Tips on buying off Craigslist?

Discussion in 'Old's Cool' started by familystone, Aug 4, 2014.

  1. familystone

    familystone n00b

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    I'm looking at buying an older Yamaha off of craigslist but I live in a moderately rural area so I'll most likely be buying out of state.

    Does anyone have any experience with this?
    What method of payment is most secure? Escrow service, paypal, etc?
    What shipping service is good? I really only know of uship.

    Thank you,

    Blake
    #1
  2. rusty44

    rusty44 Been here awhile

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    first 2 questions!!!!!


    Do you have the title in your hand?

    Is the title in your name?


    I went to buy a bike that had a title signed but not transferred,No Problem I thought untill....

    I got there and the guy had been using other plates to ride the bike.

    The title had been signed over 10 YEARS before.


    After that,if they don't have the title in their name,I'm not interested...

    Not worth the Hassle.

    There are too many bike out there!!!.....Alan



    Oh and get a friend with a truck....ROAD TRIP!!!!!!
    #2
  3. familystone

    familystone n00b

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    I live in Georgia and from what I understand I don't need a title, only a bill of sale if older than 25yrs. This would still be the case of purchasing from a state that does require a title, correct? If not, then this idea may not be nearly as good as I was thinking.

    Blake
    #3
  4. Swashbuckler

    Swashbuckler Been here awhile

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    If you're buying out of state I would just go to the dmv, sit in line for 2 hours, and talk to one of the reps. I looked all over the internet about how to buy out of state and bought from a dealer in Cali. The Colorado DMV had a heart attack when I went in there with a Cali Bill of Sale. I ended up going back and forth from the DMV 3 separate times trying to get paperwork sorted out. It would have been a lot less tedious if I just went and grabbed the "official" Colorado paperwork in the first place.
    #4
  5. emti

    emti Been here awhile

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    Get more pictures, look carefully at them. ask lots of questions, road trip is a good idea, you can check paperwork and vin numbers, pay cash, or walk away. Have you agreed to buy the bike yet? Sometimes a local "wanted to buy" ad will turn up some nuggets. emti
    #5
  6. wadenelson

    wadenelson Rider/Writer

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    Absolutely DO NOT buy a bike off CL unless you see it in person, and test ride it first.

    Buy or rent a trailer, go and pick up the bike, and pay cash! And don't meet the seller some place where he and his cousin could rob you of your cash! Meet in a public place or neighborhood where you feel safe.

    DO NOT agree to anyone offering to ship you the bike! Even Craigslist will tell you "Offers to ship vehicles are 100% fraudulent!"

    DO NOT buy it unless seller has title in hand, and it is HIS name on the title.

    Get a bill of sale AND take a picture of the seller's driver's license. You may need it.

    Craigslist is COVERED in scammers!

    I have yet to buy or sell ANYTHING without at least one individual attempting to run a scam on me.
    #6
  7. Achtung

    Achtung Wicked Pisssah Adventurer

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    Buying off Craigslist doesn't need to be that much different then buying out the newspaper classifieds back in the day IMO. Find the bike, ask pertinent questions (ie condition, state of title etc) show up with cash and a truck. Even if your out of state, if the bike is more money than you want to lose then rodtrip it and do the deal in person! Bring a buddy if your nervous, but suggesting payment via escrow would be a surefire way to get me to bail on the deal. Selling on the other hand, that is a lot different.
    #7
  8. bmwloco

    bmwloco Long timer

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    Pick a mutually agreed upon PUBLIC place. Have ownere ride bike over, with title.

    I say public for your own safety. There have been cases where ne'er do wells have posted on Craigslist and done evil.

    Not saying you should expect that, but be aware. If it is a cash deal, defintely do it in a bank, or somewhere where you can get the Bill of Sale or title notorized.

    YMMV.
    #8
  9. rusty44

    rusty44 Been here awhile

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    I'm sorry...You are right about the title...different for each state.
    I would definitely check into that for your state.

    Are you interested in a certain model bike?

    If so,I would sign up for their forum..make some contacts and you might be able to buy from one of the forum members.

    They will also will go see a bike for you in a different area... if you ask nice.

    Talk to the seller and get a feel for them....Alan
    #9
  10. familystone

    familystone n00b

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    Thanks all.

    I have not finalized any talks. In fact, I was originally thinking along the lines of it being similar to eBay of which I have purchased items from many times. I haven't purchased anything from Craigslist before and it seems to be a different can of worms.

    I had just been noticing a larger number of bikes coming from the Michigan and Wisconsin areas which got me thinking about shipping but it looks like I should just wait till something comes up within driving distance. Plus, winter is coming up which should mean more bikes on the market.

    Alan, I am looking to purchase an RD400.
    #10
  11. OLD GREEN

    OLD GREEN Been here awhile

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    I have had many dealings on craigslist, both buying and selling and and it has generally been positive. I've even made several friends through transactions. Having said that I would not recommend buying anything if you can not do so in person.
    #11
  12. JoeyHonz

    JoeyHonz Adventurer

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    Something that we tell everybody that does craigslist deals in MilwaukeeÂ….

    Do the deal at the local police department. They are more than willing to do a quick check of the VIN to make sure it is not stolen or other problems with it. (I.e. Duplicate title, liens etc....)

    There have been many many cases that show that even going to a public place you can get robbed. Suggest to meet at the police department and it will have dual benefit:
    1 - Stop someone who is going to rob you!
    2 - May be easier to find than say, some house on a side street or business that's tucked away....

