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The title or proper registration wasn't a problem with either of the two people who used my address in California. I offered to send them the paperwork but both said it wasn't worth the trouble.
I'm not making any guarantees, but I think border patrols round the world have better things to do then check paperwork. I've been hearing (via slashdot.org) that US customs is now quite fond of going through your laptop and occasionally taking it until they feel they're done with it.
Dave, if by "I think border patrols round the world have better things to do then check paperwork," you mean that there is a single border crossing in Mexico or Central America that is going to let a US-plated or non-Mexican/Central American plated motorcycle pass without inspecting the title, your experiences are diametrically opposed to mine.
Exceptions to the above statement would be a U.S. plated motorcycle re-entering the U.S., and any motorcycle entering Mexico but not going past the commercial zone near the U.S. border.
Yeah, you're right, Mike. Sorry, I was thinking of India, Nepal, Pakistan and Afghanistan. I haven't gone anywhere but Mexico-US border towns.
That's from my experience with India and Nepal, and the stories I've heard from other travelers in Nepal (with bigger cajones than me) about Pakistan and Afghanistan.
The two guys who've used my address to title and register a bike, didn't want the paperwork when it showed. I emailed them both when it arrived and they said they had no problems going south from California.
They just had the rough paperwork the California DMV (Dept of Motor Vehicles) gave them.
Ok, I have read all the relevant threads before asking my questions but I have a few points I would like confirming or clarifying so I hope you can help.
1. Can I buy a used bike in one state and register it in another? For example buy in California and register it in Oregon (no sales tax)? Or do I have to register the bike in the state it is purchased?
2. If I can't take my paperwork away with me on the day I register a bike (such as the service available at Arizona DMV) can I start my tour of the US before the paperwork arrives?
3. Do I need insurance before I can register the bike? (I think I've read that I do...)
My understanding is that California has the most bikes (12% if I remember correctly) so I am more likely to get a deal here and so this is a very good place to start my trip. However, I am flexible where I start because I intend to go all over the US anyway. Therefore the states with no sales tax and those with the 'no waiting for your paperwork' services are also ideal places to start but these will have a smaller selection of used bikes.
4. Anyone know of anywhere that lists these things for each DMV without contacting each one individually? (Those that have 0% sales tax and take-away paperwork on the day)
My understanding is that insurance is also easier and cheaper if organised whist within the states as opposed to at home?
5. Is it possible for somebody else to register the bike and organise insurance in my absence? Such as the seller, if he/she is willing (and for a small fee of course)?
California is an oddball state. It has the strictest smog laws in the world. You can buy a vehicle in another state but depending on the miles, you might not be able to register it in California. California also has the highest sales tax in the US. It's around 9% depending on the location of purchase (state taxes and local taxes) but sales tax really just applies if you buy from a dealer. A private person doesn't care and would think you were crazy if you tried to pay them sales tax.
California doesn't want people buying vehicles from other states to save on taxes. Other states don't require the same smog controls so California DMV might check your mileage if you register a new bike bought from another state.
Oregon is a good state to buy a vehicle from to avoid the taxes.
If you register at a CA DMV, they'll give you a printout to have while you wait for the official paperwork to show (2-6 weeks). That's fine to travel with. You can even cross the Mexican border with that.
When you buy a vehicle, you don't have to have insurance. You're supposed to, but they only check when you renew your registration. Insurance computers are tied into the CA DMV and they know when you have insurance.
When I was in California, I let a few HU folks use my address to register and insure their bike at. Having a US address is handy. Sorry, but I'm in Korea now. I'm guessing at this, but I think that if you asked a hotel if you could use their address to get mail, they'd say yes. Don't tell them it's DMV/insurance. You might need a fancy hotel for that. DMV and insurance companies aren't going to know that it's a hotel.
Also in California, most people won't register and insure your bike for you. It just sounds a bit dodgy, plus everyone hates sitting around the DMV. You might get lucky but it's not likely. I haven't bought a bike through a dealer, but I'm sure they'd be more accommodating for doing the paperwork.
There's a few sites that search craigslist.org which is a good site for buying vehicles in the US. It's worldwide but in some countries it's rarely used. jaxed.com is one but it's not working for me right now, but my school's internet is overloaded.
1) When you buy a bike in a state with tax you will be taxed on the spot.
