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Using Car Title Service Co. ?

Guest Silverghost

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Guest Silverghost

I bought a curved-dash OLDS 1904 Model 6-C from the estate of a Maryland farmer several months ago.

The car was original & never restored, but said to be actually running in the early 1960s .

The farmer's heirs have been looking for the old title, if it actually ever existed, but have not located one in the late owner's paperwork.

MD. has no record of this Olds EVER being titled or registered in their state~~~

Their records do not go back very far as the old title records were said to have been "Retired"; whatever that means ?

I suspect the old records were thrown-away ~

Or~~~ are in some long lost file warehouse buried somewhere?

I have a legal Bill of Sale only !

I have been to the Pennsylvania DOT office to ask about trying to title and register this car in my home state of PA.

When I showed them the paperwork & asked to title this auto I was treated like a car thief !

I have yet to transport this Olds from MD. to Penna. as I do not wish to transport an untitled, unregistered & un-insured auto across state lines on an open auto transport trailer.

Just my luck I get pulled-over on the roadway.

I would never be able to explain my way out of this without an expensive lawyer !

In short in Pennsylvania~~~

If you have No old title; Pennsylvania. or out of state,~~~

and no proof of Insurance on the auto~~~

You CANNOT register , or title any old car in Pennsylvania without an old title, and current proof of insurance ~~~


I also tried several fast licence & tag services here in my area and they will not get involved in this no-tile transaction !

I was trying to avoid using an out of state "Title Service Co." like Broadway Title Co. as this seems to be skirting the state title laws & seems just barely legal~~~to say the very least in my opinion !

Here's what the "Title Service Company" says that they will do to get you a new legal title~~~

You fill out their supplied paperwork stating that you are actually SELLING the car to THEM !

Yes ~~~


They then stated that they actually title the car in THEIR, or their "Partner's" name, whoever that is, in another state, and then they will SELL the car back to YOU with a legal out of state title with THEIR, or THEIR "PARTNER's name on it " !~~~

Your Cost for this service ~~~$350.

Now to me this sounds like an out of state title loophole that may JUST be barely legal ?

A shell game way to launder a title to fool out of state DOTs .

This entire idea does not sit well with me !

Has anyone here used Broadway Title Co. or a similar car "title service"?

Did you have ANY problems with your State DOT accepting a title from such a "Title Service" company ?

What do you think abou having a car that YOU just bought TITLED in THEIR, or their mystery "PARTNER'S" name ?

There seems to be some level of risk in having THEIR name on YOUR car ! ?

And then SOLD BACK to YOU ?

What are the legal risks of using such a "Title Service" ?

I would think sooner or later the various State DOTs would get wise to this "Title Paperwork Shell Game" & title laundering ?

Frankly I am surprised that their own state has not gotten wise to their title paperwork transfer game~~~and SHUT THEM DOWN & actually ARRESTED them ! ?

What are your opinions & past history with similar "Title Service' outfits ?

Did this sort of "Title Service Co" transfer work OK for you ?

What OTHER OPTIONS do I have here ?

How did you title your "barn-find" or a car pulled out of a farmer's field ?

All opinions appreciated !


Edited by Silverghost (see edit history)
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Take heart, "possession is 9/10ths of the law" is an old saw that has some basis. It's yours, unless someone can prove othrwise, and you have a bill of sale to boot, presumably from an authorized executor.

In Virginia, I got a trailer from a person who had come to Va. from the south and had no title for it. While he was not able to get a Virginia title, he was allowed to register it and get a tag. When I acquired it, all I had was that previous owner's Va. registration card. On the basis of that, I WAS given a Va. title. Some states aren't as difficult to deal with as others.

Broadway apparently registers it, maybe in Alabama, on the basis of your bill of sale for the vehicle "sold" to them. Seems fishy, but they have been around for a long time doing it. I once considered using them, but a "what-if" bothered me. While "legally" their car, my car could be seized for various reasons while in their possession, such as tax trouble or a judgement in a lawsuit. I'd be s o l.

Have you considered going over the heads of the local DMV office? I'd like to believe that at state level there would be someone who would lend a sympathetic ear, especially because the vehicle is ancient. I'm betting if it's not on the hot car list you will get some type of ownership document. Good luck, and let us know how things come out.

