How To Buy Or Sell A Rialta

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How To Buy A Rialta

You can try and look in the classified ads of your local newspaper, but the chances of finding a Rialta there are very slim.  You can check around with neighbors and even friends of neighbors.  You can check the Yahoo Rialta message boards but your best means of locating one is to use RVTrader.com or RVOnline.com.  They both allow several pictures to be included with the ad so you can get a good idea of what the vehicle looks like.  You can even limit your searches to a specific state if desired.  Use caution because there are a lot of fake advertisements out there!

Once you find a vehicle of interest, it is best to phone or email the owner and ask some more specific questions.  If you are still interested, then arrange for a trip to inspect the vehicle.  Make sure you take the vehicle for a test drive and if the "Check Engine" light is on, you'd be wise to not express any further interest until the owner gets the problem fixed.  Use the "New Vehicle Checklist" as a guide for inspecting all the systems of the motorhome.

If you decide that you want to purchase the vehicle, here comes the most important part that will protect you financially and save you from a lot of potential grief.  First, be prepared to give the seller a deposit of not more than $500.  At this point, this deposit should be all cash as it eliminates any waiting period for checks to clear which causes the seller to get uncomfortable while he holds the vehicle.  An alternative method is to complete the entire deal in one trip by using a wire transfer as detailed in the paragraph below.  This may take up to one extra day but eliminates the need for a second trip.

Some questions have arisen about whether a deposit should be "refundable" just in case the buyer changes his mind.  In my opinion, the deposit should be "non-refundable" because during the time period in which the seller is holding the vehicle waiting for the buyer to show up with full payment, he most likely will get other inquiries about the vehicle.  I suggest informing those people that there is a sale pending but get there names and phone numbers just in case the deal falls through.

If you placed a deposit and need to make arrangements for coming up with the final payment, you will probably be making a second trip back in not more than one week's time.  If you are driving back, then its a good idea to bring a second person so that the two of you can drive both vehicles back.

How the final installment is made is entirely up to the buyer and the seller.  The best and most secure method for both parties is to use cash.  Even if you have to take a somewhat extended trip to get the vehicle, traveling with $30,000 cash is not out of the question.  The seller appreciates getting cash because he gets the funds immediately in his hands and can release the vehicle once that is accomplished.  You advantage as the buyer is that once you hand the cash to the seller, you get to drive the vehicle away immediately.

If the two of you agree to use a check for final payment which could be either a personal check or a cashier's check, then please note that either instrument take 3-5 business days to clear.  You should be aware that even a cashier's check is not really a secure instrument as they are commonly counterfeited and the seller may or should insist upon waiting for any type of check to fully clear the issuing bank.  Until that time and not until the money is posted to the seller's account, do not plan on getting the vehicle released so that you can be driving the vehicle home.

Somewhat of a trade-off between cash and using a check is the function of using a wire transfer.  This is actually a digital transfer of funds from one bank account to another bank account and since it is paperless, there is little or no risk of counterfeit or fraud.  However, only in the movies does it happen instantaneously and in the real world can take up to 1-2 days for the funds to be posted to the seller's account.  Once posted to the seller's account, the transaction is irreversible and the seller can then release the vehicle without fear of anything going bad.  If you are making your second trip back to pick up the vehicle, it might be a good idea to initiate the wire transfer the day before you leave.  But starting the wire transfer a day ahead of time is not really a comfortable thing for the buyer to do because he hasn't seen the vehicle in several days so the buyer may wish to wait until he actually sees the vehicle again.  It is possible for a wire transfer that is initiated early in the morning to post later that afternoon so the deal can be completed all in one day.  Just don't try doing it on a Friday because it may be not until Monday when the funds get posted.  Some banks such as Wells Fargo have a poor attitude of while showing a wire transfer received and noted as "pending", they won't post the funds to the recipient's account until the bookkeeping is processed later the next night which means the funds are not posted until the next day.  Legally, the funds can be reversed by the issuer at any time until the funds are posted.  Why Wells Fargo and a few others insist on putting this off until the next day is beyond me but for a period of 12-18 hours or more, they are holding all the funds and not paying anybody interest.  Its an interesting concept and apparently they are getting away with it.

If the buyer is getting the purchase financed through either a bank or loan company, then those arrangements will take a few days to get finalized.  The bank or finance company will most likely issue a bank draft for the final payment but once again, from the seller's viewpoint, he will need to deposit that draft into his account and wait for the funds to be released.  You may wish to request your lender to issue a wire transfer instead of a draft which will speed up the process of getting the funds cleared. See "Forms of Payment" below.

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How To Sell A Rialta

You may consider using the local newspaper for a classified ad but the chances of finding a local buyer for a Rialta are slim but not impossible.  If you live in a large metropolitan area, then your chances increase all depending upon the circulation and the tendency of the people to use the classified for vehicle purchases.

