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Old 12-18-2017, 01:46 PM   #1
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Newbie needs help please!

Hi everyone,

I've been a lurker and I'm new to the skoolie lifestyle, but it's something I've fantasized about and researched for years now...

I finally have enough money to purchase one, but I have no absolutely no handy skills whatsoever.

So I hit craigslist, and found a beautiful mostly converted Bluebird that used to be a mobile blood bank.

Anyways, I need some advice before I buy it because I'm having serious doubts about going to check it out. (As in buying a plane ticket and going out of state to the middle of nowhere to meet total strangers)

Potential red flags:

1. I've only seen the photos on craigslist and after a few days, the listing expired. This was a few weeks ago, but I just texted the owner again and he says he hasn't sold it yet.

2. I've only texted the owner. We have not spoken on the phone.

3. The owner says the title is not in his name?! How can he sell it then?!!! I asked him who the registered owner was and he said he hadn't registered the title in his name yet, and he just bought it. (Which brings up more questions, like why sell it, how long ago did you buy it, etc, etc.)

4. He says all we would have to do would be go to the DMV to get it transferred over (but again, if he doesn't hold the title, how can he even sell it to me?!)

5. He says he doesn't have the money for the taxes on it. Am I missing something here? Are there monthly taxes on a skoolie?! Maybe different states have taxes? I'm not understanding this statement.

Any insight would be greatly appreciated. I was really interested in this bus, and initially it looked like the owner was interested in my offer too but now I'm wondering if this is some sort of scam.

Sorry for the novel. Any help would be appreciated. As a single woman, you never can be too careful.
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Old 12-18-2017, 01:58 PM   #2
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Never buy a vehicle unless the title is free and clear and in the person's name you are buying it from.
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Old 12-18-2017, 02:05 PM   #3
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Never buy a vehicle unless the title is free and clear and in the person's name you are buying it from.
Listen to the mullet!
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Old 12-18-2017, 02:13 PM   #4
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This is just an opinion, but ebay is where you buy buses from people that are trying to double their money after they've purchased a bus from the auctions. This guy sounds like he didn't even want to spend the money to register the bus in his name, which in a way makes sense if you know you're not going to keep the vehicle. The DMV does limit the number of title transferes that can be put into your name without you having to buy a car dealer's license. As a sub-car dealer he also doesn't have to claim the profit as income on his personal taxes.

It sounds like you should text the owner again and find out what his bottom dollar is, then push him for a better price. If his listing expired without a sale, his price is to high.

Bloodmobiles and bookmobiles are usually a good score. Without saying where this bus is, would you mind telling us what the price is as well as engine and transmission models? Mileage? Tire condition/age? I know you haven't looked at it in person yet. Make the seller take some pics. Not enough information provided to judge horseflesh here.
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Old 12-18-2017, 02:13 PM   #5
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Thanks guys!

I didn't even know you could sell a bus if you weren't the owner and the title-holder!!!!
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Old 12-18-2017, 02:17 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Robin97396 View Post
This is just an opinion, but ebay is where you buy buses from people that are trying to double their money after they've purchased a bus from the auctions. This guy sounds like he didn't even want to spend the money to register the bus in his name, which in a way makes sense if you know you're not going to keep the vehicle. The DMV does limit the number of title transferes that can be put into your name without you having to buy a car dealer's license. As a sub-car dealer he also doesn't have to claim the profit as income on his personal taxes.

It sounds like you should text the owner again and find out what his bottom dollar is, then push him for a better price. If his listing expired without a sale, his price is to high.

Bloodmobiles and bookmobiles are usually a good score. Without saying where this bus is, would you mind telling us what the price is as well as engine and transmission models? Mileage? Tire condition/age? I know you haven't looked at it in person yet. Make the seller take some pics. Not enough information provided to judge horseflesh here.
Thanks so much for your replies, everyone!

So...initially this was going for $8K but I countered with $5K expecting a haggle, but he was open to $5K. He says his girlfriend is out of work and expecting, hence the motivation to sell.