Edited by Dave Henderson (see edit history)
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I had a similar problem 20 years ago. I sold a 1905 Cadillac to a gentleman in Pennsylvania (I am in Rhode Island) There was no title. Rhode Island was not even a title state until the late 70s. The law then (and it is still the law) is that no title is required for any car over 10 years old. The state DMV will not issue a title for an antique car. This fact seemed absolutely unbelievable to whatever nitwit I spoke to in Pennsylvania and, over a period of a week or so, my problem was consistently kicked upstairs until it was possible to reach someone who actually understood that Pennsylvania's laws do not apply to the entire nation. I was then told that a valid receipt for sales tax paid was acceptable... I provided the seller with that and, as far as I know, it worked because I never heard of a subsequent problem.

Even now, if you bought that car or any car over 10 years old here here you would not get - nor could you get a title from the state even if you offered to pay for it.

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Broadway Title Service is a legitmate business providing a valuable service.

I've used them twice in the past to title barn finds. They also know if their service will be accepted by your state. If it won't work for you, they'll send it all back to you, no cost.

It's not a scam. They are in a non title state and will register the vehicle there and get a registration in their name and then sell the car to you. What this does is create a paper trail that says you bought the car in the non title state. With that paper work you can apply for title & registration in your state. Your state will treat it like any other car coming in from there and create a new title & registration for you.

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Alabama does not title cars prior to 1975 - you only have a tag receipt in your name. All that is needed to register a car older than 1975 is a Bill of Sale - nothing else (proof of insurance is required but when I was registering cars there I never had to show proof). So I am pretty sure what they are doing is registering the car in their name based upon your Bill of Sale and then they will send you a tag receipt and a Bill of Sale selling the car back to you.

you would need to see if PA will accept this method of "titling" a car from Alabama.

EDIT - I see that you have already verified they will accept it. BTW, if you have a friend in Alabama they can do the same thing for you that Broadway does.


Edited by Bob Hill (see edit history)
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In California if you have a barn find you can title to it by telling the DMV that you lost the ownership certificate, the license plates, and the registration papers and by getting an inspection by a California Highway Patrol officer to verify the VIN. It's easy!

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Over the years I used Broadway Title very successfully to gain a titles on many cars. The laws have changed. Recently (in the last year) the only way Broadway could get a title for me is transport the car to Alabama for the state to inspect. The only company that could get a title for a 1934 Auburn was Get New Title aka Mainlytitles. Nine months and $650 later I got a title, albiet not in the state in which I live. I will never buy an untitled car again unless I am going to part it out.

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Guest Xprefix28truck

I agree that it varies from state to state. Here in Indiana, I have received titles ,for untitled cars, simply by where they were purchased from. If you purchase a car from a non title state, such as NewYork, simply show a notarized bill of sale from that state for the vehicle, and your done. New title in your name. I feel for everyone that has trouble with titles. Indiana is not as easy as some states, but not as hard as others. I would think that Broadway would be reputable enough to trust. Here in my state you can purchase titles at flee markets. Don't know the legality of it, but they go like "hot cakes".

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Guest Xprefix28truck
Instead of checking what PA requires, why not look into what MD needs for the executor to procure a title in the deceased owner's state? Many states only require an affidavit of lost title to reissue one.

Very good idea!!!!

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Guest Silverghost

The Farmer's family (heirs) do not want to get involved with this missing MD title issue. They went to the Maryland DMV with me once and we had similar issues as with Penna.

They have now got their $10. K cash and have washed their hands of this title issue~~~ "That's your Problem~~~Not Ours !"

"Let us know how you make-out; or if you need us to sign any papers !"

I have seen guys with signs on their backs & briefcases at Hershey and other flea markets in th past selling old car titles~~~

We often wondered where these old titles came from ?

Possibly old auto Junkyards/scrappers ? Old quickie Title services ?

Some guy raiding the DMV's trash dumpster ?

Your guess here is as good as ours .

We had often wondered about the legality of buying such a used car title ?~~~

At the very least you would have to change your auto's VIN or car serial numbers ! ?

It is highly doubtful that they, or anyone, would ever have a title for a curved dash Olds !

In Fact~~~

I doubt that this Olds ever had a title in1904 when new in the first place !

Edited by Silverghost (see edit history)
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Here in beautiful Illinois our titles are getting a bit tougher as well. It took me nearly a year to finally get clean paper for my 36 Divco in hand.

Here is what was needed:

Bill of sale, Professional appraisal, Bond for 1 1/2 times the appraised amount, and the required state forms including the required fees.

They did allow me to do just a title but did not push for a plate immediately. The truck won't be on the road for a bit as it's in boxes in the shop.

The only slight issue they had was I had put my Wife's name on the title application but had left it off the bond. It was bounced back for that reason. We made the correction and resubmitted it.

The costs were:

Title app- $100, the appraisal $150.00, and the bond $100.

I guess not too bad in the big picture.

We have also heard some really nasty stories though.

I did give a sigh of relief when the title actually showed up.

