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Old 06-15-2020, 09:59 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Best way to obtain abandoned skoolie?

Hi all. I feel this is the only place I won't be judged for keeping my eye on a Brown Thomas school bus that's was abandoned at a motel down the street from me for at least 2 years. About 2 years ago I spoke with the motel owner and determined it was abandoned and he had no plans for it as far as discarding it. Last week I noticed the gate open to the storage yard so I went and got a closer look. It is indeed a skoolie! Which I figured, but never had proof. Ever since, I've been racking my brain for the best way to go about finding it a home. Whether I end up with it or not I just don't want it to go to waste. We have been looking for a partial conversion as we aren't prepared to start from square one, so it would be awesome. Although, without knowing the ultimate condition I am keeping an open mind because it could be starting from square -5 for all we know! Ideas which have crossed my mind have been proposing the owner of the RV storage auction it, and hiring an appraiser (in the event the owner grants us access) to be a middle man and determine a fair price. Anybody with experience or expertise in this process your advice is welcome, I could be way off, but be nice and steer me in the right direction! Thanks!
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Old 06-15-2020, 11:21 PM   #2
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"Ran when parked..."

Right?

It's highly unlikely it was abandoned in excellent running condition --
Now add 2 years of neglect...

Now, that's exactly what my free bus was/is -- BUT, I KNEW it really did run/drive excellent before it broke/got parked/neglected etc...

Do you enjoy nursing the dead back to life?
(this is a deep and serious question)

My bus was FREE and I'm still debating whether I paid too much...

Oh, and it's scrap metal value is $300 to $400 depending on where you are...
That means a scrap yard might haul it away for free...
(probably a lot less w/out title...)
Big truck towing is expensive -- my "free" bus cost $430.00 to tow it all of 12 miles to where I could work on it. If the previous owner hadn't paid the tow I wouldn't own a bus...
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Old 06-16-2020, 09:03 AM   #3
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Before you invest very much time into it you might want to find out who legally owns it. They can always come back and clam it even if you put thousands of dollars and hours of work into it.

Do a title search and tell the last owner you want to own it and see if they will sign it over.
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Old 06-16-2020, 09:49 AM   #4
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I would go talk to the owner of the storage lot, and tell him hey I want this bus, and offer to be the middle man and do all the leg work for him and tell this guy you just have him sign on some dotted lines.

He/you will likely have to contact the local police dept and they have to start a whole bunch of paperwork and likey will end up with the storage unit guy having a title or it ending up at a police auction.

Is this bus super special or something? You might better off getting a good example from some other source
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Old 06-16-2020, 10:04 AM   #5
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If it is an RV storage facility, there are already procedures in place for them to claim ownership of abandon property. Once that criteria has been met they can do whatever they want with it. In Nevada, if it has been there one year, they make application with the DMV and are given a new title of ownership. It's not quite as easy as it sounds, but it's not much harder than that either.

I would go to the owner of the storage place and ask them if you can have it if you do all the leg work in finding out what needs to be done to obtain ownership. If they say yes, Google search for your state and figure it out. You could also go to an impound yard and ask them what the process is, I guarantee they know.


Edit: BigSky types faster than I do, Ditto what he said.....
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Old 06-17-2020, 08:40 PM   #6
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Abandoned bus

What state are you in. As others mentioned there are procedures in place depending on what type of facility it is parked in. I am in California and self storage lots can do what we call a lien sale after a certain time of non payment. The best way to do it right is calling a lien sale company that specializes in liens of all different types. They will get the old ownership info from .motor vehicles, send certified letters to anyone currently associated with the vehicle including banks, owners, potential transferrees etc. It takes about four months depending on the value and type of item. Boat and trailer requires two separate sales, vehicles are different from construction equipment, etc. Cost of the service starts at $75. It goes up if they have to publish the sale in the paper. You can do the paperwork yourself but the cost of DMV information and certified mailing really cuts into the savings plus they guarantee it's done right.
If it were me I would offer to contact, pay for and be the middleman for the lien service if you get the bus or a share of the proceeds. You always take the chance that someone else comes along on the sale day and makes an offer higher than you want to match. Get it in writing so they dont forget you were the one who did all the work and sell it to a friend when the sale is up.The lot owner doesn't have to accept lower than the calculated amount of past due storage which is almost always higher than anyone is willing to pay. In the rare event that something sells for more than is owed they need to refund the difference to the owner or give it to the state as unclaimed property. I can't see any lot owner ever voluntarily doing that unless caught.
If this is a private property owner with an item left parked too long they can also use this process and it should take less time.i have been told but not verified that it needs to be done by someone who has a right to charge storage so it should be towed away and lien saled by a towing company. The lien sale company will do the sale for you either way so you have to worry that if the original owner comes back and you didn't do everything by the book the sale could be void. Not too bad for a broken down abandoned bus but not good if they see it drive down the road as a nice finished conversion and decide they want it back.
I am curious to see what the laws are in other states. Anyone know?
John
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Old 06-17-2020, 09:58 PM   #7
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Currently un-stumped, thx!

