General Ignorance question

Discussion in 'Beginning RVing' started by marstrings, Jan 17, 2008.

  1. marstrings

    marstrings New Member

    Being from the UK, I am a bit in the dark about registering and titling a vehicle. (Even the terminology is not familiar).

    If you buy a second-hand vehicle, what do you have to do to satisfy the authorities. And what are these authorities' called?

    In England we have a Vehicle Registration Document which is used to show the 'Driver and Vehicle Licencing Agency' who owns the vehicle and who is the 'keeper' of the vehicle if different from the owner.

    In the US, you appear to have two things; registering and titling. And all those different States.

    Can anyone give me the lowdown on all this?

    Thanks,
    M.
     
  2. rjf7g

    rjf7g Senior Member

    Re: General Ignorance question

    This sort of thing varies somewhat by state and even locality. In Virginia, we deal with our state's Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Vehicles are titled - this is a document that shows ownership. When you have a loan on a vehicle, the bank has the title. When you pay it off, they send it to you. Titles are issued by DMV. Vehicles are also registered in Virginia. This makes them eligible for taxing (you declare a city or county) and licensing. Registration and license plates are available through DMV also. We also have to purchase "county stickers" in my county, but many Virginia counties are going away from this. Virginia's DMV web site is http://www.dmvnow.com/ if you want to find out what the fees are. Other states may be different...
     
  3. hertig

    hertig Senior Member

    Re: General Ignorance question

    yes, I suspect most states have a DMV. And all will show ownership via a title, and track it via registration (which needs to be renewed every year or two).

    Titleling will be the same from state to state, but registration varies widely. Some states charge a flat fee, others base the fee on the weight or size or value or number of axels or who knows what. Some charge additional taxes or fees. If you are a resident of a state, you have to put up with whatever they charge you. Not being a resident, you may be able to choose between states or at least the ones which don't raise a fuss that you are not an official resident.
     
  4. DL Rupper

    DL Rupper Senior Member

    Re: General Ignorance question

    Montana is a good State that doesn't charge sales tax. Might be hard to get to from where you are located.
     
  5. marstrings

    marstrings New Member

    Re: General Ignorance question

    I'm looking at a secondhand MH in Ohio at the moment. But when we first get out to the US, we will be staying in Massachusetts.

    My understanding of what you guys are saying is that I need to title the vehicle (show ownership) and I'd go to a DMV for this. I would also need to go to the DMV to register it, which would entail paying taxes and stuff. And I would get a set of plates from the DMV showing the State the vehicle is registered in and also some extra identification stickers.

    But being a non-US resident, things could be quite different I suppose.

    This is getting complicated!

    M.
     
  6. marstrings

    marstrings New Member

    Re: General Ignorance question

    I'm looking at a secondhand MH in Ohio at the moment. But when we first get out to the US, we will be staying in Massachusetts.

    My understanding of what you guys are saying is that I need to title the vehicle (show ownership) and I'd go to a DMV for this. I would also need to go to the DMV to register it, which would entail paying taxes and stuff. And I would get a set of plates from the DMV showing the State the vehicle is registered in and also some extra identification stickers.

    But being a non-US resident, things could be quite different I suppose.

    This is getting complicated!

    M.
     
  7. marstrings

    marstrings New Member

    Re: General Ignorance question

    I'm looking at a secondhand MH in Ohio at the moment. But when we first get out to the US, we will be staying in Massachusetts.

    My understanding of what you guys are saying is that I need to title the vehicle (show ownership) and I'd go to a DMV for this. I would also need to go to the DMV to register it, which would entail paying taxes and stuff. And I would get a set of plates from the DMV showing the State the vehicle is registered in and also some extra identification stickers.

    But being a non-US resident, things could be quite different I suppose.

    This is getting complicated!

    M.
     
  8. hertig

    hertig Senior Member

    Re: General Ignorance question

    Yes, complicated.

    If you buy the motorhome from a dealer, he will take care of the title as part of the sale. From a private party, you will probably have to go to the DMV to transfer the title which will be 'signed over to you' by the seller. This should be fairly easy and fairly inexpensive. I've never bought a vehicle in a state I was not a resident in, so don't know what, if any difficulties would be involved in titling it in a diffent state than it is registered in.

    When you buy it from a dealer, you will probably have to pay the sales tax of that location as part of the purchase price. There may be some cases where you can avoid this, but I don't know what they are, and you will probably get taxed by somebody. From a private party, you may need to pay some tax when you register it. Varies from state to state.

    In order to be on the road, it must be 'registered', ie have valid licence plates. Where you register it is critical; in my case a yearly charge of $3000 in Arizona or $80 in Illinois. You generally 'have' to register it in the state you are a resident of OR where the vehicle spends most of its time; I don't know for sure, but I suspect that as a non-resident, you could register it more or less 'where you want' to get the most advantageous terms.

    I can't say for sure, but my experiances with Massachusetts leads me to think that they may not have the most advantageous terms... Still, it may be worth trading higher costs for more conveniance if Massachusetts works for you in everything else.

    Don't forget, you will need to have insurance too.
     
  9. Kirk

    Kirk Senior Member

    Re: General Ignorance question

    The first thing that you will have to get to be able to register an RV and to insure it is an US address. You will then need to register that RV in the state where your address is. You do not need to buy in the state that you will be registering the vehicle in.

    The laws do vary from one state to the next when it comes to what the cost and procedures are, but the documentation is the same. Step one is the address where you reside in the USA.

    I will once again suggest that you visit the Escapees website as you can get help there. Not all mail services will serve a non-US citizen.
     
  10. marstrings

    marstrings New Member

    Re: General Ignorance question

    H Kirk.

    Thanks for reminding me about Escapees. Amid all the other stuff I'm finding out about, I had forgotten. I'm downloading their full information pack as I type tis.

    M.
     

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