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Old 03-28-2009, 11:01 PM   #21
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I'd go for a certified bank check, then call the originating bank to verify authenticity. (check#, routing number, amount, signature) Verify bank's tel# via 411 or other independent means, like internet to bank's website.
Edit add: Do it before handing over title.
Dumb question-- is there a difference between a "cashier's check" and a "certified bank check"?

I know contractors who routinely deal in $10K-$20K cash, presumably on projects for which they have a contractor's license. They say that the occasional counterfeit $100 bill is more than made up for by not having to use cashier's checks, escrow services, and so on. And they use the special pen on the bills.

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Old 03-29-2009, 07:43 AM   #22
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The cashier's check should be fine, but as already recommended be sure to call the issuing bank directly before handing over the title to verify it is real. There are fake cashier's check scams out there but I've never gotten burned.

Make sure the bank/credit union on the check is real and not just a phone room. Google the bank and check it out.

Do the transaction in a public place so you don't get robbed or shot!
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Old 03-29-2009, 09:50 AM   #23
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I'd go for the cash. Not that big of a stash, and before you bank it you can have fun just throwing it up in the air yelling "we're rich, we're rich!!"
As a side note, it is common to see people at classic car shows dragging around briefcases of cash for on the spot purchases.
When I had my Vette up for sale, I told everyone that called to show up with cash..They all took it in stride..However, in the end, it was me who backed out of the deal
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Old 03-29-2009, 09:53 AM   #24
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is there a difference between a "cashier's check" and a "certified bank check"?
Cashier's check = bank check
Certified means a bank officer attests that the funds are set aside for that check.

In the case of a certified bank check it is belts and suspenders. If you take a cashier's (bank) check you take on faith that the bank will pay up. With it certified, a bank officer attests (certifies) that funds are set aside to pay that particular check.

In any case, cashier's or bank checks are covered by UCC (uniform commercial code). Neither certified personal nor bank checks can be revoked once in the hands of named payee, unless some extraordinary circumstances arise. Even then it is a difficult proposition to prevent payment once the named individual presents the check (demands) for payment. They become commercial paper.
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Old 03-29-2009, 10:12 AM   #25
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Checks are kind of ancient anymore, aren't they? Why can't the buyer simply wire the money directly from his bank into your bank account? That's the easiest and safest thing for everyone involved.

Outside of that, I'd only accept cash. When I sold my car before moving to Europe, I demanded cash. $14K was no trouble for the buyer to bring along. I got one of those counterfeit markers and checked the bills as well before they left with the car.
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Old 03-29-2009, 11:25 AM   #26
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You could arrange to do the closing at your own bank, so that you can immediately deposit the cash or certified check.
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Old 03-29-2009, 11:55 AM   #27
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Rich,

Gumby beat me to the punch.

We have sold several cars via old fashioned classified adds in the local papers and one online. In all cases, we sealed the deal at our local branch office where we could immediately deposit the cash/bank-check and the bank would deal with verification. This also allowed us to easily provide a notarized bill-of-sale that some of our buyers requested. We have never had a buyer balk at this arrangement.

Good luck.
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Old 03-29-2009, 12:03 PM   #28
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Cashier's check = bank check
Certified means a bank officer attests that the funds are set aside for that check.
Cool, thanks. The PayPal era has rendered me ignorant of banking vocabulary...
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Old 03-29-2009, 03:27 PM   #29
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(Amounts in the story below have been adjusted to 'today's dollars')

When we went to close on our newly contructed home, we took about $40k out of our credit union and put it in our no-interest checking account, because the closing was supposed to be a few days later. Well, the builder had problems and the closing got delayed for about a month. When the Big Day finally arrived, I went to our bank and requested a certified chack for the closing amount. The lady replied there would be about a $25 fee for the check. I politely mentioned that they had been holding our money interest free for over a month, and could she perhaps waive the fee? She got huffy and said "Listen, that's the way it is, you just pay the fee." I said "Well then, I'll just take it in cash please." She looked like I crapped on her desk and was so flustered/angry she couldn't even speak for a minute. But she didn't offer to waive the fee. So I got all of their hundreds, all of their fifties, and a few twenties to finish it off. When I walked into the closing and opened a briefcase stuffed with $100's, it looked like a scene from "Miami Vice." I told the story to everyone there, they all had a good laugh and said our bank was famous for that kind of attitude. We also switched our checking account the next week.
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Old 03-29-2009, 05:19 PM   #30
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Rich, the last few deals I've done like this are cash only. It is way to easy to counterfeit a check. One other thought though.

