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So how much have you paid him and how much is remaining on what you owe?
Why is he refusing to renew the registration and send the plates?
Ok, if he was supposed to register the bike and send you the plates as part of the agreement, then if you have paid as agreed up until he hasn't gotten it registered, then he is in breach and your only recourse here is to sue him for breach of contract in NC for breach of contract for your money back or for him to comply with the contract.
The limit in NC for small claims is either $5K or 10K, depending on the county and you don't need an attorney to represent you. You would just get the summons and complaint forms from the local court clerks and file them. They will help with getting the sheriff to serve the summons on him. Then you just appear in court on the court date and tell your story and presumably get your judgment.
visit true that I am not able to put this money into an escrow account while I am going through this process?
Since he is in breach by failing to provide the registration and plates, I would opine that you are excused from further performance until this is resolved. So putting the money in escrow is a good idea. I would also suggest that you basically hide the bike to ensure that if he isn't paying, and he won't be, that the bank can't come and take the bike and repo it because he will tell them where it it if he has your address.
Is there any way I can find out where he truly lives?
The only way I can think of is by hiring a local private investigator, but that would probably be expensive...