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Guest bbrust

I bought a car in Jan 2010 without a title. This car had been sitting since 1961. Same problem in PA that you described. They wanted to find the person that placed the car in the field 50 years ago and get them to give me the title. One suggestion from the DMV in Harrisburg was to go to court to have me declared as the owner. I don't remember what was needed to accomplish this. A local DMV rep also said that I could use a title company.

I then looked at the title companies. One was reasonably priced but I had to have the car inspected by a PA inspection mechanic to show that it was road worthy (the car is in pieces). For close to $1000 I was told that I could get a title without the inspection. I believe this company was in Maine.

One day while on the HAMB site, I saw an add from a guy that could get CA titles. I sent him a picture of the VIN plate a picture of the VIN number stamped in the frame and for $380 I received a CA title with my name and address and tags within 2 weeks. I took the CA title to a PA DMV representative, paid the sales tax and received a PA title.

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I've had good luck petitioning the Courts in Pennsylvania for titles. This is the proper, by the book, way to get a title to a car with no title. Only a Judge can lawfully extinguish the interests of others and give you a good clean title.

The problem with what these title companies do is that you really don't "own" the car, you have possession of the car with a title that is good enough to register the car. The original owner can still come in and make a claim to the car which could cost you dearly in legal fees. With a Court Order, they could still make a stink, but you would at least have a legal document saying that you "own" the car which would be much more likely be be upheld as opposed to a title company title!!!

Food for thought!

Edited by elcamino72
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I am a lawyer, so I do it myself for clients of mine.

The end result is the same in each case, you want to get a title to the vehicle and the rights of all others extinguished however the techincal filings with the Court to get to this process and what each Judge requires differs. It's not what I would call a "well defined" process and being a lawyer certainly helps navigate it.

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Guest Silverghost

Not to knock lawyers here~~~


If I had my lawyer go all through this tangled legal process my legal bill would wind-up costing as much as I have already paid to purchase this 1904 Olds in the first place !

All this to satisfy the State of Pennsylvania and some Judge !

My point here is that all Antique autos that are found in barns, garages, and in farmer's fields did not, or no longer have any legal titles~~~

The State should have some easy process in place to handle very old autos withot titles~~~

A process that protects everyone's rights !

And one that does not force law abiding citizens to jump through all sorts of legal hoops and cost them an arm and a leg !

Edited by Silverghost (see edit history)
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Guest Gary Hearn

I think that I would inquire of the PA and MD DMV's as to what model year they began the use of titles. I suspect it was long after 1904 and as such you should be grandfathered. If the car remained in the family since before the title law came into effect there would not have been any reason to obtain a title.

See if the MD DMV can answer the above question. Once you get their answer (which I bet will be after 1904) I would take a notarized bill of sale to them and demand a title. You just need to use the information that they give to your advantage.

Below is the information I have gleaned from the MD DMV site about obtaining a title.

To title and register your newly purchased used vehicle, you will need to submit the following documents (along with payment for taxes and fees):

* Proof of ownership - You must submit the vehicle's current title that has been properly assigned to you. Note that if the title was issued in Maryland, it can be used as your application form for titling and registering the vehicle. A registration document and bill of sale may be submitted as proof of ownership ONLY if the vehicle is from a state that does not issue a title as proof of ownership.

* Application form - If the vehicle's current title was issued in Maryland, use it as your application form by completing the section entitled Application for Title and Registration. If not, use the Application for Certificate of Title (form #VR-005). Be sure to include your insurance information. Your policy must conform to Maryland's minimum liability insurance requirements.

* Proof of purchase price - This should be a bill of sale signed by both the buyer(s) and seller(s). The bill of sale must be notarized if the following conditions apply:

o the vehicle is less than 7 years old; and

o the purchase price is at least $500 below the book value; and

o the new owner (buyer) wants to base the excise tax calculation (6% of the vehicle's value) on the sale price rather than the book value.

* Odometer disclosure statement - If the vehicle has a Maryland title or an out-of-state title, the odometer reading can be recorded and attested to in the section entitled Assignment of Ownership. You also can submit the MVA's Odometer Disclosure Statement (form #VR-197).

* Maryland Safety Inspection Certificate - The Maryland State Police form certifies that your vehicle meets Maryland safety standards. It is valid for up to 90 days from the date issued.

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..................The State should have some easy process in place to handle very old autos withot titles~~~

A process that protects everyone's rights !

And one that does not force law abiding citizens to jump through all sorts of legal hoops and cost them an arm and a leg !

