I'm trying to buy a car in Minnesota from someone who moved here from California. They lost the title.?

I'm trying to buy a car in Minnesota from someone who moved here from California. They lost the title. According to the "Duplicate Title Application" form for the CA DMV, if your address does not match the one they have on file, you must apply in person. Neither of us are going to go to Cali to get this duplicate title, and the MN DMV says they can't transfer ownership without the title.

What are my options here? The seller can't even donate or scrap the car without the title as far as I understand.

16 Answers

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  • 4 weeks ago
    Best Answer

    They should change the address that the CA has on file for them, and then, after the CA DMV updates the address, have a new title sent there.

    Or they might be able to get a new title from another state.

    If they can't or won't do either of those things, then your options are to buy another car or not to buy a car. Buying this car would not be one of your options.

  • zipper
    Lv 6
    3 weeks ago

    Leave it alone, no title means the car could be HOT!

  • 3 weeks ago

    It's simple Don't buy it

  • Anonymous
    4 weeks ago

    Its a big risk unless and until the person gets a title. And that may be tough in that they may be unwilling to send it out of state. But they need to call the CA title department. At the very least they will need a notarized form sent and then it will take 2-4 weeks.

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  • 4 weeks ago

    Nope, that's not what's happening. The 'seller' may have said that's how it is, but that's not really how it is. I'll bet they gave you a really convincing and legit-sounding explanation for the whole thing too, didn't they? Of course they did, because that's how scam artists operate.

    Here's the bottom line. In order to legally sell any vehicle in the civilized world, the seller must prove that the vehicle is actually theirs. The only way to prove that is to provide a certificate of lawful ownership (aka title) in their name, issued by the applicable government authority, which can be signed over to the buyer. Don't look for back doors, loop holes or exceptions, because there aren't any.

    If a vehicle owner (in any jurisdiction) can't find their title document, they can easily get it replaced. They go in person to the government office that issues and monitors such documents (usually but not always the DMV, or whatever the DMV is called in that jurisdiction), fill out a lost / stolen form, pay a small processing fee, and they walk out with a replacement document that very same day. If that person really is who they claim to be, and if they really do legally own that vehicle, it is literally that friggin' easy.

    If someone offers to sell you a vehicle but they don't have a clear title in their hand, what a coincidence because you don't have any cash with you. But don't worry, you can have the cash for them in a week or two. Do you think they'll really sign a sales agreement and hand over the keys to you? Because that's what they're asking you to do if they don't have the title document.

    • I'm not concerned about getting scammed, it's a family member selling it.  As I said above, it's not as easy as walking into the DMV because according to the duplicate title document, it has to happen in California, but we live in Minnesota.

  • 4 weeks ago

    Buy a different vehicle. Let the person that lost their title deal with the BS. For all you know he's not the owner.

    Source(s): Mitsubishi Master Tech
  • May
    Lv 5
    4 weeks ago

    Your option?

    The best option is to run not walk away from this. You would only be buying yourself trouble.

    A car without a title can never be owned, insured, registered, driven or even parked on a public street.

    This is the present owners problem so Let the owner get you a valid title for HIS car and THEN buy the car.

  • Ron
    Lv 7
    4 weeks ago

    After reading the application instructions on the cali site, all the owner has to do is apply for a title with his former California address in the appropriate block, matching hopefully the address on the now lost title. With any luck, it will go to an address of someone that knows him. Then they can stick it in the mail.

  • Tj
    Lv 7
    4 weeks ago

    There has to be a way to do this. He needs to contact CA dmv and ask. Let him complete the form and send it with his letter.

  • TedEx
    Lv 7
    4 weeks ago

    That is his problem, not yours. If I were you, I would look somewhere else for a car

    • There's gotta be a way around going to Cali, looking for answers.

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