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gruberv8

Title companies

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I have a 46 willys jeep I bought with bill of sale only. Title was lost years ago. After working with my notary, I've finding out that getting a title for it in PA is a PITA, requiring inspection etc as it would now be a reconstructed vehicle. I've been told that there are companies like broadway title who will get me a title from a state with less red tape. They want like $800 for this service, which is shocking to say the least. Do any of you guys have any recomendations of some other company I could use who might be more reseasonable?

I don't understand why PA is so strict on something like this, considering the just changed the rules to allow year of manufacture plates for antique cars and you no longer need to submit pictures. What's someone to do when they are doing a restoration?

Any help would be appreciated.

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Back in 1984 I had to do the same thing to title my Model A. I was able to purchase a clear title and bill of sale through a man in New York who advertised in Hemmings. The title cost me $75.00 at that time. Then I had to go to a notary and get some registration papers,get an authorized inspection mechanic to verify the vehicle numbers(which had to be restamped to match the title numbers) ,then I could apply for title. Even the state police could not give me an alternative. It wasn't a real ordeal as no one really knew anything about the car or could care less about the matching numbers so everything went smoothly. Soon afterward i got my title and then could get the registration! Getting the antique plates was alot more trouble! If you buy a title, make sure the the seller is legit and the title is clear! It shouldn't cost any where near $800. Unless these guys think you're in a bind and are trying to take you! Also make sure any bill of sale or transfer is dated at least 6 mos. prior to your getting a title or you'll have to pay PA state sales tax again!

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Pennsylvania's stance is that unless a title was transferred you didn't actually buy the vehicle. You may have possession and money may have changed hands but without that title you don't own the car so they can't issue you a title. Crazy but that's how they see it.

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Every state should adapt Rhode Island's rules.............NO TITLE AFTER 10 YEARS...........

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Every state should adapt Rhode Island's rules.............NO TITLE AFTER 10 YEARS...........

So why not register it in Rhode Island? You don't need to live in the state that it's registered in.

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Many years ago I had to purchase a bond that protected me from any previous owner coming forward to claim my "bill of sale" purchase. The bond was for three years and I could not start a restoration until the three year period had expired. This policy has changed now, and I believe that a fee plus a statement from the seller are all that is required. It definately pays to have a title (with correct numbers) and any past history in your documents. The title alone can be worth quite a few dollars when you go to sell it.

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So why not register it in Rhode Island? You don't need to live in the state that it's registered in.

You need a RI address like any other state.

When I moved to Florida in '94, all they asked to see was a previous registration from RI when I registered my '62 Buick there even though Florida is a titled state.

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You need a RI address like any other state.

That may or may not be so; I'd ask RI DMV. When I moved to New Jersey from NY, I had paperwork issues when applying for a NJ title on one of my collector cars (the old NY registration from the previous owner had the engine number, and I wanted to title the car with the VIN). The solution, as suggested by NJ DMV, was to register the car with the VIN in New York, and then get a NJ title. I went to New York and they issued a NY registration to me at my NJ home address, no questions asked. Another time, a friend had a car that he lost garage space for, so he registered it by mail in Vermont (to his New York address) because Vermont didn't have a mandatory insurance law at the time, and with a valid plate he could park on the street. Again, there were no questions asked.

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You can not register a vehicle in PA unless you have a PA residence. We recently tried to do just that.

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Alabama is a favorite. They only title cars built after 1974, and there are companies that will register it there and send you a bill of sale, which is adequate to get a title in your home state.

Frank in Austin

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Have you checked Broadway Title Company's (in Alabama) prices lately, before you go recommending that Alabama outfit? How about $895 per car. Used to be $200 a few years ago.

No thanks to that.

Pete Phillips

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All the of New York state cars I have owned that were registered to the engine number I have changed to the VIN numbers. I register them first to the paperwork I received. Later I return to have them corrected if needed. These are cars that have VINs in addition to engine number (not T Fords) I have all the documentation with me, including a pencil rub of the VIN. I have been thanked and told they were happy to do it so the correct info was on record. I think there was a token charge, maybe they really want the money. --Bob

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You don't need a title company when you can do it yourself. All you need to do is this http://www.dmv.state.pa.us/pdotforms/fact_sheets/fs-intr.pdf

Works if you are willing to spend $2000 or more. The advertising costs alone might approach $2000. If you doubt me check out the rates for Legal Advertisements in your local paper. I doubt you could do this without an attorney in any case.

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This kinda thing happens alot,especially if you've pulled an old vehicle from an old junk yard or barn and the paperwork was lost long ago. As it was explained to me ,you cannot apply for a title in Pa unless you have a good title in hand . You cannot apply to the state and hope to get a transfer or copy,that's why you have to obtain a clear title(if you have none) from a title dealer before you can register.This means getting a clear valid title for a vehicle like yours (same year,make,model) which is the hardest part,but then your numbers won't match, so you'll have to change all the numbers. Hopefully,like in my case, the inspecting mechanic or state trooper will not see any problem in the transfer of numbers.(Don't ask,don't tell!,they probably won't know which numbers are correct,they just really want to see if the vehicle matches the description and that there is no funny business going on!)) Seems to work better on pre war cars where actual numbers are hidden and harder to trace! Sounds kinda shady but with 60-70yr.old vehicles it's not likely they will turn up on some stolen list especially if they've been out of the system a long time.Unfortunately,it may be the only way to register your car in PA. Good Luck!