Like I said, our conversations have been limited to texts and not in depth at all.

I don't have information on the engine, machine, mechanical stuff and he took down the ad and hasn't reposted it but I did see photos and it's gorgeous.

Has a shower/tub, wood stove, sink, toilet and wood floors (from what I can see from the photos). There was even some sort of horoscope/astrological ceiling tiles I found unique and would have kept. I wish I had saved the ad or taken a screenshot :-/ If I remember correctly, the ad said the bus starts and drives without any issue.

I want to believe this is not a scam and that I could potentially get the skoolie of my dreams...
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Old 12-18-2017, 02:27 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ThoreaulyCurious View Post
Thanks so much for your replies, everyone!

So...initially this was going for $8K but I countered with $5K expecting a haggle, but he was open to $5K. He says his girlfriend is out of work and expecting, hence the motivation to sell.

Like I said, our conversations have been limited to texts and not in depth at all.

I don't have information on the engine, machine, mechanical stuff and he took down the ad and hasn't reposted it but I did see photos and it's gorgeous.

Has a shower/tub, wood stove, sink, toilet and wood floors (from what I can see from the photos). There was even some sort of horoscope/astrological ceiling tiles I found unique and would have kept. I wish I had saved the ad or taken a screenshot :-/ If I remember correctly, the ad said the bus starts and drives without any issue.

I want to believe this is not a scam and that I could potentially get the skoolie of my dreams...
I'd say the seller dropping his price to half the asking price without a fight is a red flag.. lots of red flags on this one, I don't think I'd be comfortable buying a plane ticket even if it was my dream bus. If it was local and you could scope it out, that would be different.

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Old 12-18-2017, 03:15 PM   #8
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Too many unanswered questions. Engine? Transmission? Rear gears (partly determines top speed)? Title status?

The title not being in his name is a red flag, but not necessarily a deal-breaker. Either he bought it to flip it (resale for profit), or had intentions to use it but plans have changed. If it's an "open title" (usually not legal), which was signed by the original seller, but not dated, nor signed by the current owner, then it's a simple matter of putting your name and a recent date on the title (and as far as the tag and title office goes, bypassing him altogether). It would explain why he hasn't paid the taxes (and is perhaps why he didn't title it in his name).

If he has signed the title, then I would insist he transfer the title in his name before going any further. Clearing up a mess like that can turn into a nightmare. In any event, I would *NOT* separate with money until I had a title in my name headed my way (or one I know I could transfer with no difficulty).

Again, I would find out what engine, transmission and rear gears it has. Last thing you want is to regret the decision by finding out (too late) it has an undesirable drivetrain.
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Old 12-18-2017, 03:29 PM   #9
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Yeah, all of what has been said. However, you haven't asked what his bottom dollar is yet. He didn't bat an eye at going down $3k? I say $5k is not his bottom dollar. Get it cheap enough and the title issues may be worth it.

At the same time you haven't seen that bus in person. The seller had better get real good at taking pics. I agree, something smells like fish here. Make it worth your while to put up with the sellers hassle.
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Old 12-18-2017, 03:34 PM   #10
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Man, I sure hate the weird sketchy people that come out of the woodwork on CL.
I'd run from this bus. Too many red flags.
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Old 12-18-2017, 04:00 PM   #11
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I would not worry to much at this moment, Ask the seller to make a photo of the title both sides and text it to you. Have them take some picture of the rest as well.
Good luck, j
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Old 12-18-2017, 04:44 PM   #12
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Just a point of reference: I bought a bus from a guy that didn't bother to put the title in his (or his company's) name. However, the state the guy lives in doesn't require it. Yea - strange, but true.

Furthermore, my state's BMV gave me a major run-around because the title wasn't in the seller's name. They didn't like the "well, his state doesn't require him to" statement, even though it was true. It was very different from what they are used to.

The only thing that saved me from having to ship the title back to the seller, having him register in his state, then sending it back to me so I can register in my state was one little number in the "dealer" box! That made all my BMV troubles go away - because it was something the BMV people recognized!

