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Old 06-15-2016, 09:14 PM   #1
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No title Airstream purchase in Florida

I'm new to the forum and might soon be a new (to me) Airstream owner. I'm looking at maybe buying a 1999 28' Excella that has some cosmetic damage, was previously auctioned as a salvage, and has no title. The price is very right. My only worry is trying to find information about getting it titled at some point in Florida. For the next couple of years it will just sit in my back yard but I eventually want to be able to title it, put plates on it, and drag it around the country. I've looked all over online to find out if I'd be able to do this but can't really get any good info. Anybody here have any idea? I'm not worried about ever getting full insurance coverage. What do you guys think? Thanks ahead of time for any advice.
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Old 06-15-2016, 09:36 PM   #2
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Visit the Florida DMV. Answer is right on this page. Seller must get a duplicate title so it can be signed over to buyer.

http://www.dmv.org/fl-florida/buy-se...egulations.php

[edit. noticed that is NOT the state dmv, but I think the information is good]
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Old 06-15-2016, 09:37 PM   #3
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This is a question best asked at a local Florida Department of Motor Vehicles. Too, if you're a AAA member, check and see if they can cut the red tape and handle the actual registration. Even though you are not going to use it right away, do yourself a favor and handle the paper work ASAP in the event you decide to sell it.
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Old 06-15-2016, 10:29 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdham137 View Post
I'm new to the forum and might soon be a new (to me) Airstream owner. I'm looking at maybe buying a 1999 28' Excella that has some cosmetic damage, was previously auctioned as a salvage, and has no title. The price is very right. My only worry is trying to find information about getting it titled at some point in Florida. For the next couple of years it will just sit in my back yard but I eventually want to be able to title it, put plates on it, and drag it around the country. I've looked all over online to find out if I'd be able to do this but can't really get any good info. Anybody here have any idea? I'm not worried about ever getting full insurance coverage. What do you guys think? Thanks ahead of time for any advice.
"Cosmetic damage" - Are you SURE about that? Trailers get sold as "salvage" when the cost of repairs exceeds the replacement cost of a like unit. If the damage occurred recently that could easily happen. The 1999 unit is now 18 years old (since the 2017's came out). As such it might have a "in good condition value of less than $15K. If an entire end cap needed to be replaced - or an entire side panel - you'd be pushing that limit.

However if the damage occurred while the unit was nearly new - it would have had to take more than $40K to repair it. So the cost of bringing it to "new" now would be much higher. However IF you are willing to live with a camper that shows it's wear and tear - pushing the dents in place to minimize them but living with the "patina" - then you MIGHT get a decent deal.

BUT once a salvage title - always a "repaired salvage title" and resale value is forever greatly reduced. Plus it's sat in FLORIDA - almost as wet a state as coastal Virginia. If it hasn't been under cover you need to look at the frame and the floor with "due diligence" (aka: like a proctologist, checking everything closely no matter how much discomfort it causes the current owner!) And if the current owner says NO walk away.

If you're going to have to let it sit for 2-3 years before you start work on it, that's time for more decay to set in. I'm not saying "NO" - I'm just saying it's real easy to get all hot and bothered over a tempting deal - but if you're that interested you'll probably be happier with a newer one that you can USE this season.

Best wishes whichever way you go. Paula
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Old 06-16-2016, 12:05 PM   #5
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Yeah, I saw that but wasn't sure if there was a way to get a title and can't get a firm answer from the local tax office.

The damage is relatively minor. There are two damaged panels, one a more expensive corner panel, and a broken window. Other than that, everything inside works and there's no leaks. I also found out today that it was sold by an auto auction company with no title, not a salvage title. Thanks for your extensive advice on this.

John
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Old 06-16-2016, 12:11 PM   #6
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Here in Arizona there are folks who specialize in re-establishing title. They probably exist in Florida as well. The estimate I got was about $200 to generate a clear title. It does take some time, however, as they have to do some research to verify that it is not stolen.
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Old 06-16-2016, 12:39 PM   #7
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I have an old Airstream that we never took any where after purchasing it and then our house burned down. No papers.
Anyway, I also had an old kit car( in like new condition). It had a pre 1972 triumph engine etc. Florida didn't update all registrations into their computer system. When I finally found old tags ad was requested as well as a vin plate, they still couldn't help. But said we would have to go before a judge to get a title
This was during the recession, so I let it go cheap after my husband's death. The buyer said he'd just get something online in Alabama. Three years later and I've found the titles.
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Old 06-16-2016, 03:19 PM   #8
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save that $200 and do it yourself... same thing with us, older pop-top trailer (B4 our AS) DMV wanted to look at it, write down the VIN, do a check and when it came back clear they gave us a title.
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Old 06-16-2016, 03:24 PM   #9
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Run from the trailer and find one with a title. If you don't have a title, you can't get a tag in Florida and you don't own it.
Good luck,
Joe
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Old 06-16-2016, 05:18 PM   #10
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I can't speak about Florida, but in Ohio it's illegal to sell a vehicle without a title. We have something called a "Salvage Title" which lets the buyer be aware that the vehicle has been wrecked at some point in it's life...but it's still a LEGAL title that has to be properly transferred at the title agency. A "bill of sale" is NOT legal here.

I actually checked at my local BMV because I had such an "opportunity".

The BMV lady told me they get this fairly often and the vehicles being sold this way are sometimes stolen. The Sherriff comes out and impounds the vehicle and you are out the $$$ because the seller disappears.

Be very careful...
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