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Works if you are willing to spend $2000 or more. The advertising costs alone might approach $2000. If you doubt me check out the rates for Legal Advertisements in your local paper. I doubt you could do this without an attorney in any case.

In my area, county legal journal ads are $65, and the local paper totals about $40. You can consult with an attorney if you wish, all they will do is verify that you followed the guidelines. The court proceeding can be done with your local judge, which in my area will happen in his office. It works very well if you take the time to do it.

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You've done this before? What is a "local judge" and how do you get into his office? We have occassionally tried to get titles for cars in PA and it has never worked that way for us. Where are you located in PA and which judge did you use? Maybe we'll try your method again.

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For what it's worth, New Jersey has a similar 'three newspaper ad' system for getting a title. It is used frequently by towing companies and repair shops to secure a title for a vehicle that wasn't claimed by its owner. Private parties can also obtain a title this way for a vehicle abandoned on their property. I've never done this myself, but I've spoken to several people who have. They've told me that it's a fairly straightforward process.

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You've done this before? What is a "local judge" and how do you get into his office? We have occassionally tried to get titles for cars in PA and it has never worked that way for us. Where are you located in PA and which judge did you use? Maybe we'll try your method again.

Sorry I should have said Magisterial District Judge to aid others in their search. The magistrate that I used before is no longer in office(retired), I will soon find out how my new magistrate is. For those citizens of PA that don't know who their local magistrate is, look here: Magisterial District Judge Search

Or due to the time of year, just look along the roads near your home to see if there is a judge up for re-election.

If you can, I would look for one in a smaller town, they probably have a more open schedule. And in my limited experience, the clerk(s) are more eager to help and answer questions.

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In PA, would the "Involuntary Transfer of Ownership" method via magistrate work with a car that has never had a title? I have such a vehicle, of 1906 vintage.

Phil

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I'm not sure if a "mechanic's lien" method to obtain a title from the state might work in all cases. There is quite a bit of paperwork and searches which usually need to be done before such a title can be issued to "the lien holder". In these cases, the "lien holder" would be a repair shop where the customer never came to reclaim the vehicle after repairs (with a time criteria involved, plus attempted notifications) or a tow-in company where the damaged vehicle had been "in storage" for a particular length of time (with similar attempted notification criteria).

I suspect, without knowing how they actually do things, that the title company would become the vehicle owner's agent, with a local address for the state they're in, so a title could be obtained for a resident at a particular local address. When that process has taken place, then the owner can receive the title and transfer it into their name in their home state. BUT, knowing "the agent" is the tricky part, to me! Unless there is some sort of contract involved, they could abscond with your paperwork, title the vehicle,and then claim it for their own, possibly.

Back to one of the original poster's comments . . . I wonder why the particular Jeep would have to have a "reconstructed" title? I would suspect that would be for "rollin' totals" which have been rebuilt and re-sold.

LOTS of sticky details, in many cases!

Just some thougths,

NTX5467

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Probably things are more complicated, but can they give you the listed owner of the car and have the person or someone who would have inherited ownership apply for a lost title?

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Strangely in PA "Mechanics Liens" do not apply to automotive repair shops. If a customer fails to pay a bill your only recourse in PA is to file charges with a District Justice who will hold a hearing and award you a judgement in the amount due plus costs. The customer can then enter into an agreement to pay the outstanding bill via monthly payments. You just can't take ownership of their car despite what folks think nor can you charge an inflated "storage" charge. You cannot in fact even "impound" their car for non payment unless you have a signed contract with the customer whereby they agree to this. In PA a car is not considered abandoned if the car is left at a repair facility with unpaid bills. Only a licensed towing company can have a car declared abandoned and dispose of it.

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Probably things are more complicated, but can they give you the listed owner of the car and have the person or someone who would have inherited ownership apply for a lost title?

"Lost Titles" are quite a different situation. Just some paperwork, I suspect (from my experiences in TX, as a resident), pay a fee, and they mail the title to the applicant.

The problem with title searches is that they can be inconclusive, sometimes. I believe that in many states, they have a limit as to how long they keep titles on file, OR have them relatively-easily accessible. But, one of our BCA chapter members purchased a '38 Self-Shifter and followed the titles' trail all the way to the reasonably-local selling dealer's name. BUT, he had a current title to trace from.

Having the heir to the vehicle's ownwership apply for a lost title might have it's own perils. First, would be getting them to go along with it. Second might be that they'd have to find the Will and Last Testament which made them the beneficiary of the vehicle (and all that might involve). Third, it might ignite the "I'm going to restore that car" orientation, which, as the "last owner of record", they might desire to do. If the present owner never transferred the vehicle's title into their own name, for whatever reason, then the vehicle is not really "theirs" unless they can produce paperwork which is legal and would indicate otherwise. If the vehicle changed hands several times, it only complicates things. Yet, it's that paper trail of titles that makes the state dmvs confident that the vehicle is not stolen.

Just some thoughts,

NTX5467

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On an earlier post I mentioned he need to change numbers when using a purchased title. I must say that number tampering is illegal and may carry serious charges, Best to discuss the situation with the state police and your notary before any changing is attemped. At the time that I did it, no one had a problem because of the age of the vehicle and no records existed for the vehicle in question. Best to check first!

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