Iím in Arizona, I appreciate having some things to go off of. Iíll be sure to keep this updated!
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Old 07-13-2020, 07:29 PM   #8
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So, I've kinda hit a road block, it seems. The owner of the storage place doesn't fancy the idea of me doing the leg work, he wouldn't even agree to the first step which is getting it level 1 inspected. Because he can't or won't release the information for the owner of the bus, I scheduled an inspection through a 3rd party MVD company in hopes of determining the VIN, and with that I could request the MVR for the owner so they can be made aware of what is happening. Or what I thought could happen. The guy just wants us to hand him over the storage fees accrued over 4 years and use any means to take it off his property. That is too risky in my opinion and makes me wonder if this man is too shady to do any type of business with. Total bummer. The other option would be to get the police involved but then I have zero control over where the bus ends up. So now I wait, longer, to see if this guy will eventually call me up after he "does his own research" (highly doubtful).
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Old 07-13-2020, 07:46 PM   #9
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It sounds like that would be too risky for you. 4 years of storage with no guarantee of title? I don't know what the rules are in az but here in ca no one can find out who owns a vehicle unless they gave an interest in it. If you were given the task of doing a lien sale you would be able to get the old owners info so you could serve them papers. Otherwise you just have to wait. It sounds like the storage lot owner isn't thinking rationally. The longer they wait the less likely it is that they will get full past storage payment. He cant just collect four years of back storage from you and hand over the bus. Its not his to sell. Be careful with getting an inspection because it is still the property of the original owner until the lien sale is done.
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Old 07-13-2020, 07:58 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by angelicadevries21 View Post
So, I've kinda hit a road block, it seems. The owner of the storage place doesn't fancy the idea of me doing the leg work, he wouldn't even agree to the first step which is getting it level 1 inspected. Because he can't or won't release the information for the owner of the bus, I scheduled an inspection through a 3rd party MVD company in hopes of determining the VIN, and with that I could request the MVR for the owner so they can be made aware of what is happening. Or what I thought could happen. The guy just wants us to hand him over the storage fees accrued over 4 years and use any means to take it off his property. That is too risky in my opinion and makes me wonder if this man is too shady to do any type of business with. Total bummer. The other option would be to get the police involved but then I have zero control over where the bus ends up. So now I wait, longer, to see if this guy will eventually call me up after he "does his own research" (highly doubtful).
You should move on...

If there's 4 years of owed storage fees (way more than the value of a bus!) and the lot owner had any interest or need in making money he'd have already filed a "lien title" on the bus and now have title to it. Doing this requires a good faith effort in the lot owner getting a registered letter to the owner stating the intention and then after 30 days (or whatever in AZ) it's done. And a new title is issued.

If the lot owner thinks it's worth more than scrap metal - towing expenses he'll be looking at that derelict bus a long time...

Did I mention you should move on...

I'm sure you can find something else on craigslist with less than 4 years of hantavirus dust to blow out...
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Old 07-13-2020, 11:17 PM   #11
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You should move on...

If there's 4 years of owed storage fees (way more than the value of a bus!) and the lot owner had any interest or need in making money he'd have already filed a "lien title" on the bus and now have title to it. Doing this requires a good faith effort in the lot owner getting a registered letter to the owner stating the intention and then after 30 days (or whatever in AZ) it's done. And a new title is issued.

If the lot owner thinks it's worth more than scrap metal - towing expenses he'll be looking at that derelict bus a long time...

Did I mention you should move on...