Some people have tried using the "consignment" method under which your vehicle is placed on a dealer's lot for sale and they get either a percentage of the sales or a pre-arrangement amount.  Unless you are in a position where you can not devote any time whatsoever to selling the vehicle, you should avoid this arrangement.  The dealer has no real incentive to maximize the sales and has no exposure to any loss whatsoever.  You may also find yourself paying for a bunch of fees such as cleanup, advertising, daily lot rental or space rental, salesman fee, administrative, or title and legal fees.

A common meeting ground for both the buyer and seller is either RVTrader.com or RVOnline.com.  They both allow several pictures to be included with the ad so you can show off the good points of your vehicle.  They take care of all the resizing of any the photos and other technical stuff.  You get to add a paragraph or so describing your vehicle so those sites are really the most informative and descriptive.

Other things you as the seller need to do include making sure the vehicle is clean from top to bottom, inside and out, and that the "Check Engine Light" is not illuminated.  Empty all holding tanks and deodorize them.  Put about 3-4 gallons of fresh water in the tank just enough to demonstrate the faucets and toilet work.  Make sure your insurance is in full effect and as soon as you sell the vehicle you can then cancel the coverage.

One pitfall about placing any ad in either a newspaper or via an on-line source is that you will most assuredly get a call from a dealer asking to buy your vehicle.  They tend to wave a check in front of your eyes promising you immediate cash but don't be fooled by this tactic.  Dealers buy at wholesale and sell at retail.  They will only give you a wholesale price and hopefully you're trying to get the highest price you can so avoid this pitfall unless you are so desperate that you need the money right away.

Even if you accept a deposit or promise from somebody wanting to buy the vehicle, do not cancel any ads until the final sales transaction has occurred.  During the time in which you are holding the vehicle with a deposit, any new inquiries should be told that a sale is pending but try to get their names and phone numbers or email addresses in case the sale falls through.  You can actually create a "waiting list" if you wish and inform the inquirer that they would be in "first position" should the sale fall through.

Whenever discussing the sales price with a potential buyer, you need to be very specific about any deposit requirements and exactly what form of payment you will accept.  See "Forms of Payment" below.  When you accept a deposit to hold the money, let the buy know exactly how long you will hold the vehicle and if the deposit is refundable.  Once the buyer presents you with full and final payment, there are several things you need to do.  First is the paperwork: every state is different as to how you sign over the title to the vehicle.  Some states require you to fill out a separate form which merely informs them of the new owners name and address and also releases you from any liability for future parking tickets, etc.  Some states may also require a written "Bill of Sale" which is merely a piece of paper with the names of the buyer and seller, the vehicle description, the V.I.N of the vehicle, and in some instances the selling price (which helps determine sales tax to be paid by the buyer).

The next question is if you have a clear title without any liens such as a balance still owned to a finance company or bank.  If you have a lien, call up the lien holder and inform them that you are in the process of selling the vehicle and what steps need to be taken to remove the lien.  Of course, they will want their "pay-off amount" of the loan but you need to find out procedurally what needs to be done so that you don't end up making a potential buyer wait needlessly for extra days of delay.  Here is a typical California vehicle title ("pink slip") showing blacked-out signature boxes for the buyer and seller.  It also shows a previous lien by a lender but the lien was signed off, in this case over 5 years ago.  Please note that the form of these titles vary greatly from state to state and change over the years.

When it comes down to the actual day of transfer, here is where a lot of people get a quick lesson about cashier's checks.  Let's assume your checking account is with the same bank which has an outstanding loan on your Rialta.  You and the new buyer may both walk into your bank, deposit the cashier's check, and you think you can then write a check (or transfer funds) to pay off the balance of your loan so that you can hand the buyer the title to the vehicle.  However, you will get a rude awakening when your beloved bank informs you that it will take 3-5 days for the cashier's check to clear and until that time, you can not touch any of the funds.  In other words, they will continue to hold the vehicle title for another 3-5 days and your new buyer may not be happy with the wait.  Its partly his problem for bring a cashier's check in the first place and not handling the transaction with either cash or via a wire transfer.

Even if you already hold a clear title to the vehicle, it is in what form the final payment is actually presented to you that determines when you physically give the keys and title to the new owner.  If the new owner presents you with a personal check, bank draft, money order, certified check, or even a cashier's check, you should not hand over the keys just yet.  The premise is simple: when you get the money in your hands (or account) is when he gets the keys in his hand.  All forms of checks are merely promises to pay and not really the cash funds, and this includes cashier's checks.  When you take any paper form of this payment, your bank will gladly deposit it for you to your account but then they will also tell you that the funds will be held for 3-5 days until the check is cleared by the issuing institution.  This makes sure the check doesn't come back marked as counterfeit or fraudulent.  If it does, you will find a big reversing transaction on your account wiping out the entire amount of the deposit.  And if you already gave the keys to the new owner, you may be out of luck, especially if you had an outstanding lien that you'll have to continue to pay for even though you may no longer have the vehicle.  There is no way around this waiting period for paper checks.  No bank will risk losing $30,000 or more regardless of how long you've had an account, how well you know the manager, or how much money you already have in the account.

