"I would want 100% of the cash cleared and in the bank before I would even agree to inviting someone to my house"
I agree 100%.
I find it hard to believe this guy is willing to spend what - $10K? - on a bike he has never seen in person?
If buying a US bike is such a tremendous bargain saving several thousand
dollars I sure as heck would jump on a plane for a few hundred bucks and check it out in person - and ride it back this spring! It would cost the same as shipping and be a lot more fun. Let HIM worry about clearing customs and duties or shipping - not your area. Take it to your local BMW dealer for a quick once over for $75.00, fax him the clean bill of health noting the mileage and park it. That would make ME feel comfortable sending you money.
You could certainly request a significant deposit, say $2,500.00 in CASH to hold it for him until the weather is suitable for the ride back. Even if he does not want to ride it back he could take it to your local shipping dock, then fly back. We're only talking 60 days max wait at this time of year. Tell him he needs to pay in full by then or the deal is off and you keep $1,000.00 for your trouble keeping it off the market if he backs out. Pretty fair if you ask me, since he really can't ride it in Canada now anyway.
Don't even think of inviting anyone to your house - meet him in a neutral place like a shopping mall with a friend and get cold hard US CASH. Purchase a cash verification marking pen you can get at any office supply store to know it is REAL.
Oh yeah - NO test rides either unless he wants to jump on the pillion. It could be the last time you see your bike.
There are tons of scams going on right now all over the world with fake money orders, cashiers checks, etc. Meth heads are bonding out of jail in the US with bogus Bank Checks printed on PC's. Why be a potential victim?
Yeah, I'm skeptical - but it is the same way I would handle the deal if the guy lived around the corner. I'm the son of a former FBI agent. I guess it rubbed off on me.
Here in the good ol' USA In God We Trust - and as much as I love Canucks they pay cash too, eh?