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Hoffer

Boat title question - please help!

22 posts in this topic

Hey guys - not sure if this is the right forum for this...but will try here first.

I thought I bought a boat tonight. It is a 16 foot boat. The guy had the title and is going through a divorce. Both parties are on the title. His soon to be ex wife wont sign the title and has also moved out of state (Iowa).The guy told me not to worry because he said that boats in MN 16 feet and under dont even need a title. He signed and I have the title and the registration card. Now I talked to someone who told me that even though a 16 foot doesnt need to be title - if it HAS been titled - it needs to STAY titled. So, this guy has my check. He wont be able to cash it - and says he wont anyway until we get this figured out. What can be done if one party doesnt want to sign the title - or actually cant because she is out of state? I am going to try to get an answer at the DMV on Monday morning, and feel confident I can put a stop payment on the check on Monday morning...but I do want to buy the boat - and would like this to happen. Any advice or suggestions - is greatly appreciated and time is of the essence :-)

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If his divorce has been filed he should have been served papers.He cannot legally sell the boat until it has been settled in the divorce which party gets the boat.

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What he said above. The transfer cannot be completed without 2nd signature. They BOTH need to sign the title. You can have the Sheriff of where the wife resides now, serve the title to be signed.

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DMV won't even touch it until all parties have signed off on the title.I called the state about a boat trailer awhile back,and without current registration/title, I was told it would take a court order to change it over.DMV wouldn't even look at it if the registration/title wasn't signed off.I punted on that deal.Point is, the state is pretty strict on that kind of stuff.

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Thanks guys...here is where I am at so far.

He says his wife will now sign the title. I am dropping the title off later this afternoon and then he is going to meet his wife for a signature. Heres the issue....what if he just SAYS she is going to sign - then he just signs her signature without me knowing?? Am I then still screwed on this later on?? Or is he held responsible for this? I dont want to be driving the boat and then in a month get a call that I have to bring the boat back! and I am out my money.

Also, I only have ONE title, it is for the 1650 Crestliner fishhawk. There is no mention of any TRAILER nor do I have a trailer title...so what the deal with that. He said there is no trailer title...the bank never sent him anything. The trailer is registered for life.

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PS also wishing for walleyes said that he cant sell the boat until the divorce papers show who gets what. I think you CAN sell items to pay bills etc...and if the wife does end up signing the title TOO - isnt that OK???

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I would punt on this deal. If he doesn't have a registration card for the trailer, if there is a trailer in the package,you are going to have issues.Even if he registered this supposed trailer as homemade,the state would have sent him a reg. card. Your call, but I wouldn't mess with this deal, with the divorce situation, and no trailer reg. card.

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I do have a registration card but on the reigistration card it only lists "2003 crestliner fishawk", there is no mention of a motor or trailer...

so my question is - do the trailer registration cards etc...alwasy come separate?

I think for my current boat - I just have a simple registration card and it list the boat and the boat hull ID and that is it...I dont think I have a trailer title...

I know what you mean about punting on the deal..I am thinking of that...but if I can get both of them to sign the title - I may stick with it...

Also, on the registration it does say that there is 1 lienholder. But I do have the title, and it signed off from the bank, so maybe that just means that the lien was paid off after the registration card was sent out...

What is more important? registration card or title? If I have the title in my hands, and it is signed by both parties - am I free and clear?

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Sorry,Hoffer,I meant the registration card for the trailer.You should have a colored sticker and title for the boat, and a white reg. card for the trailer.Even if the trailer has lifetime registration on it, you should have, or the seller should have provided that white card. No card-I wouldn't do it. Unless, you decide to park the trailer you are buying, and purchase another trailer to use that has a reg. card.More hassle,more money to fork over, but it depends on how much you want this particular boat.

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Hey guys - I am still a little confused on having a separate trailer registration card. I just talked to a buddy who bought a used boat and he said he didnt have a separate trailer registration card - and my brother doesnt have on either for his boat - and I dont have one either..

Valv- you out there - dont you buy and sell alot??

Whats the scoop?

I am going in to the DMV tomorrow morning and I guess I will know for sure then...but for now I wouldnt mind knowing more...

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Ok, here's the rules

Boat has to have a title since it's 16ft and over, and newer than 1979, also boat has to have a reg card, both these are handled by DNR not DMV.

Trailer, it should have a title AND registration card period.

All this is handled by DMV.

If title is not available, DMV deputy registrar can find out if trailer was titled originally by looking up VIN or reg number.

The registration card is mandatory and lifetime for trailer 3000lbs and below, if he does not have a card you have to tell him to go to DMV and get another, they'll issue a duplicate registration and number and give him a card, he

then has to handle this to you.

There is no other way. It doesn't matter what others say, he has to have the card otherwise he needs another. Whoever says they don't have it it's because they lost it.

Now, if both titles (boat and trailer) have a lien on it, it has to be signed off by bank or have a lien release paper.

Regarding the divorce I would really be aware of seller forging wife (ex-wife) signature, in case of court orders you will loose your boat since it will be put into the assets to be divided, regardless if you were "deceived" by seller.

