When buying a bike in the US one of the most important things to check is the Title .
The Title is similar to our Rego papers but with a number of differences from state to state .
Things to Check :
Make sure it is in the sellers name . In the US its legal to not transfer a Title straight away . It can be a "Floating Title" . That is , it has been sold several times and the subsequent buyers have filled out the section on the back . This can and often does happen . It only takes the current title holder 2 weeks to get it tranferred into their name and it's something many don;t bother with . If someone has a bike with a Floating Title walk away . You can not legally export the bike with a floating title as it is not in the last sellers name so it's a deal breaker .
Most Titles show if the bike has money owing and to whom the money is owed . Check the scanned copy of the title thoroughly as these companies can try to pursue you for the money owed .
Make sure the bike has a Title - Even if the bike has sat in a shed for the last 20 years it needs a Title to export it and to get an Import Approval . In most US states they can apply for a replacement Title so ask for one .
When you have purchased the bike make sure they have filled in the back transferring ownership to you . Very Important .
Accept no excuses - If a seller has been too lazy to transfer the Title over before selling I don;t like your chances of getting them to do it after they have your money . If the Title shows money owing ask them it it is still under finance . If they say it isn;t ask for the letter from the finance company that shows the debt cleared and then check with that finance company . If a person saws they will find the Title for you don't believe it . If they could find it they would have done so before they listed it for sale .
Auctions or Repo's : There are some extra checks you really need to do but I'll cover that in the future . Same rules apply with the Titles bought this way . Auction houses are very helpful as a rule and will bend over backwards in most instances to help . Just make sure the bike is Titled and the Title is in the sellers name . With Repo's , make sure the Repo company have legal claim over the title and have it in their company name . Repo's are more risky but are usually 20% cheaper then many other used bikes .
As with everything Check , Re-Check and then Re-Check again . Getting the groundwork right makes the process smooth .
I have asked Choppaweeza provide advice based on his business experience in this forum. There are a variety of ways of avoiding Australian regulations... please don't expect him to give advice in those areas.
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