Buyers today are driving SEVERAL hours to find just the right boat. We have been involved with buyers from TX driving to NY and MI guys driving to AL and FL to pick up their dream from private sellers. It is very common to cross at least 1 state line. Although the boat might be perfect, here are a couple ideas that will make things end up a bit better.
1. Get as many pictures or videos as you can to see things clearly. Include actual VIN tag pictures of boat, motor and trailer.
2. Call your state office and ask ahead of time what will be required from your seller's state. This can also be learned online.
- If the seller state requires a title or registration for ANY OF THE THREE - get a copy first. Some banks hold titles so that could be an indicator there is a lien.
- 2 reasons - checking for liens and to see if seller's name is on the papers. Don't buy anything that does not have the sellers name on the ownership papers. The story about "I knew I was selling it so I didn't switch it", does not wash.
- If the seller is not on the title / registration, getting docs in your state is a major problem. Bill of Sale must match.
3. You will need a signed Bill of Sale between you and your seller. Very simple stating who, what and for how much.
4. If the seller has a lien (loan) that gets paid off first. NEVER GIVE MONEY TO A PERSON WITH A LIEN AND HOPE THEY DO THE RIGHT THING! (was that plain enough?)
5. In most cases, if the paperwork is off, its because the owner is avoiding sales tax when he bought it. His short term gain can turn into a major hassle for you.

We work with buyers and seller from state to state every day. While most sellers will do the right thing when asked, we do occasionally get the guy that gets huffy and walks away. Generally there is a reason. The old rule of possession is 9/10 the law, that final 1/10 can be a serious problem. We have learned a bunch over the years and I feel we are very good at the process. Be sure to look past the boat to the details of the paperwork. Sometimes a second choice in boats with solid documentation is better than the alternative.
Let us know how we can help.
Thank you,
(517) 543-6921 - Office
(517) 930-2721 - Cell

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Ken Lamain
Office (517) 543-6921
Cell (517) 930-2721