Buying a car with a lien Advertiser Disclosure Advertiser Disclosure We are an independent, advertising-supported comparison service. Our aim is to assist you make smarter financial decisions by offering interactive tools and financial calculators that provide objective and original content, by enabling you to conduct your own research and compare information for free to help you make financial decisions with confidence. Bankrate has partnerships with issuers such as, but not limited to American Express, Bank of America, Capital One, Chase, Citi and Discover. How We Earn Profit The offers that appear on this site are from companies who pay us. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site, including such things as the order in which they may be listed within the categories of listing and other categories, unless prohibited by law. Our mortgage home equity, mortgage and other home lending products. However, this compensation will affect the information we provide, or the reviews that you see on this site. We do not cover the entire universe of businesses or financial offerings that could be accessible to you. Alfa Photostudio/Shutterstock
3 min read published 27 October 2022
Written by Holly D. Johnson Written by award-winning writer, author and author Holly Johnson writes expert content on personal finances, credit cards, loyalty and insurance subjects. As well as writing articles for Bankrate and CreditCards.com, Johnson does ongoing work for clients that include CNN, Forbes Advisor, LendingTree, Time Magazine and more. Written by Rhys Subitch Edited by Auto loans editor Rhys has been editing and writing for Bankrate since late 2021. They are dedicated to helping readers gain confidence to take control of their finances with clear, well-researched information that breaks down otherwise complex subjects into bite-sized pieces. The Bankrate promises
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So, this compensation can impact how, where and in what order items appear within listing categories and categories, unless it is prohibited by law for our mortgage, home equity and other home lending products. Other factors, like our own rules for our website and whether or not a product is available within the area you reside in or is within your self-selected credit score range may also influence the way and place products are listed on this site. While we strive to provide an array of offers, Bankrate does not include details about each financial or credit item or service. If you’re thinking of buying a used car from a private dealer, find out whether the car is still under a lien attached to it by an lender. This can make buying more difficult, but it’s not difficult. It will mean taking some extra steps to make sure the lien is removed prior to the transfer of title to you. What exactly is a car loan? A car lien names the auto loan lender as the primary owner on the title. It’s a contract that serves as a safeguard for a lender when a borrower is in default. The lienholder could use the lien as a basis to take possession of the vehicle which is why they it is considered . After an automobile loan is paid in full, the lienholder is released from being liable for the loan and the car is now owned outright by the person who borrowed it. What happens when a lien is affecting your car purchase When you purchase a car with an attached lien, make sure that the lien is gone before you make the final payment. If you’re buying with cash When you pay in cash, you might be able to work directly with the lienholder in order to pay the balance on your own. Begin by contacting the lienholder in question to find out the total amount due to be released from the vehicle along with other terms which could impact the sale. Negotiate in conjunction with your seller. They may want to sell the car for a profit, but If you know the payment amount, you might be able to get an excellent deal and not pay more than what the car is worth. If you’re buying the car with the help of a loan Getting a loan from your own pocket to pay for the purchase should be fairly simple. You may communicate the details of the transaction with your lender so it can facilitate paying the lienholder. The remaining amount — if there is any — goes directly to the buyer. When the lien is completely paid off, either you as well as your lender will be issued the title that will allow you to record the vehicle in your name. The lender will be identified as the new lienholder until you . If the seller pays off the loan before the purchase The sale can proceed more easily in the event that the person selling the vehicle pay off their auto loan and acquires the title prior to the sale. But this isn’t possible for some people such as those who owe tens of thousands of dollars on a brand new car or those who owe more than the vehicle is worth. For instance, if the seller is owed $20,000 for the car which is privately sold for $17,000, they will still be required make payments to the lender between $20,000 and $3,000 more than they’re getting out of the deal. In such a case the seller can choose to transfer the remaining amount of the auto loan into an unsecured loan such as a personal loan for the purpose of get the auto loan be discharged. To make the purchase legal, however you handle this situation make sure you draft a contract that addresses the method by which the lien will be removed or transferred. While it’s not required in all states however, it’s a good idea to create a bill of sale outlining the transactions. Make sure that it is authenticated and signed by both parties to ensure that everyone is aware that the transaction took place. You may be able to utilize a third-party escrow service to handle the financial side of the transaction. Escrow services can help ensure that the money to be transferred in a secure manner. Make sure you are aware that escrow providers charge fees for their services — and set it up with the seller to make sure you’re both working with an authorized company. How do you determine if the car you’re buying has a lien Ask the seller – they should be transparent about the car’s ownership status. You may also look up the VIN or title, as well as the vehicle’s history report to confirm the seller is honest. Check the identification number of the vehicle (VIN) through the state’s DMV. If there is an owner of the lien on the title and the DMV can inform you. A title search can provide information about lienholders. It is a good start point for finding the information of lienholders. Check the history of your vehicle as well. Autocheck or Carfax have been regarded as two reliable businesses which provide lien history along with the previous repairs, maintenance and owners. The bottom line There are plenty of instances when people buy a used car with an unofficial lien from a private party without encountering any issues or challenges. To ensure that the process runs smoothly and avoid any serious issues, you should know the steps must be taken to clear the lien. You should also research pricing, line up your own financing for your vehicle and ensure that any agreements you enter into with a private seller in writing. Find out more
Written by Author, Award-Winning writer Holly Johnson writes expert content on personal finance, credit cards, loyalty and insurance subjects. Alongside writing content on behalf of Bankrate and CreditCards.com, Johnson does ongoing work for clients that include CNN, Forbes Advisor, LendingTree, Time Magazine and other publications. Edited by Rhys Subitch Edited by Auto loans editor Rhys has been editing and writing for Bankrate from late 2021. They are dedicated to helping readers gain the confidence to take control of their finances with concise, well-researched, and well-written details that cut otherwise complex topics into manageable bites.
Auto loans editor
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