I buy a lot of bikes online. It’s a thrill I enjoy. I love the hunt, the research, the risk and mostly, I love the reward. The options of buying bikes from your living room are varied and worldwide. Depending on what you’re looking for, it can be very cost efficient or if you’re into something specific and unique, it can cost you a lot. It’s all up to your own personal taste. But whatever it is, if you do your due diligence and you are patient; you can usually find exactly what you’re looking for.The sales transaction is usually pain free and simple, but where I have encountered a few bumps in the road is with the ownership paperwork and certificate of title. It can often turn into a paper trail of previous owners, lien holders and banks. It’s vitally important to get all your ducks in a row in order to change ownership into your name, register the vehicle with the DMV and securely insure the bike.
Here are a few pointers to look out for:
- Before you complete any financial transactions, ask for a copy of the title and a picture of the VIN# on the bike. Ensure that the two match.
- If you are not comfortable with the online financial transaction, you can use a company called www.escrow.com. This will help you feel a lot more comfortable. Both Ebay and Paypal stand by their payments. Be wary if any other forms of payment are requested.
- A straight forward transfer of title should have the Certificate of Title in the current owner’s name. He will have to endorse the title over to the new owner. Make sure when it is endorsed over to you, it includes your full legal name and current residential address.
- You need to ensure that the title does not have any liens on it. If there was a lien on it, it will have to be signed off as released on the title, or accompanied by a letter stating that fact.
- If a bank owns the bike, it will state so on the title. You will have to have a letter accompany the title, stating that all financial liability has been met and the bank no longer owns the bike.
- Oftentimes, a broker or an auction company is selling the bike. You must ensure that the bill of sale and the last owner on the title have the same name. This can get tricky if there have been a number of owners. Make sure the chain of ownership follows consecutively. Pay very close attention to this.
- Ensure that all parties (seller and buyer) are named in the bill of sale, the year, make, model and vin# are stated and most importantly, the correct amount is included.
- If you are doing an international transaction, make sure the bike meets the USA’s emissions and safety standards. Not all bikes manufactured around the world are made for the United States market. A lot of them may have to be modified. You will need to request a letter of compliance from the bike manufacturer.
- Once again, if you are dealing with international sellers, remember there will be duties and taxes to pay on the bike entering the country. This will definitely alter the amount of money you are excepting to pay and is over and above the sales price.
- All online sales will, in all likelihood require a motorcycle shipping company. Ensure the one you choose is reputable, has good online reviews and transports the bike in enclosed carriers.
If you cover these basic points before making your final purchase, you should not encounter any problems with the DMV when wanting to title, register and ensure your bike.
Happy hunting and enjoy the thrill.