Just like a car or van, ownership of a camper or RV is proven through the use of a title. When you buy your camper from a dealership, you can expect to get the title once you’ve completed the sale and paid it off. However, if you buy the camper from a private seller or a dealership that is on the shady side, you might run into a situation where the seller does not have the title and attempts to sell you the camper anyway.
Why You Need Your Title
You might wonder if this is a problem. After all, if you have the camper in your possession then why does the title matter? However, in order to be recognized as the legal owner of the camper, a title is required for proof of ownership. Without that title, it will be impossible to register your camper or pay the necessary taxes in most states. This can lead to a situation where you end up owing more and more money in fines if you are found out.
In addition, not having a title can lead to other issues. For example, a title is one way to prove that the camper in question is not actually owned by someone else. You could buy a camper without a title, only to discover later on that it was actually stolen. If this happens, you may find you don’t own the camper at all.
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Another issue that comes from not having a title is that it can be much harder to sell the camper down the line if you choose to do so. Many sellers know the problems that come with not having a title, and will choose to look elsewhere.
How to Get a Title for a Camper Without a Title
Thankfully, if you have a camper but you don’t have the title, there are steps you can take to get a new one. In most states and situations, it’s simply a matter of supplying the right paperwork. That paperwork will most likely include the following:
Title application. This is just the paper that gets the ball rolling. It will ask for a lot of specific information, which in some cases might take some time to get to. Be thorough, and be as accurate as possible.
Bill of Sale. Bills of sale are pretty straightforward documents, and the specific requirements of what information goes on the bill of sale changes from state to state, but in short, this document is necessary to prove that you bought the camper legally and in good faith.
A typical bill of sale will contain information about the camper, when it was made, how much you paid for it, buyer and seller information, and other data that shows who sold the camper and who bought it.
DOT or Certificate of inspection. Some states require vehicle inspections to show that the camper is in good condition and able to be taken safely on the road. If your state requires this, then your inspection certificate must be included in the paperwork.
Proof That There Is No Lien. One of the biggest dangers of buying a camper without a title is that you can’t legally prove you own it and that no one else has a claim to it. When you submit your application, you have to also submit proof that the DMV has checked the camper’s VIN against any known liens. If the VIN comes back clear, then it’s a good sign that no one else can lay a claim on your camper.
Your Driver’s License. The final document needed is a copy of your driver’s license.
Is Buying an RV Without a Title a Good Idea?
If you have found a camper for sale with a questionable title status, you might be wondering if you should go ahead with the sale. As you can see, it is possible to buy a camper that has no clear title and still come out ahead. However, is that a good idea?
In short, the best answer is no. Although you can go through the steps outlined above and still get the title, there are too many possible legal issues that could arise. Because of these issues, buying a camper without a title is a risk you should not undertake if you have another option.
It would be terrible to spend money on a camper, only to find that the sale was invalid because someone else had a legal claim to it. Without that title, you can never truly be sure.
As you can see, buying a camper without a title is problematic. Still, if you find yourself in this situation, you aren’t without options. By submitting the correct documentation, you can use the DMV to get the title, so you can enjoy your new camper legally and safely.