An alternative method of accepting payment without the lengthy waiting period is via a wire transfer.  You can instruct your buyer that this is the only method of payment that you will accept.  You simply give him your bank's wire transfer account number, the name and address of bank along with your account number and the funds actually transfer in a matter of hours, depending upon the practices of both banks involved.  Funds are usually transferred in the same day but even this method is not without problems.  Many things can go wrong which can hold up the posting of funds to your account and this can end up taking 1-2 days for domestic transfers and 2-3 days for International transfers in a worst case scenario.  Most banks will charge you a nominal incoming wire transfer fee of about $10 but it is well worth the cost.

ONLY WHEN THE FUNDS ARE IN YOUR POSSESSION IS WHEN YOU SHOULD RELEASE THE TITLE AND THE KEYS TO THE VEHICLE TO THE BUYER.

Most states require some sort of "Bill of Sale" when selling a motor vehicle.  This can nothing more than a simple piece of paper that is handwritten and gives a brief summary of the transaction including the date of sale or transfer, the names and address of the buyer and seller, the chassis V.I.N, the odometer mileage, and the purchase price.  In some states where the license plates stay with the vehicle and not the owner, the Bill of Sale should reflect the current license plate number on the vehicle.  The purchase price being reported on the Bill of Sale may be used in some states to levy a sales tax on the new owner when he applies for a new title and plates.  Many people have made out two sets of Bills of Sale; one reflecting the true purchase price and another one reporting a much lower sales price so the new buyer can reap a substantial savings when reregistering the vehicle.  Let your conscious be your guide.  You can OPEN this sample Bill of Sale (Microsoft Word Doc) as a guide in preparing your own.

Finally, let me add this.  I know there are a lot of people who are going to say that they've sold vehicles and went right down to the bank with the buyer where the cashier's check was "verified" and deposited, shook hands with the buyer, handed him the keys,  and that they've never had a problem.  Well, folks, you've been living a charmed life because sooner or later something bad is going to happen with such a trusting transaction.  The whole purpose of this web page is to inform and protect both the buyer and seller so that each get to enjoy their new asset.  Whether you choose to heed any of this advice is up to you.

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How To Handle The Financial Transaction

So just how does somebody carry around $30,000 or more in cash in order to buy a Rialta?  The answer is simple and there are at least three alternative ways to accomplish this.

  1. The first is the least preferred method and it involves the buyer wanting to drive the vehicle off after seeing it for the first time.  Unless he has actual cash, you should not let this happen under any circumstances.  Accept whatever check he writes but then point him towards a local hotel/motel where he'll have to wait 3-5 days until the check clears.
     
  2. The second method and probably the most commonly used is where the buyer sees the vehicle for the first time, agrees to purchase it (perhaps with a deposit), then returns home to make the final financial arrangements and for his return trip.  He can send a cashier's check or even a personal check in the mail that would need to be deposited at least three days in advance of his return trip.  Once the funds have cleared on the check, he shows up at your front door ready to drive it off.  The buyers don't like this method because from their viewpoint, they are paying in advance, sometimes up to 7-10 days by the time the post office delivers the mail.  The sellers love this method because they are fully protected in that the vehicle is not released until the funds are posted.
     
  3. A third method involves the use of a wire transfer under which you can verify the posting of funds to your account usually on the same day.  Despite what you see in the movies, wire transfers do not happen instantaneously.  Allow up to 24-48 to verify the actual posting of funds to the seller's account.  The buyer is only putting the money up a day or two in advance and the seller is totally protected.  Once funds are posted to his account, the transaction is irreversible.
     
  4. The fourth method is the only truly protected method for both parties and involves the payment of cash in which the transfer of ownership can happen instantaneously.  Both parties are fully protected.

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Forms of Payment

Personal and Cashier's Checks: both of these are merely paper promises to pay.  Both require 3-5 days to clear, including the cashier's check.  Both can be fraudulent or counterfeit.  Nearly all parties will refuse to take a "personal check" but for some strange reason they tend to think a "Cashier's Check" is secure.  Check with your local banker and you will find out that cashier's checks still take 3 days or more to clear, just the same as personal checks.  What that means is after you deposit a cashier's check, the bank places a hold on the funds until the check is verified by the issuing bank and funds are actually transferred.  It is at this point that many people find out three days later that the cashier's check they accepted turned out to be counterfeit and the buyer is long gone with the Rialta.  If you deposit a personal or cashier's check of a sizable amount into your account, your bank will place a hold on the funds until it clears the issuing bank.  Likewise, you should place a hold on your Rialta until the funds clear.