I would do 2 things:

1st walk away, why this hassle ? Boat market is very low right now I bet you can find a better one at e better price within hours, guaranteed.

2nd if you "feel lucky" and want to continue, be sure all the paperwork is provided as we specified, otherwise follow step above.

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My wife works for a Deputy Registrar. She deals with titles tied up in divorces and lost titles and registrations daily. She says Valv's responce is dead on.

You will be dealing with 2 seperate government entities the DMV and the DNR. None of your issues can be handled by you at the local Deputy Registrars. If there are liens he needs a release card from the lien holder not just thier signature on the title. If he doesn't have the title and registration card for the trailer, he needs to get duplicates from the DMV in St. Paul. The seller has to clear up all of these issues before you can do anything.

She seconds Valv's advice to walk away unless the seller clears up all the legal issues.

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My two cents is I would walk away. I think you are just walking a tight light there. It's scary to stick that money in and have a chance of loosing the boat. I would have him give you the check or stop payment. Then IF you still want the boat tell him all the papers he needs for you to write another check. Tell him YOU want to see the ex sign the paperwork and verify it with a license. After all that, then I would by it. I would look for another boat though.

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Minimum, i would ask him for his wifes phone number in IA to talk to her and see if she is "in the know" on the whole deal.

Then go from there if you want to proceed. If he wont give you her number then walk for sure.

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hey guys...

thanks for the advice!!!!!!!!!!

I am going to walk away. I told him once this all gets cleared up I will then buy the boat.

I do have one question. If he has the title, and the title is signed off by the bank....why do we still need a lien release card??

It was my understanding that the bank doesnt send the title out until the lien/loan is all paid off....so if he has the title in hand - doesnt that mean it is paid off?

The other thing - I think valve mentioned is that I thought boats that were 16 feet and under didnt need to have a title??

The issue was that this boat is a 16 footer - and doesnt actually require a title, but the DMV told me that since it was ALREADY titled - it must remain titled...

Anyway, thanks for all the advice - this is what makes this a great site....guys pitching in to help others :-)

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I had a loan on a vehicle and the bank sent me the title while I still had the loan.Though the title stated it had a lein on it by them. I think that is why they require a lein release card because some banks send you the title.

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Thats good to know - I didnt know that...I thought the bank only sent it to you when it was free and clear...this title was signed by the bank - suppose that makes any difference?

Tomorrow is finally Monday - I will be asking all these questions to the DMV, DNR etc...and will post exactly what I find out...but thanks again all.

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When I financed my boat, the local bank only required that the title say they had a lien on it.

I have the title (18' Tracker) with lien holder being my bank.

They have the lien release card, which in the past they've had for different vehicles / equipment and I get when the debt is settled.

Unless you saw an officer at the bank sign the title, there's no saying who signed the title.

There's a lien release card for a reason, IMO.

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Boat titles do not have lien cards, they need to signed on the actual title, if the title is signed by the bank you should be ok, It would be worth a call to the bank to make sure the owner didn't just "sign on behalf of the bank". Not that anybody would ever do that... Best of luck.

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I stopped by the DMV this morning.

Here is what they told me.

Boat title: Sometimes for cars they do send out the title ahead of the loan being paid off. For boats the bank saves the title until the lien is paid off then they send out the title.

The guy told me I only needed the title and have it signed by both parties.

For the trailer, it is permanently registered. He said there isnt a trailer registration card. I have a lien release card on the trailer and also a title. They match those up and then transfer the trailer into my name.

That is all that is needed.

By the way, you pay sales tax only on the value of the trailer for sales between private parties. You do not pay sales tax on the boat and motor...kind of strange - but I will take it - being the trailer is the least expensive part :-)

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Also, I only have ONE title, it is for the 1650 Crestliner fishhawk. There is no mention of any TRAILER nor do I have a trailer title...so what the deal with that. He said there is no trailer title...the bank never sent him anything. The trailer is registered for life.

We thought you didn't have a trailer title. Some trailers are titled and some only have a registration card, depending on the weight capacity. That's why the registration card was mentioned.

The deal sounds a little safer now if his ex signs the titles. Good luck.

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yeah - I didnt know the trailer wa titled for sure until I went to the DMV this morning. He actually didnt have the trialer title, but is getting a duplicate title - and the ex will sign that too. The boat and motor title has been signed and all a done deal.

The whole reason I was pursuing this through the hassle is the following:

2003 1650 crestliner fishhawk, 2003 75 merc, 2003 matching black shorelander roller. full snap cover in brand new condtion, gps depth finder on console, troller and troller depth finder on bow, custome LED lights in bow stern and middle with LED lights in the livewell, bait locker, and rod locker. exterior and interior both = 9/10, other extras like 3 batteries, on board charger, additional rod holders and rod keepers, extra new prop. Seller had some skills and did some extras on the boat that are really nice = all wiring done in heavy 12 gauge wire with conduit surrounding everything and everything snap-tied nice and neat.

Price = 8k.

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