Legal Question in Real Estate Law in Georgia

What's legal Form that I can keep title my boat,the buyer's making payment until it's paid off

Asked on 2/20/13, 5:58 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

Glen Ashman Ashman Law Office

You asked this question yesterday elsewhere and here is a copy of the answer I gave at that time.

Selling a boat in payments is a VERY BAD IDEA. If the person has such poor credit that a bank won't loan them the money, that is a huge red flag that you wil not get paid.

The state of Georgia does not require boats to be titled. However, all boats and watercraft that are operated on public waterways in the state for more than 60 days must be properly registered with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. Since Georgia does not title vessels or record liens against them you are in a very weak position.

You cannot hold the "title" (really the registration). Owners of Georgia registered boats must notify DNR, in writing, of sale or transfer, theft or recovery, or destruction or abandonment of a boat within 15 days.

In Georgia, in order for a lien holder to record an outstanding debt against the vessel, the lien holder may file a UCC-1 form. A checklist and procedures can be found at This is done at the Georgia county level through the county's Clerk of Superior Court where the boat owner resides. This gives you a security interest in the boat.

You would also need a proper promissory note that includes provisions as to late payment (such as attorneys fees, late fees, interest and a right of repossession). You also need a Bill of Sale. A sample one is at

Note that if you do not get paid, getting the boat back or getting paid may be expensive or impossible even with all the right paperwork.

It would be wise to have a lawyer prepare all the documents.

Let me stress how bad an idea this is. If you are determined to try anyway, have the buyer give you a current copy of all three of his credit reports, or at least the Equifax one. Unless it is nearly perfect, be aware that you have a huge risk of not getting paid. Getting a large down payment would also be a good idea.

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Answered on 2/20/13, 11:41 am

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