When you register you bike in a state you are saying this bike is part of that state, and will follow all its laws. You may even need to pay tax on it. It is like importing the bike to that state because that is what it is. The registration is good for one year.
So if you buy your bike in California you will taxed at that states tax rate. Register it in Oregon you will need to make sure that bike is legal in Oregon. It will be. No new tax but you will paying a fee to have the bike registered. You will need the Title from California on the bike or California registration.
But if say you buy the in Washington state you will pay Washington state tax then register it California you will be paying California tax as well. (unless you keep proof you payed the tax on it. then you can be hit with difference.)+ any fees.
DO NOT try and get of of paying the tax on the bike, the bike will be impounded and you may find your self deported, refused to be allowed back in the USA or find BIG$ and set in jail then deported.
You can Fly to Portland Oregon take a cab to the biggest bike shop you can find buy the bike, get insurance, do all the paper work there and you will be good.
The bike is yours.
You may need to go to the DMV to get a plate and sticker and year long registration title. Or there may be a "title office" where you can get most of this done (it changes state to state.) The bike shop will know and can help. It may help you to think of the USA as the EU with each state being a separate country. Each state has its own laws and will enforce each a bit differently. The way things are ran will differ from state to state and in some places county to county. But the USA has laws each state will follow.
2) When you buy the bike you will get a paper plat for the back a temporary registration and in most bike shops you can get insurance. Depending on the place they may send the paper work in for you. Or send you to the DMV or title office. Once at DMV or title office there you hand in your paperwork and get a steal plate and year long registration. At no time will you be with out paper work Remember to get insurance. for the bike. Cops will have all the info on the bike in a week but will fine you with out insurance.
3) You do not. If you are paying for the bike. If you need to bank lone the bank will need that. (the bike shop will deal with all that)
Are you getting new or used?
If you are going new it will not matter any good bike shop can get any bike in a few days and will more than not have the bike you want on the showroom floor. Used California has more the state is also huge and vary long. 770miles or 1239KM. unless it is at a bike shop there not shipping the bike for you. Oregon has many many shops as well. Google bike shops in the state you are looking to start in.
5) Yes and No You will need to sine the forms and pick up the paperwork. A person selling the bike will not do it and if some how get them to be ready to lose all the $ on the bike and insurance. You are giving them $ and asking them to read your mind if the bike is good enof for you. and the insurance is ok. A bike shop can and may do it but if someone has ever given them any problem over this there is no way there going to to it a agen.
I've bought about 25 or so used vehicles in California in my life but I've only bought from other people, not from a business. I remember reading on a mailing list or forum about someone who tried to find out how to actually pay the tax on a vehicle bought from a person. He got shuttled around and I think the final answer was that you report it on your CA state tax forms at the end of the year. You're not a CA citizen. I haven't heard of a vehicle being impounded or any troubles caused for not paying taxes. It's not like you'll be buying a new Brough Superior (cheap at only $250,000) and try to register that in CA. I drive/ride mostly stuff from the 1960s so lists and forums I'm on cover old stuff. I have no idea on buying anything newer than the 1990 Honda GB500 that I bought in 1999.
Your registration fees in CA will go up with the reported price you paid for the bike, and for newer vehicles, they check. My reported GB500 value was more expensive than the blue book. If you say you paid $500 for a 2008 MV Agusta, the DMV will charge you from the blue book vehicle price. If you say you paid $500 for a 1996 Kawasaki 650 because it had been wrecked and was sitting around for 10 years, and you were fixing it, they'll often take that as a price. It's the CA DMV and anything there deals with the mood and knowledge of the person helping you. Most smart people get bored of helping people and advance past customer service.
I've dealt with, and heard, and read a lot of stories of having to switch to another person, or ask for their supervisor, or switch to another DMV, because even with a copy of their rule book, they're the boss of the situation. Mostly this is from buying old vehicles and trying to keep the original plates (they change colors about every 10 years).
CA is broke right now, so they raised the registration fees again.
Used vehicles in California come with plates.
Still, buying in Oregon would probably be cheaper.
Thanks for all your advice. I think I've got it all squared away in my mind and that I understand it all pretty good. But it never hurts to get that little extra clarification, especially as I have heard some real BS in other forums that seem to scare some people and put them off purchasing in the UK. Instead they end up shipping their own bikes at what I think is extra and unnecessary costs, although there are some advantages of course.
