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If you know any cops, have them run the VIN.
That's what I was thinking. Otherwise it seems like you are taking a chance. That's a cool bike though, good luck with whatever you decide.
 

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Check the Washington state laws first.

Usually it's not a big deal to re-title an older vehicle. Make sure the bill of sale is complete, that the seller is identifiable by something more than a name and address (driver's license number is adequate), and that the bill of sale clearly states "No current title on vehicle".

I used to live in Louisiana and sold an old car without a title. I agreed to get the new title before the money changed hands and the car was delivered. It took a bit more than a month. The buyer wound up paying for and picking up the car after the first week because he wanted it in his hands.
 

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If I had a dollar for every Craigslist add that included
"had bike for umpteen years with no title. But I hear it's real easy to get one."

uh-huh.

Something has kept him from getting it titled.

Usually, it is that the 'lost title bond' costs more than the vehicle is worth.
Otherwise, there would be a line a mile long at every DMV with unsavory characters and their 'newly aquired' motorcycles that didn't come with a title.
 

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It's been a while, but I remember that replacing a title in Louisiana cost about $30. You need to check with the Washington DMV before making an offer. Knock off the retitle cost at least, plus some for your trouble.
 
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