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Rich&Sylvia

Buying cash from private party - how to handle transaction?

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We've found a used (2015) truck camper that we like very much for sale by a private individual.

($30K - I know, a lot for something with no engine, transmission or wheels!)

So this is literally a "cash and carry" deal.

 

The camper is titled in Washington State - so there's that.

This means that I have to get the title, load the camper into the pickup truck and pay for it.

 

Other than cash and guns, what suggestions can the Escapees brain trust provide for making this a safe and secure type of transaction?

 

 

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Signed bill of sale. Make sure title is in hand with seller. If he has a loan go to bank with him and pay off loan and get title. I would pay with a bank check and not cash

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Have the seller meet you at the local police station to complete the transaction; also the police could run the VIN before the sale.

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#1: If you have any doubts or gut feelings about a seller.. walk away.

 

Verify who you are dealing with. When dealing with strangers I will often present my photo ID to reassure them I haven't misrepresented myself and ask if they wouldn't mind showing theirs. It also helps later on when viewing the title to ensure they are the proper owner.

 

I would also suggest checking the status of the title and lien status by calling WA state DOL at: 360.902.3770. Even when presented with a title, you can't be too careful these days to ensure it is real, as well as checking for any liens that might have been entered into after the title was issued.. but simply not reissued so any liens won't show.

 

You also want to be sure you're not dealing with a 'curbstoner'. Someone just 'flipping' the rig without a dealer license. The tip off there is a title with a release signed by the original owner and the seller wants to reassign it to you. I wouldn't buy unless the seller is the actual title holder.

 

Once the title is verified and you feel comfortable with the seller you should be good to go. Common sense would dictate not carrying the cash on you while dealing. I also wouldn't carry (firearm), but would keep it handy. Lastly, I would want it one on one (no others of the sellers acquaintance) and the title in view when I presented my cash. Preferably in a public location, but you have to go with your gut.

 

I've done plenty of private cash deals without a hitch, but I've always spent enough time with the seller to feel confident they are on the up and up.

 

On edit: A bill of sale is also a good idea, but I wouldn't count on the police to check the vin. All that will show is if it has been reported stolen.

 

I would pay cash, or give your bank a heads up so they are willing and able to verify your cashiers check for the seller. They will be just as concerned about a scam as you are.

Edited by Yarome

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When we paid cash in AZ, we all went to the DMV. Title was transfered into our names (we paid fees) but the owner held on to the title/paperwork while we all went to the bank. At the bank, a Bank Check was issued to the seller. Check & title/paperwork were traded in front of the teller.

 

rocmoc n AZ/Mexico

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When I've traveled out of state to buy a big dollar item, bank wire transfers have always worked well for me. Once I'm satisfied with the deal, I call my bank and have the funds transferred to the seller's account at his bank. It usually happens within minutes, but occasionally takes an hour or so if the receiving bank has several other wire transactions queued ahead of yours. Your own bank can give you the specifics of how they handle wire instructions.

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Unless it has been financed, there will be no title and I don't believe that WA is a state that registers truck campers. You might want to contact the WA, DMV to find out for sure about that. If it has never been titled or registered, there will be no DMV record.

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The state of Washington issues an "affidavit of title" -- something that merely says there is an electronic title in WA's system.

 

Some states, like South Dakota, do not recognize such "affidavits" (and I may have the term slightly off) -- they require getting a real traditional paper title before you can register/title the vehicle.

(In my case a travel trailer. Delay by WA cost me an extra late-registration fee.)

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Truck campers in Washington State are registered the same as any vehicle, boat or RV. So yes, a formal title is involved.

Thanks to those that have replied. There's been good suggestions posted here from which I will make a few notes to insure that I cover all the bases.

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Truck campers in Washington State are registered the same as any vehicle, boat or RV. So yes, a formal title is involved.

 

This is correct. We lived in Washington State when we had our last truck camper and it had a title and its own license plate. When we sold it, we had the title in hand to sign over to the new owner.

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Rich,

 

For the last 20 years I have bought and sold printing machines all over the World. Hundreds of transactions from 10,000 to 500,000. Not one time did I have a problem. But I was very careful and if I felt at all uneasy about someone I was dealing with I did not do the deal.

 

I am surprised when you say truck campers are registered as a vehicle in WA. Must be twisting logic so they can collect tax. But if it is officially registered there should be WA State paperwork for transferring title. Since you are loading the item up and taking it with you the only real issue that could possibly come up is if he has a lien against the camper for a loan. You can check that by doing a UCC search for WA State using the serial number of the camper.

 

If the seller seems legit and has a State issued title I would not worry about it too much.

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