without a title in WA state

Discussion in 'Some Assembly Required' started by vink, Apr 28, 2013.

  1. vink

    vink Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2011
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    Seattle WA
    How does this work? I live in Seattle and I came across a 1973 enduro in a friends garage. He wants the bike out of his garage, however his buddy who is out of touch stored the bike there for the past 10 years doesn't have the key or the title. It sounds suspicious so I am not quite sure why his buddy has an enduro with no key or title. It's a 40 yr old enduro and needs restoration but it looks ok at first take. Anyhow I am interested in the bike, and does anyone have any experience with this kind of a salvage operation. Applying for a title from an unavailable previous owner. In WA, it requires a 3 year wait to see if the previous title owner shows up and wants the bike ,or not. Then I can apply for the title in my name. I am planning on just getting it running and not investing much into it until the 3 yr wait is over. If during the wait for the title the original owner comes knocking, well there it goes. I know it's not mine yet. So I don't want to restore or invest in something that can be legally taken back. But I am sure I am not the first person interested in such a project.
    Any words of wisdom are appreciated.
    Does this make any sense or am I out of my mind??
    Thanks
    Vink
    #1
  2. k-moe

    k-moe Long timer

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    It can go several ways.

    Way one: Take it, part it, profit.

    Way two: The person currently in possession helps you. He does the paperwork that makes him the legal owner (having already waited more than three years), pay big money for him to get it titled in his name, then re-title it once he "sells" it to you.

    Way three: You do a title search, contact the last owner and beg for a release of ownership document, pay normal money and get a new title.

    Way four: You register it in Vermont and get your own WA title (hopefully).

    Way five: You restore it just in time for the rightful owner to show up with the title and ask you for his bike back. (this is the least desirable option)
    #2
  3. vink

    vink Adventurer

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    Thanks Kmoe
    You may have been through this...
    I think way 3 sounds like the best option. I will check it out at the DMV.
    Good info
    Vink
    #3
  4. Gramp-Z

    Gramp-Z Been here awhile

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    I bought an ST1100 that I bought with a bill of sale from an auction . It had been wrecked and hadn't had a WA State title before . Even with the bill of sale I couldn't get a title for THREE years . So figuring with my luck , option 5 would happen . So I went with option one . I do not know how much of my money I finally got back , but it wasn't what I paid for it . Speaking of that , anybody want a compete front fork , final drive or new radiator for a 91' ST 1100 ? This wasn't the outcome I had hoped for .
    #4
  5. sonic reducer

    sonic reducer Been here awhile

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    isn't there some way to do it by reporting it as an abandoned vehicle?
    #5
  6. Beezer

    Beezer Long timer

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    in Ak if a vehicle is abandoned for more than 6 months you can. assuming the old owner is unavailable... you send the last registered owner a certified letter stating the vehicle is abandoned and storage fees are due, etc. or maybe just ask to get in touch.... your call. if the letter comes back undelivered (and marked undeliverable by USPS) you take the (still sealed) letter to DMV and they write a title on the spot. I've done this a couple times (I also put a photo of the bike looking "humble" in the letter).

    a junk yard can do the same thing through a slightly different path.

    last time I did this, the owner was found (10 years since it ran) & we made a deal.

    I have also used International Title Service.... worked good for me, best on antiques. word is the company changed hands though & they have now gone "rip off" so be careful if you go that way.
    #6
  7. dcjones

    dcjones n00b

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    I moved away from Washington State in 1999, but at that time, I was able to go to a DMV and request an "Affidavit of Indemnity" form that allowed me to apply for a title for a vehicle that I had purchased without one. You might give that a try.

    Good luck...
    Dan
    #7
  8. AceFrehley03

    AceFrehley03 Badass McAwesome

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    I've been here before. In WA this can be a bitch.

    Motor on down to the DMV, in person, and tell them the situation. In my experience they will attempt to notify previous owner that someone is trying to amend their title, since they technically own the bike and never "sold" it. Previous owner gets a said amount of time to contest it, and if nothing you'll get a new title.

    I've heard some horror stories about going out of state for replacement titles, and wouldn't recommend that. If you want a clean title, you're going to have to jump through the hoops.

    BUT. I would first call your local police department and give them the vin and license number, if it has one, and have them run it to see if it's flagged as stolen or whatever. Tell them it was left on your property by a previous tenant or whatever, you can't contact them and need a replacement title so you can legally deal with it. If it is flagged hot, which it sounds like it won't be, this can save you a huge amount of hassle. In some instances, they can dig up the previous owners info and provide it to you. Worth a try.
    #8
  9. Solo Lobo

    Solo Lobo airhead or nothing

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    The process here used to be that you had the bike inspected by the state patroll, who provided you with an inspection sheet proving you have possession.

    Take that to the DMV, hand it over, pay the fees and become the "registered owner".

    After three years you become the legal owner, and receive title...
    #9
  10. usgser

    usgser Long timer

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    If the bike is legally his, as in when he bought it he spent the sales tax money when he transfered the title registration to his name. If that's the case and lost the title he/the legal owner can file for a duplicate title. Some paperwork, $40 and 2 weeks. If he never changed the title over to avoid taxes(common screw up) he is NOT the legal owner and you'll have to hunt down the guy that sold it to him and do the title sign off, bill of sale etc. Been through this trip in WA before and no the DMV won't give you the legal/registered owners address. In my case I traced the guy, he moved to MT and wasn't concerned with my problem.
    Bottom line: if the seller is the legal/registered owner HE can easily get a title. If he isn't or doesn't want to be bothered with it...it's just a cheap parts bike...pay accordingly.
    #10
  11. vink

    vink Adventurer

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    Thanks Dan
    I will look into this.
    Vink
    #11
  12. vink

    vink Adventurer

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    Thanks Ace
    The PD call is a good idea, I will check that one out.
    I am jost going to approach this one one step at a time.
    It's a 73 xl 350 and I hope it all works out.
    The owner's last phone # is D/C so It' s just a matter of time..
    Thanks for your input.
    Vink
    Seattle
    #12
  13. vink

    vink Adventurer

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    Thanks usgsr
    I think it will be a tracking down thing.
    Vink
    Seattle
    #13
  14. Dirty bike

    Dirty bike Eval Innovations Inc

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    You might also look into the details for a 'Lien Sale' or 'Mechanic's Lien'. It varies from state to state. Not sure of the WA requirements. In some states you have to be a shop with an open invoice, in others anyone can do it for 'storage fees'. There is some paper work and hoops do jump thru, but not a 3 year process.

    Something like this, (I did it in CA years ago):

    DMV gives you the registered owner's last known address and the Lien Sale paperwork.

    You send the DMV form via registered/certified mail to the last known address of the registered owner.

    They either get it, sign off to release, or say they want it back...

    Or - It comes back undeliverable.

    If undeliverable, you get a LEO to inspect the VIN and tag numbers, sign off on the DMV form, take all that in to DMV and you can get legal title.

    From your description of no plate, it's possible it was never registered for street use, at least by the guy that left it with your friend. That might make things easier or more difficult.

    Good luck!
    #14
  15. vink

    vink Adventurer

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    Thanks,
    It's all starting to make sense.
    Vink
    #15
  16. Loudo

    Loudo Pithy

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    This post offers the best advice. Note that WA does not have DMVs, we have DOL offices.

    If you show up there with a license plate issued during the 1973 era, you can have "restored vehicle" status conferred on the bike and get permanent registration...no more annual registration or paying for tabs. You may need to educate the clerk at your local licensing bureau though...sometimes they're not up on the stuff that rarely happens.
    #16