    Just my $0.02
    #12
  13. usgser

    usgser Long timer

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    ^^THIS^^
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  14. sprocket3

    sprocket3 Been here awhile

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    Yep! Most users are solid and above board on CL. Just watch out for the few that aren't so solid. I've never had an issue myself.
    #14
  15. ZappBranigan

    ZappBranigan Been here awhile

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    Yup, I agree on all counts. I've bought and sold several bikes and a few cars/trucks off of CL with no problems. You just have to use common sense and trust your instincts. CL is the "classified ads" of modern times, so using CL is pretty much like using the classifieds back in the day (if you are old enough to remember those days!)

    If you are buying a racing, project or parts bike, it's pretty simple because you're not worrying about the paperwork (title.) The title makes it more complicated so make sure you know your state laws BEFORE you make the deal.

    As far as payment goes, it's cash all the way for me, whether selling or buying. Now if you're carrying lots of cash, you'll need to take the precautions that carrying cash demands - definitely consider bringing a friend or two.

    I don't mind meeting people at their homes, though some others might feel it's more risky. Depends on where they live. That's kind of a judgment call on your part. If the bike is running and titled/licensed, you could always ask the seller to meet you in a public parking lot. The general rule applies - if it seems to be too good to be true, it probably is.

    Common "red flags" for me are:

    1. Title not in seller's name. Sellers will say "It is simple to get a title." Well, if it's so simple, YOU go get it and then call me.

    OTOH, lack of a current registration (and license plate) is not a deal breaker to me. In my state (CO) you have to show proof of insurance to get a registration, and often times people sell bikes so they don't have to buy insurance for it, which I totally understand (why insure a bike you don't plan to ride or even keep?) Sometimes they'll have a good title but it's from a different state. This, also, is not a deal breaker for me as I've done the out-of-state-title thing many times. Just make sure the VIN on the title matches the one on the bike and that the seller's ID matches the name on the title, and you should be able to title it in your state.

    Speaking of license plates, find out what the law is in your state. In some states the plate stays with the vehicle, in others it stays with the person. Here in CO it is the latter. Never, ever EVER sell a vehicle in CO without removing the plate first. NEVER. (And in case you're wondering, yes, it's legal to operate a vehicle without a plate in CO if you buy it from a private seller and are transporting it from the place of sale to the place it will be stored until you get a plate.)

    2. "just needs a little work to run." When I hear this from a seller I think OK, then YOU do the work and call me. Obviously doesn't apply if you are buying a "project" bike and don't mind doing the work.

    3. Messed up/jacked up/"redneck engineered" wiring or other obvious evidence of bungled work. I run away from bikes like this. I have no idea what the previous owner did but I'm not interested in 'fixing' it and often times the reason the bike is being sold is because the previous owner screwed it up badly. Also applies to badly rusted, flat/dry rotted tires, etc. Again, if you're looking for a "project" or buying a rare bike to restore, this may not be an issue for you.

    4. Salvage Title. Some sellers will tell you that a bike can end up with a salvage title for even a minor tip over or just for being stolen and impounded. I don't care, I'm not interested in a bike with a salvage title, period.

    Anyway, those are my general rules. I love CL and use it all the time, it's a great resource but like anything else you have to be smart.
    #15
  16. Fleksta

    Fleksta Been here awhile

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    Good advice, but I have to differ with the salvage title stance. My current VFR has a salvage branded title, but also included the full work up of what was damaged, examined, and replaced. In the end I got a better price on a great bike. Would I have bought it just taking the owners word for it, probably not, but I think writing off any and all salvage repaired bikes is a bit silly.

    I use CL all the time to buy and sell a whole range of items. My rule of thumb is to get an actual phone call in; usually this is all it takes to weed out the scammers and flakes.
    #16
  17. kraven

    kraven Hegelian Scum

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    A used bike with any age on it will always be worse than you think.

    Don't buy an older bike thinking it's exactly as good as it looks.

    Bearing this in mind: Look at the bike and don't listen to the seller's description. See what the bike tells you.
    #17
  18. Buck McCann

    Buck McCann Been here awhile

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    Some great information! Much appreciated as I have been looking to buy off CL myself in the next couple of months.
    #18
  19. MotoChuck250

    MotoChuck250 n00b

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    Always bring a tire pressure gauge and a flashlight. I have found a number of bikes I was to test ride had tire pressure of less than 20#. Not a good idea to put a bike through it's paces with low tire pressure.

    Even on a sunny day most bikes have dark nooks and crannys that can be hard to see. You will want to be able to see as much as possible the source of that oil seepage on the bottom of the bike. You can also usually see how much of the disc brake pads are left when you have a flashlight. (Ok, so you may have to stand on your head!)

    A mechanics stethoscope or a simple screwdriver is also a good thing to bring. You can place the handle against your ear and the blade against the engine and hear mechanical noises much better than just listening unaided.

    Lastly bring a helmet, leather gloves and a riding jacket. A large percentage of accidents happen when someone gets on an unfamiliar bike for the first time. It is easy to pay more attention to what the bike is doing than to the traffic around you.
    #19
  20. rudolf35

    rudolf35 Warped & Twisted Mind

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    I have purchased quite a few bikes on Craigslit and thus far all has gone well.

    My steadfast rules are:
    1. Local only
    2. Title in hand of seller
    3. Money transactions at a bank for safety, notary service and make sure the money is "real".

    I had people wanting to ship, escrow and all that sort of rubbish but I stuck to my rules and life has been good; just purchased a 82 BMW R65SL.

    :deal
    #20