price was by the way why so many folks here were encouraging people here to buy it, as it was as they say "a real good deal" with the exception of the small fact it would probable never be towed. Which I don't believe a number of the folks here doing the encouraging actually understood the reality of.
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Old 03-28-2014, 02:11 PM   #12
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Any advice on how to buy a financed trailer?
I only did this one time with a pickup truck. Luckily it was financed at his local bank, we went in together, me with a check made out for the full sale price and the bank took care of it all. I left with a title signed over to me and a lien release from the bank. Oh wait, another car I bought had been financed by the seller, she had paid off the loan, the NY title showed the lien, and she had thrown away the lien release from the bank. That became her problem to solve, which she did. As for when the finance company is not local I don't know. I would contact them before handing over any money. The moral of this thread I suppose is use caution and check all the requirements of your home state before laying out your money. Something I have not always done, resulting in several trips to my local DMV. And sometimes the results are based on who you talk to there and what kind of mood they are in!!
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Old 03-28-2014, 02:24 PM   #13
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Any advice on how to buy a financed trailer?

Owners to don't have title in hand in that case either. Cars are bought this way every day but I never have. You are paying a stranger that will take your money and pay off the loan, then mail you the clear title all on their promise to do so. A lot if banks are not close enough to drive with the seller and walk in with them and watch them pay off the loan with your eyes. In that case how do people go about buying the car's or RV's? Thanks.
In CA, the seller will (should) have a registration form with the seller listed as the registered owner and the note holder listed as the legal owner. The lender holds the title until the loan is paid off and then must release it with a notarized signature.

If the seller isn't also the registered owner, run, don't walk away. As many owners leave the registration paper in the trailer, I would give that deal a 90% chance of being a stolen vehicle.

I would suggest giving the seller a small deposit, and get a receipt stating what it's for and how long it is good and the conditions of the outstanding note. Then I would contact the note holder and ask them how to proceed.

As far as just giving the seller the total amount and letting them pay off the note? No way...

The good news, almost all but the newest FGRV's are to old/low in value to have an outstanding loan against them. But...if you have your heart set on a 1 year old BigFoot, it may be a different story.
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Old 03-28-2014, 02:45 PM   #14
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In NY the vehicle owner holds the title but it has the lien holder on it. Thus the need for the lien release when it is paid off. Many states are different, so it is necessary to check the rules in your own state. Bob's advice is good, small deposit in writing to hold it, then get all the facts before final payment. Not that I've always done that, but have been lucky so far.
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