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Old 03-19-2019, 10:29 PM   #1
Join Date: Feb 2019
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Buying on Craigslist

I am considering buying a bus I found on CL. What kind of documents should I ask for from the seller? How should I pay? Do I need to register it in my name right away?
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Old 03-19-2019, 11:32 PM   #2
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Don't know what state your in but... IMO...You definitely want to get a title for the bus. Some states you might be ok with a bill of sale but at the end of the day ...a title works best.

Do not pay for it all up front without verifying what it is you are getting....Some junk looks really great in pictures.... Maybe a very small deposit ….$100 bucks to show your serious or better yet, pay for it after you do your inspections.

Yes I know it don't work this way when buying from an auction but craigslist is not an auction and too many horror stories on CL.

As far as registering it in your name, In florida you can title a vehicle in your name without getting a registration...check with your state DMV.

Good luck!
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Old 03-20-2019, 12:44 AM   #3
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Have you gone and personally inspected the bus to make sure it is as advertised? If not I strongly suggest you do. If you don't know what to look for find some one who does that can help look it over. If it's what you expected, make an offer and have cash ready to pay for it. You should get a signed title and Bill of Sale from the seller.
What bus is it, where is it, where are you, how much are they asking and what is your budget? I went 3k miles for my bus on CL, paid a $500 deposit and the balance on satisfaction upon arrival. Good Luck
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Old 03-20-2019, 01:13 AM   #4
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I am in Denver, CO. I did go check it out today. It is Eldorado National 30 ft. But the seller doesn’t know much about it. He bought it 4 months ago for almost $8,000 at a dealership and now trying to sell it for $5,500. I couldn’t find any info about the maintenance history or a transmission. It is Cummins 5.9 engine and it has almost 290,000 miles. Looks like it was used by Advantage rental as an airport shuttle. But I am very far from being an expert in diesel engines so I want to hire a mechanic to do an inspection prior to making an offer.
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Old 03-20-2019, 07:30 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Elmix View Post
I am considering buying a bus I found on CL. What kind of documents should I ask for from the seller? How should I pay? Do I need to register it in my name right away?
I'm going to echo some of the other posts here, your best bet is to check with the DMV or RMV or whoever handles vehicle/motorhome registrations in your state. Find out exactly what they need for a registration.

For documents, you want the seller to sign over a clear title to you. That often must be a notarized signature. Make sure you read the back of the title and fill it out properly, there is an odometer disclosure portion that must be filled out as well. If for some reason the title still shows a lien on it you will also need a copy of the lien release letter. A copy of the previous owners registration is also important in my state, shows that taxes have been paid on it in the past. (Really all the state cares about) Then a bill of sale that includes VIN, milage at time of sale, date, price, sellers name address and signature, and the same for the buyer.

In most states you can get a trip permit from the DMV to drive the vehicle for a set amount of time before registration for a small fee. This allows you to get it home without worry.

Payment is a bit tricky, cash is king, but don't give any of it up except maybe a small deposit as was suggested, until you have done a good inspection and all the documents have been produced and signed to your liking. Bank checks or cashiers checks are another option, but sellers are often weary of them and rightfully so, there are many scammers on CL.

As for registration, if you get a trip permit then you are all set to drive it home, really if you just throw some plates on it and keep your documents with you, you should be alright for a short trip across town. Once it is in your driveway, I think getting it registered is a priority. That will keep pesky neighbors away and you wont have to worry about the town citing you for unregistered vehicles if thats a thing where you live.

CL can work pretty well even for large transactions, but there is a lot of trust that has to develop between buyer and seller. Just a few months ago I sold a very expensive truck on CL to a buyer several states away. It was a complex transaction that included him getting financing, me getting a lien release and almost $30,000 payment. It never would have worked if we didn't develop a rapport and a LOT of trust both ways.

Good Luck!!!!
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Old 03-20-2019, 08:12 AM   #6
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290000 is a lot of miles. Even for a diesel. That doesn't mean it is a bad deal or engine... Just be very sure. As far as the rest go, that's a sizeable discount, there is a reason he is dumping it. Do some research. Maybe he can't insure it, maybe he can't register it... Maybe something mechanical is wrong...
I love craigslist but I always make sure that I know exactly what I am purchasing. Several hundred dollars spent on a mechanic going over the entire thing would be well worth losing the purchase price if it becomes worthless.
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Old 03-20-2019, 08:26 AM   #7
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So I've mentioned this in other threads, but miles are not a great indicator of wear.

Consider a long haul truck. It puts another mile on the clock every 50 seconds. Consider a school bus, which drives 30 miles per day but spends 4 hours doing it, constantly stopping and going. Consider a shuttle bus like the one you're looking at which is running basically all the time, rarely gets above 15mph, is constantly starting and stopping, and generally adds under 100 miles per day.

By the time you get to 290k miles, those engines will have dramatically different amounts of wear. A long haul truck with 290k is low miles. A school bus with 290k is already double what most of us would want to be buying at. An airport shuttle bus with 290k seems like a miracle it's lasted this long. Engine hours mean a lot more in these cases.

On top of that, shuttle buses are not highly valued and the price he is asking is way way high. I understand he doesn't want to take a huge hit selling it but his mistake isn't your problem to fix. When there are nice school buses going for 2k and under I just can't recommend anyone buy a worn out shuttle bus for way more money.
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Old 03-20-2019, 11:11 AM   #8
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I'd worry more about 290k on a AT545, is that what's in this bus? Important to know that fact.
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Old 03-20-2019, 12:22 PM   #9
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Aside from what others said about your question of how to buy, I just want to make sure you buy the right vehicle for your needs....

If it was a rental car shuttle bus and it has 290k miles I am curious what the engine hours are on this... Please ask. I am sure it is north of 10,000hrs.

I think there are probably many other cheaper better options, but if you love it, the choice is yours.

I think all the other replies are spot on with how to deal with buying on CL. Best of luck!
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Old 03-20-2019, 12:59 PM   #10
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Ok, I understand the problem with high mileage. But can anyone explain it to me why a shuttle bus that ran 5 miles back an forth on a well maintained paived road would have more problems than a school bus running on bad roads over a bunch of potholes and dirt?
I have pretty simple requirements: 28-30 ft long, absolutely a must - high ceiling (I am not ready neither financially nor physically to do a roof raise), preferably 8.5 ft wide, capable of cross-country travels, diesel engine, up to $5,000.
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