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how to get the ownership of a motorcycle with no ownership

How To Get A Motorcycle Title & Make Sure The Bike Isn’t Stolen

This week I picked up a used Suzuki Boulevard S40 for pennies on the dollar because it didn’t have an ownership, so the guy I bought it from thought he couldn’t register it, and left it sitting for years. I’m here to tell you exactly how to get the title for a motorcycle with no title, and before we even do that, how to first make sure that the motorcycle isn’t stolen.

This post will be an abbreviated version of my very detailed How To Get The Ownership of a Motorcycle With No Ownership article I wrote back in February 2020. I’ve never made a video on this topic though, and since I just got a motorcycle with no ownership, what better time to revisit the topic?

This will be a quick revisit of that topic, but if you want full details I strongly recommend checking out the original article.

watch this video

Watch this video!Cover image compliments of Mondo Lulu

What are the pros and cons of buying a motorcycle with no ownership?

There are pros and cons to buying a motorcycle with no ownership

Pros:

  • You can get motorcycles with no ownership for dirt cheap
  • Some people will even pay you to take the motorcycles away for them
  • You can have them transferred into your name once you do some work
  • You can get a pre-made affidavit package that makes it easy
  • A notary public only costs about $10

Cons:

  • The motorcycle could be stolen
  • The laws vary by where you’re located but can include 10 years of jail time
  • If the motorcycle is stolen, and you knowingly or unknowingly sell it to someone, you could get up to 14 years of jail time
  • You may have other issues (mechanical, registration, etc.) to deal with

How to tell if a motorcycle is stolen

For anyone in North America, I strongly recommend you check the motorcycle’s Vehicle Information Number (VIN) in both the United States and in Canada to see if it has been reported stolen in either country.

Where can I find a motorcycle’s VIN?

A motorcycle’s VIN will always be stamped on the frame on the steering neck column (between the front forks).

  • NOTE: This is a bit like the serial number for a gun. You should look it up to see if it was ever reported stolen. If for any reason the numbers have been filed off, it was probably stolen and you should stay away.

How do I get the ownership for a motorcycle I own?

To get the ownership for a motorcycle you already own, just go to your local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) in the United States, or Ministry of Transportation (MOT) in Canada.

  • You’ll need to bring a driver’s license and you may be asked for another piece of photo ID as well depending on where you live.

How do I get the title for a motorcycle I’m buying?

If the seller has simply lost the ownership you’ll have to ask them to go with you to the DMV or MOT to complete the transaction.

  • If they aren’t willing to go with you, take that as a red flag and find another motorcycle.

What can I do to get the ownership if the seller won’t help me?

Essentially you’ll have to create an affidavit, gather some evidence, put together a package, have the package notarized, and take it with you to the DMV or MOT.

What if I want to create my own affidavit?

You don’t have to use my ownership affidavit package, you can definitely go ahead and make yours yourself or hire a lawyer to make yours.

  • When I bought my first motorcycle with no ownership I was working at an office that had in-house lawyers, so one of them was willing to help me with this, saving me a ton of money
  • If you want to save both the cost of a lawyer and the price of a cup of coffee to buy my Motorcycle Ownership Affidavit Package, you can find a full list of what needs to be in your affidavit here

What do I need to include as evidence?

Every statement you make needs to be accompanied by some sort of evidence to back up that statement.

  • Example: In my affidavit I explained that the seller was not able to provide the original ownership for the motorcycle as he lost it during his move, and as evidence of that I included a screen shot of an email where he explained this to me.
  • Again, all of my evidence can be found in my Affidavit Package.

How do I get my affidavit package notarized?

Whether your make your own affidavit or just used my pre-made package, you’ll still need to get your affidavit package notarized. The basic steps are:

  • Visit a notary
  • Prove your identity
  • Sign the document
  • Have the notary stamp the document
  • Pay any applicable fees
  • Note: Some notaries may wish to SEE the motorcycle, so you may want to call ahead and see if you need to have it towed to them.

New series announcement!

I’ll be doing an entire series on getting this Suzuki Boulevard S40 motorcycle that I bought with no ownership back in tip top shape, including getting the ownership for it, getting missing parts for it, and getting it running and safe again.

5 Steps to getting a motorcycle ownership

Essentially there are five steps to follow to get the title to a motorcycle without assistance from a seller. Again, my article How To Get The Ownership of a Motorcycle With No Ownership goes over this in detail, but here is the synopsis:

  1. Create your affidavit (or use my pre-made Motorcycle Ownership Affidavit Package for about $3)
  2. Complete your affidavit with evidence
  3. Get your affidavit notarized
  4. Show your affidavit package at the DMV or MOT and they will issue you a new ownership
  5. Pay for vehicle taxes and other fees as you would for any other vehicle purchase

What’s next?

I’d strongly recommend reading my full How To Get The Ownership of a Motorcycle With No Ownership article. It will give you a lot more detail and insight that you’ll find helpful if this is your first time being a vehicle with no ownership.

After that, you should consider buying my Motorcycle Ownership Affidavit Package. It costs about as much as it would for you to buy me a cup of coffee, and it will save you a ton of time and effort, or money spent on having a lawyer draw up a legal document for you.

As for me, I’ve ordered a new battery for this motorcycle. In my next video I’ll show you how to add acid to a new motorcycle battery, remove an old battery, and install a new one. Then we’ll see what kind of shape this motorcycle I bought is really in. Stay tuned!

About YouMotorcycle

YouMotorcycle is a lifestyle motorcycle blog to be appreciated by those who see motorcycling as a lifestyle and not simply a hobby, sport, or method of transportation. Most of the posts on the site are written by past and present motorcycle industry staff. We remain fiercely independent, innovative, and unconventional. Our goal is to encourage more people to enjoy the world's greatest outdoor sport by helping new riders get started and inspiring current riders to get out more. We motorcycle, do You?

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