What bank does the buyer use? If his bank has branches in Florida you could meet him at a branch local to you and get a check issued from the bank to you. That would take the unknown buyers identity and creditworthiness out of the mix.
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Old 03-29-2009, 05:47 PM   #31
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What I know now is that he is taking a loan from his credit union. The check will be certified by the credit union and made payable to me. When the deal is confirmed, I will take the check and give him a receipt. We will then authenticate the check with a call to his credit union. I'll make sure the number jives with the public number given for the credit union.
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Old 03-29-2009, 06:01 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by Rich_in_Tampa View Post
I may have a buyer for my RV (with eyes on a bigger one down the road). He will be driving in from Michigan to close the deal.

With all the warnings from Craigs List, Ebay etc. against taking money orders, cashier checks, etc. what is the best way to have him pay me for this? It's too expensive to expect cash (~$20k). And he will be driving off with it the same day, so I can't wait for a check to clear.

I do have a Paypal account but not sure that does the trick.

Any ideas to protect everyone's interests?
Here is how we did it when we sold our Casita. The buyer drove from NC to Texas to buy our RV. We went with the buyer to a local branch of his bank, and they issued us a cashier's check payable from the bank (not the buyer) right there. Totally secure.

Of course, it helps if the buyer has a national bank with branches all over the country. Our buyer was with Bank of America and there was a branch close to our house.

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Old 03-29-2009, 06:19 PM   #33
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To get back to the original topic, why not a wire transfer?
One problem with a wire transfer is that you have to give the buyer all your bank information.

BUT I think you can go with the buyer to your bank, and he can give the teller his bank account information and they can do the transfer and even call to verify funds, etc.

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Old 03-29-2009, 06:31 PM   #34
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There's a loan involved here on his part so I think that pretty much means a certified check - shouldn't be hard to authenticate by phone.
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Old 03-29-2009, 11:55 PM   #35
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One problem with a wire transfer is that you have to give the buyer all your bank information.
You need routing number & account number. That doesn't give anyone access to remove money. Where is the problem?
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Old 03-30-2009, 09:32 AM   #36
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I've sold some high end motorcycles, and I gave a zerox copy of title until check cleared, then mailed original. Also, made copy of driver's license and took a photo of buyer.

Prob. overkill, but they knew what I was going to do beforehand and never had a problem.
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Old 03-30-2009, 09:38 AM   #37
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There's only one way to do this, the buyer shows up with CASH. We recently purchased a boat in a neighboring state. We showed up with 170 - $100 bills. Just make sure the title is clear when you hand over the cash. And get a detailed, written receipt, signed by the buyer and seller - include serial numbers, vehicle numbers, registration numbers, etc. - state that the sale is paid in full.

Also, if you are wanting to negotiate, there's nothing like sitting at a table with a pile of $100 bills to motivate a seller.
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Old 03-30-2009, 01:45 PM   #38
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Certified checks can be faked. I took one once and it took almost a week before coming back. By then, I was Poop out of Luck!!

I'll only go bank to bank Wire or Cash from now on. My bank tells me that the absolute safest thing to do is a wire. The person can fill out all the forms necessary, then call when they arrive and have the deal completed. It takes a few only a few minutes for a domestic transfer to complete.

In deals like this, 99% of people are honest I believe, but when dealing with such high value items, whey take the chance that you are dealing with that 1%?
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Old 03-30-2009, 02:42 PM   #39
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I'll only go bank to bank Wire or Cash from now on. My bank tells me that the absolute safest thing to do is a wire. The person can fill out all the forms necessary, then call when they arrive and have the deal completed. It takes a few only a few minutes for a domestic transfer to complete.
So the guy does all the paper preparation for a wire transfer, and I supply him with whatever he needs for my account to receive the transfer.

He arrives from out of state, likes the goods. We then stroll to the bank, he makes a call to his local bank, they wire it while we wait, and 15 minutes later it's a done deal?

Not doubting, just asking. Last time I made a wire transfer, admittedly a few years ago, it didn't show up in my balance for days.

(In this case this was not an option since it was a loan-related paper check from the bank.)
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Old 03-30-2009, 03:03 PM   #40
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I don't think you would even need to go to the bank. Everything can be handled via phone.

However, I strongly suggest taking 5 minutes and call your branch manager at your bank to get it straight from someone that deals with this kind of stuff daily. Too much money at stake to take advice from me!! LOL
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