I'm sure you can find something else on craigslist with less than 4 years of hantavirus dust to blow out...
It would be under 4k and it's already converted. Granted, it should still be less considering the circumstances. Just glad it fizzled out early, I'm seeing now the potential of a big mess.
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Old 07-14-2020, 06:41 AM   #12
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im involved in saving quite a few busses with people in a bus enthusiast group.. there is a lot to reviving them from the dead.. busses that have sat for awhile will need quite a bit of care and work to become road worthy for a longtrip vacation ride..



we just revived a 1966 GMC that had sat since 83 or 85 this past weekend.. it was stored indoors.. "ran when parked".. it was purchased from auction, driven into the gentleman';s garage where he unbolted the seats in hopes of making a mobile wood shop.. it was never again touched.. sure the old detroit diesel fired right up with only a couple hours of oiling and working of the injector racks.. but really all the things that bus needs even aftyer sitting indoors.. all 6 tires are shot.. the air bag suspension, shot, the oil pan has some serious issues, the motor mounts are shot.. who knows what other things will be found as its gone through.. point being that even indoors some pretty serious things are in need of TLC..



this is common experience every time we save a bus that has sat for many years.. not to mention how many things will fail after you start putting hours and miles on it..


to me its not worth whatever is in the conversion portion.. its best to start with a bus that has been run recently that you know is road worthy.. and build from it.. even if you hire out portions of your conversion for work you dotn know how to do.. you'll still be cheaper than all the work you'll need to put into the bus itself..



if your desire is to own, retore, and operate a classic, and have the knowledge or willingness and ability to learn then something like this is a project to take on..



the bus club im in is exactly this thus why we go after barn finds, abandons, etc.. no different than classic cars.. getting legal possession is different in every state.. in your case it sounds like the property owner has no interest in working with you which is the first and biggest step toward obtaining ownership..
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Old 07-14-2020, 09:17 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by cadillackid View Post
im involved in saving quite a few busses with people in a bus enthusiast group.. there is a lot to reviving them from the dead.. busses that have sat for awhile will need quite a bit of care and work to become road worthy for a longtrip vacation ride..
<snip>
the bus club im in is exactly this thus why we go after barn finds, abandons, etc.. no different than classic cars.. getting legal possession is different in every state.. in your case it sounds like the property owner has no interest in working with you which is the first and biggest step toward obtaining ownership..

That group sounds very interesting, Cadillackid. Any interest in revealing more about them?
Thanks in advance
Rich
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Old 07-15-2020, 05:05 PM   #14
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Sounds like an awesome group, would love to see before and afters! It is exciting to watch busses come back to life, I'm not a classic enthusiast at the moment I am just a serendipitous type who felt drawn to something so close to home. My skoolie radar is very in tune and that's the first one that was 'unclaimed' out of the 6 or so in my area.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cadillackid View Post
im involved in saving quite a few busses with people in a bus enthusiast group.. there is a lot to reviving them from the dead.. busses that have sat for awhile will need quite a bit of care and work to become road worthy for a longtrip vacation ride..



we just revived a 1966 GMC that had sat since 83 or 85 this past weekend.. it was stored indoors.. "ran when parked".. it was purchased from auction, driven into the gentleman';s garage where he unbolted the seats in hopes of making a mobile wood shop.. it was never again touched.. sure the old detroit diesel fired right up with only a couple hours of oiling and working of the injector racks.. but really all the things that bus needs even aftyer sitting indoors.. all 6 tires are shot.. the air bag suspension, shot, the oil pan has some serious issues, the motor mounts are shot.. who knows what other things will be found as its gone through.. point being that even indoors some pretty serious things are in need of TLC..



this is common experience every time we save a bus that has sat for many years.. not to mention how many things will fail after you start putting hours and miles on it..


to me its not worth whatever is in the conversion portion.. its best to start with a bus that has been run recently that you know is road worthy.. and build from it.. even if you hire out portions of your conversion for work you dotn know how to do.. you'll still be cheaper than all the work you'll need to put into the bus itself..



if your desire is to own, retore, and operate a classic, and have the knowledge or willingness and ability to learn then something like this is a project to take on..



the bus club im in is exactly this thus why we go after barn finds, abandons, etc.. no different than classic cars.. getting legal possession is different in every state.. in your case it sounds like the property owner has no interest in working with you which is the first and biggest step toward obtaining ownership..
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