These "paper checks" come in many forms and are called by many names, such as personal check, bank draft, certified check, cashier's check, money order, traveler's checks, and negotiable order of withdrawal.  But they are all basically the same thing, a signed piece of paper which is promise to pay.  All of them are subject to the same pitfalls: stolen, fraudulent signature, and counterfeit.  All require several days to clear to allow the issuing institution to verify the validity of the check.  All deposits made using such checks can be reversed even after funds have been made available to your account.

Wire Transfer: according to the bankers this is the preferred method of transferring a sizable amount such as that resulting from the sale of a Rialta or any other motorhome.  However, it may still take 24-48 hours for a wire transfer to be verified, all depending upon either bank involved in the transaction as either bank can be guilty of slowing down the process.  While the buyer may issue instructions to his bank to initiate the wire transfer early in the morning, they may not get around to it until later in the afternoon, even though they are quick to show the money as deducted from his account.  Even if the issuing bank is quick to act on the transfer, the recipient bank may be slow to credit the account or even allow the recipient to access the funds until they go through their administrative bookkeeping process of "posting" the transaction late the next night.

In most cases of transfers done within the US, any transfer initiated early in the morning is usually received within an hour or two or no later than that afternoon.  Whether or not they will immediately release the funds to the seller's account is a matter of policy that differs widely between banks, none of which will answer the question of exactly where the money is at during those few hours of limbo until officially posted to the sellers account (HINT - do you know what "float" means?).  In some cases, this wire transfer may not complete in one day due to any number of reasons so you should not rely on obtaining a same day transfer.  Just make sure you don't absolutely need to rely on a wire transfer on Friday otherwise it may take until Monday to iron out any problems.

There is one exception to the potential for any delay in the posting of a wire transfer and that occurs when both the sender and the recipient use the same bank.  In that case, it truly is a matter of just an account transfer and most banks should be able to handle that within a matter of minutes or an hour or two at the worst.

The buyer will need the name and branch address of the bank, along with the seller's 10-digit account number (not the entire account number that appears on the bottom of your printed checks).  DO NOT GIVE OUT YOUR ENTIRE ROUTING AND ACCOUNT NUMBER otherwise, you may find your entire account cleaned out.  Check with your local banker and they typically have a special "incoming wire routing number" that you give to the buyer.  Check with them about any special advice as to how you should complete the wire transfer.  If the buyer is getting his purchase financed, then his lending company can complete a wire transfer to the seller's bank account.  They do it all the time.  How do you think real estate transactions are handled?  Certainly not with checks!

Cash: no ID needed.  Cash is King!  All other forms of payment take time.  There is nothing wrong with demanding cash only for payment.  Granted, some buyers are put off by the idea of traveling around with $30,000 in cash but the benefits of accomplishing the transaction make this a very desirable method to be used.  Some buyers may like to use cash because it eliminates a paper trail and tends to mask the true purchase price of the vehicle to the vehicle licensing authorities.

There is one small problem with a cash transaction from the buyer's point of view: they would need to give their bank several days notice in order to have that amount of cash on hand.  The cash withdrawal also triggers all sorts of flags with government agencies from IRS to drug interdiction task forces.  Sellers love a cash transaction because they can stuff their mattress with the funds or enjoy standing at the cashier's window and counting out $30,000 to deposit.  Alternatively, they can keep the cash handy for their own emergency needs which eliminates any knowledge of the transaction by governmental agencies especially tax authorities.  By Federal Law, your bank reports any transaction involving $10,000 or more directly to the IRS.  Surprise!

I recently asked my small branch bank in my local town (population abut 40,000) about withdrawing $30,000 cash without any prior arrangements and I was informed that it probably could happen on most days.  But they still recommended putting in a request a few days ahead of time to make sure that they would have the additional cash on hand.  It also helps eliminate any suspicion of you being forced into a spontaneous coerced withdrawal.

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A Suggested Payment Requirement

Since its your Rialta you are free to do whatever you want, but here is a suggested means of requesting payment.  These are not unreasonable for either the buyer or seller and actually protect both parties.  These suggestions will work whether or not you have an outstanding loan on the vehicle.  If the potential buyer wants to do something different, then beware of the potential pitfalls.  Its your money.

For Sale:

19XX Rialta: blah blah blah

Vehicle may be inspected and driven by appointment; call 101-555-1111 or email me@home.com

Car-Fax report available upon request.

Terms:

$500 non-refundable deposit will hold the vehicle for 10 business days.

Balance within 10 days via cash or wire transfer. No checks accepted.

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Page Updated: 30 March 2013