By the way I'm more than happy to pay tax, particularly as it's not going to be a lot anyway even if I did buy new. Naturally I'd just rather avoid it if possible. Sorry if I made you repeat yourself DL there are just so many threads on this subject on HU alone (and I think I've read pretty much all of them). If they were all put into one it would be much easier and more efficient. Perhaps HU should have a guide on this very subject too. Anyway I do appreciate all of your input, it does always seem to be a core group of individuals that offer up advice and help out us newbies. I hope that one day I'll be able to reciprocate.
I definitely want to buy a used bike simply because they are better value and probably more reliable provided they are well maintained, which I think most bikes generally are. I only plan on riding in the US, albeit all over, indeed my wall map is a mass of pins that require deciphering into some kind of economical route. It seems easier to just register in the state of purchase. My first choice then is CA given the increased number of used bikes for sale, but I'll also keep my eyes open in OR and other Western States. I could always hire a car and go on a road trip to check out a bike if it is a couple of states away...
Dave, that Jaxed site you suggested is brilliant, I think I've seen you recommend it in another forum too. I had a look and there are some really great used V-Stroms at great prices, it really makes me want to buy one now... if only I could. I plan on using primarily the ADV fleamarket as well as Craigslist & ebay, which Jaxed covers. Are you teaching English in Korea by any chance? Me and a friend were considering doing this for a while. If your back in CA next year July 2010 I'd really appreciate your help mate.
I had a very nice guy PM me to see if I was interested in buying a used KLR 650 who also offered to help with registration and insurance. So there are people that will go the extra mile. That's what I love about the biker/adv/hubb community: the solidarity. By the way if anybody wants any help, anything at all, touring Blighty and Europe I'm here. I'll even put you up for as long as you like and will maintain a good stock of good Ole English Ales, Scottish Single Malts or whatever else takes your fancy. I'm in Peterborough, which is about 30 mins away from Cambridge and and about 90 mins from London.
Are you teaching English in Korea by any chance? Me and a friend were considering doing this for a while. If your back in CA next year July 2010 I'd really appreciate your help mate.
Yeah, I'm teaching. I just showed up 3 weeks ago, so I'll still be here in 2010. I might stick around 2 to 4 years. I owe a lot of money from Round 2 of my trip and got lazy and let my finances get out of hand. Not that I didn't enjoy taking almost 2 years off work and traveling a lot.
I'll be learning about Korea, and rules and regulations, so hopefully I can answer questions about this country as well.
I'm thinking of buying a bike in CA with a salvage title, but the seller says it can't be registered in CA for street use. I've been searching around trying to find out why with no luck. Is there any way to fix this so it can be registered?
If you can't register the bike with a salvage title, it's probably a bike meant for dirt. CA makes it hard to register those for roads. They used to let you put lights on and work around it, but they changed that a couple-three years ago. They went back to a certain date that the bike had to be older than.
I have friends with cars registered with salvage vehicles. You bang up a 1960s car a little and insurance companies want to total them. It's cheaper than finding and rechroming a bumper sometimes.
I think, but am not sure, that you can get an agent in CA, but good luck with that. Trips to the DMV can be a pain in the ass. If you use AAA you can do it through there which is easier. Plus CA has been raising registration rates so you can wait at AAA, which is not the CA DMV, and watch someone lose it when their vehicle registration goes up $100. It's not AAA's fault but messengers are meant to be punished.
I do think that buying in California will be the easiest route due to the larger number of bikes and the ease flying into the major cities there. Going into other states simply to save on taxes is probably not worth it, unless you have someone over here who can get you around.
I think that buying new or used from a dealer could be worth it, as a dealer in California could take care of the registration for you. I know that in some states, it is difficult, if not impossible, to purchase vehicles if you are not a resident of that state. California is full of "foreigners" so the process is smoother for non-residents/non-US citizens to purchase legally there.
There are many HUBBers from Calif., too, so I am quite sure once your plans are more solidified, someone in that part of Cali would and could help you out. I live just across the Calif./Arizona border and where these states meet Mexico, and would be willing to help you out, but I don't think that buying in Arizona is as easy as California if you are not a resident here. I do know that a person gets an Arizona title on the spot here, but again, not sure if it would be worth coming this way.
I would just narrow down the time and place, and see who is around in that part of the state you intend to land in to help you out.
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