There is such a process, Ghost. You write or contact, your State Congressman and Senator and explain that you are having a problem with the Department of Motor Vehicles registering your antique vehicle. Members of the AACA Forum appreciate hearing what you have gone through, but only your State representative can change vehicle laws in your state.


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Here is their link that explains what they do: How Our Services Work - Broadway Title Company

They use Dealer servies in several states and explain your responsibilities.

Simple process, not alway fast but simple an legal.

Let the moth's fly and title your barn find before you spend a fortune restoring it and then finding it's not titleable.

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Guest Silverghost


I thought this thread may be helpful not only to me~~~

But to other Forum & AACA members~~~

I am sure that I am not the first person here that has had a similar title issue with an old Antique car in their own state~~~

And I will not be the last I am sure.

This is a real problem issue with US old Antique car nuts !

You should have seen the woman's face in MD at the DMV when we tried to obtain a title for a 1904 Oldsmobile !

She looked at me stunned like a deer looks in your headlights~~~

Her exact words~~~

"Did I hear you say it was a 1904 Oldsmobile ??? "

She and her boss had no idea what to do to help us !

They DID try ~~~

A similar situation happened at the PA DOT office !

And can you just imagine what would happen if I took this 1904 Olds Horseless carriage to our State Police for the required new title auto safety inspection ?

Can't you just see their faces now ?

Edited by Silverghost (see edit history)
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I'd go in-person to the main office of the DMV (Harrisburg?) and explain the situation. Someone there should be able to help you. Go early in the day so you can wait to see the right person if needed.

I got several no-paperwork cars when I lived in New York. In each case, after speaking to an office supervisor, I got my registration (no titles for pre-1973 vehicles in NY). In fact, despite their reputation, NY DMV was very friendly and easy to work with, at least until the late 1990's when we moved.

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The certificate of title creates a rebuttable presumption that you actually “own” the vehicle for which the title is issued. The certificate of title is just as important as the deed to real estate. The difference is that since colonial times, land records, warrants, patents and deeds have been recorded and indexed for easy searching by state, county and public persons. Most states however do not take vehicle certificates of title so seriously and many have lost or “purged” their old records and have no record of who owns what today, especially with the older vehicles.

To complicate matters even further, many states, such as Pennsylvania, did not start requiring vehicle owners to make application to the state for a certificate of title prior to the mid 1920s. This means that if a vehicle was taken off of the road prior to this point, it may have never been issued a title. Of course if a certificate of title was issued long ago and then lost by an owner, there is a good chance that the state, including and especially Pennsylvania will have no record of the vehicle in their computer database. This is largely for two reasons (1) purging of records and (2) the transfer of records from paper to computers. If a vehicle goes unregistered in Pennsylvania for quite some time it will, or at least is has in the past, literally fallen off of the radar with the Department of Transportation, Bureau of Motor Vehicles.

The importance of a “good” certificate of title cannot be understated. Just because you “find” a vehicle in a barn and “buy” it off of the farmer doesn’t mean that you “own” the vehicle. Perhaps, a person parked the car in the barn years ago and died and left the vehicle to a relative. The relative has a better interest under the eyes of the law than you do. This is why it is important to go through the court system to get a court “blessed” certificate of title for your newly found beauty. By going through a title company, you will only have a piece of paper that will let you get the car registered, but you must always be aware that someone with a better interest in the vehicle than you could possibly come in and make a legal claim to “your” vehicle. Of course this all presumes that the car isn’t stolen or salvaged and the lost title is merely a convenient way to “wash” the title. In my opinion, a title obtained through one of a title company may be viewed as questionably valid.

As a collector, restorer and enthusiast myself I recognize the sensitivity of this issue, however given the current law and departmental regulations regarding certificates of titles in Pennsylvania and throughout the country, the most effective way to insure your “ownership” of the vehicle is to Petition the court for a declaration of ownership thereby extinguishing the rights of all others.

Also, I agree that a more user-friendly legal procedure should be developed as an effort to deal with lost titles and vehicles so old that titles may never have been issued, however I also recognize the difficulty of implementing such procedures due to fraud and misrepresentation of titles and ownership.

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Guest Silverghost


Your points are exactly why I started this forum thread in the first place.

I know I can get some sort of sham"Title" paperwork from an out of state so-called "Title Company".


The shell game that they use to launder a car title does not sit well with me.

I wish to Title this car in Penna. the proper & correct LEGAL way !

I want no future question of my true legal ownership !

This is one of the many reasons that it still sits now in my friend's Maryland barn and not with me here in PA .

I want this title issue sorted out first !

This 1904 Curved-Dash Olds was said to have been bought new by this Maryland farm family !

It is said to have spent all of it's life in this Maryland stone barn !