Basically, the people at the BMV (or whatever it is called in your state) really don't like things that are different, and what we are doing is definitely different.

"What? You're registering this in your name? Not a company? You can't do that! Its a commercial vehicle!"

<Call Office At State Capitol>

"Oh, I guess you can...."

"Be sure to get a CDL so that you are 'in compliance'!"

etc., etc.

All that to say, make sure that the title is as similar to whatever the BMV people understand as possible. If this guy who is selling this bus hasn't even bothered to register the vehicle in his name and he is not a dealer (no "dealer" number), then you already have one major BMV hurdle to get over.

Also, read, read, read your state's Motor Vehicle Code. It took me about 5-6 hours of reading before I started to get the "gist" of it. That understanding saved me several post-title legal hassles that my state may have required of me if I had titled it "incorrectly". (Legislators and Bureaucrats absolutely love to re-define words to mean something very different than the meaning those words have in the common vernacular. And they will put those definitions in a place separate from where the law spells out what is 'required', so that the "uninitiated" will get tripped up between the legal definition of something and the common definition of the "same" something.)

And, have fun with this! I sure did when the BMV clerks almost had me title the bus "incorrectly". "Uh, no, my vehicle is not that, because the legal definition doesn't fit what I am going to use this bus for. Please title it like this, <blahblahblah>." Done! After all the run-around it sure was nice to ultimately get the bus titled exactly the way I wanted.
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Old 12-18-2017, 05:48 PM   #13
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Perhaps your answer is to get a temporary registration in your name in the state where the bus is now. They will probably "inspect" the VIN and make sure it is not stolen. They may also check that there are no leans against it, but I am not sure. With this temp registration, you should be able to at least permanently register it in your name in your home state. Depending on the state, they may also be able to issue you a new title for older vehicles, even if you do not have (a valid, questionable, or "weird") one in hand. Some states do not require a title for older vehicles (usually over 20 years).

A bus I looked at had a similar situation. I drove from GA to OR to see it (and others). The craigslist guy bought it on auction locally (he was a 40-year-old adult kid with family $$$ and a nice house on wooded acres, seemed a bit lazy, a bit of a drinker, and seemed to like the "gambling" aspect of auctions, and the "bid just kept going up and up...") Then, he said, he decided he just didn't want it, and couldn't afford it. (He had several vehicles like that in his yard) It was never titled or registered in his name, had no insurance, and I couldn't test drive it. I moved on, and got the exact same model bus for less than half his price. I bought it sight unseen on auction, and got a good deal on a good bus.

Plenty of slackers out there, but that doesn't mean they are intentionally trying to scam you. But some are.

If it is not registered and insured, seeing it will not let you know the most important detail: how does it run and drive. As nice as you say it looked inside, the old owners either died, retired, got sick, won the lottery and got a new RV, or something; or it had mechanical issues that will jump out and bite you with big $$$ repair bills within a few 1000 miles.
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Old 12-18-2017, 06:28 PM   #14
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I hope you get that bus at the right price. Authorities really have only one issue..get your money for the IRS. The seller didn't pay the tax when he bought it obviously but does anyone know a sale ever happened. Not likely. If he has the ownership from the previous owner and signed with no date you should be good to go.
case in point..I bought a 1968 CHRISCRAFT in 2001. It was a fair chunk of cash I put out so taxes would have been about 10% on top of that. I have no respect for authority such as bureaucracies in any jurisdiction. Still haven't registered the boat or paid the tax but do not travel in US waters either.
Get after the owner if you want that bus and screw the authorities. Tell them your own story to get the tags etc.

John
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Old 12-18-2017, 06:38 PM   #15
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Oddly enough, I registered my bus in GA as nothing more than a private passenger vehicle and had no difficulties whatsoever. Paid the usual car-tag rate and I was good to go. They did ask about various commercial uses, but none applied to me and I was like "look, it's just for me and the buds to go tailgating at the big game" (not really true since I don't "tailgate" nor go to any games, but it got the idea across).
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