This is very common here, too.
With a newer bike, "no title" is code for "stopped making payments, gimme some cash for crack before the repo man shows up". Run away.
With a bike more than about 5 years old, it's just general stupidity and cluelessness. The owner puts the title in a drawer and forgets where he put it. Then he's too lazy to go get a duplicate when he needs money for more meth or to bail the 'ol lady out of jail. Again, run away unless you just want it for parts.
Here in Indiana, it's pretty much impossible to do anything about a lost title unless you're the registered owner.
2002 Suzuki DL1000 V-Strom, Dark Metallic Space Blue
1983 Suzuki GS850G, Cosmic Blue
2005 KLR685, Aztec Red - Turd II.2, the ReReTurdening