My friend who tipped me to it's sale has known about it since the early 1970s

I have several period pre-teens photos of this car at this farmhouse as well as photos from the 1960s !

There is some question in my mind as to this horseless carriage having ever had ANY state issued title ?

I have several problems to deal with here~~~

There are TWO states involved~~~

This car is also over 106 years old !

It has no Title ; and may in fact never have had one issued by the state of Maryland or any other state ?

I also do not live in Maryland and do not know their laws or law-makers!

This 1904 Olds also has no VIN number as such ! Just a chassis number .

In short~~~

I want to get LEGAL TITLE in the proper state approved manner !

This is not very easy to do however !

Edited by Silverghost (see edit history)
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This really should not be that difficult. From your description of the transaction, you should be able to get a notarized bill of sale from the executor of the estate. Have them include their executors certificate or Letters of Administration (I think that is what it is called). Then have them draw up an affadavit attesting to the fact that the car was owned by the deceased. They had to have included it in the listing of assets for the estate and paid taxes on it! Get that affadavit notarized and take it all to MD MVA and have them issue you a new title. Then you can simply transfer your legal title to PA.

I don't know ALL the ins and outs of MD MVA, but I have bought and sold quite a few cars in my day and I have been through the estate process in the recent past. It is all about getting MD MVA to recognize the validity of your bill of sale.

Also, if you want to go through the court system as Bryan suggests, maybe you can engage him and it won't cost you an arm and a leg?


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Guest Gary Hearn

I think I would go back to the original owner and have then attest to the fact that they have owned the car for 70-80-90 years. As such, there never would have been a title issued and that they are petitioning the state to provide one to you. Also, be sure to gather up whatever documentation the family has to bolster your case.

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  • 3 years later...
Guest 57oval ragtop

hi I just bought a car with no title and I'm very interested in how you went about exactly doing a lost title if it wouldn't be too much of a problem I would appreciate it if you could give me the rundown step by stepI like the barnes fine idea I just need to know how it works.

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If you already bought the car, this suggestion is too late, but when I was considering buying my Packard, I made the seller getting a replacement title a condition of the sale, and he agreed. I figured it would be a lot easier for him to get a replacement title than it would have been for me to get one.

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These are always such fascinating threads. Been there, done that. A few years ago I bought a 1914 T and a 1915T all in the same package. The Ts never had titles. The 1914 was off the road during WWI, long before Virginia became a title state in the later 20s. The 1915 was bought as a bare chassis and never registered or licensesd It was used in a warehouse as a "truck" to haul stuff around indoors.

The local DMV office wanted me to initiate a title search (process for locating lost title) but doing so was a paperwork nightmare requiring information I didnt' have, and autographs from dead people I couldn't get. I drove up to Richmond to the main DMV Headquarters, took my number, stood in line and eventually approached the clerk - who after looking at pictures of the car and listening to my tale, disappeared into the "inner sanctum" for a while and then returned, with the proper approvals for my new titles.

My thinking was that at the DMV Main Headquarters, there would be some higher-level folks capable of making a decision, and there would least be a higher level of expertise/knowledge than existed at the local office, where the window clerk was no brighter than the high-school kid working at McDonalds. (not to disparage highschool kids in their first job at Mc-D's).

It took a little while, but it illustrates that not every situation fits the norm, and there are people working within the DMV who realize that and have the horsepower to make decisions. You just have to reach them and that'll take a little pushing sometimes.

I'm sure we'd all love to see some pictures of the curved Dash Olds, so please post so we can all drool

Oh - my Model T went for many years being used in parades, etc using a set of plates bought in a swap meet some place. The Virginia Antique Vehicle tags that were on it when I bought it were registered to a 1938 Oldsmobile.


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Terry, how long ago did you do the Richmond DMV trick? I have a car that was pulled out of a barn in Mississippi (by my brother and me), have a scribbled bill of sale but to my knowledge the car never was titled.

Just wondering if it's worth spending a day going to Richmond.....it's only 3 or so hours from Winchester.....

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Didn't check the dates on this thread, but it's a topic that refuses to disappear regardless. I did my tap dance in Richmond quite a few years ago - probably 15 at least, and it was probably before a lot of stuff was ever computerized. In understand that older antique car registrations are still not in a data base, so there must still be a few "humans" left there. It'll take you a day to make the journey and try and get things done, but there at least you've got a bit less chance someone will just shrug their shoulders and say no.

Let us know how it turns out.


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Thanks, although it makes the expensive option (Maine Broadway title at $895 now) more attractive, when you figure the day and no guarantee......lot of money but my estate sale would be easier with a title!!

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