Dr. Hess
Dr. Hess UltimaDork
8/31/12 2:39 p.m.

It seems that as I'm looking at cars priced with one or two more zeros than what I've been buying, a lot of the private party ones have a lien on them. How do you buy a car with a lien on it today and cover yourself from Nigerians/getting scammed? I can see that if the lien is from a local bank or credit union, that wouldn't be a problem. Just go there and have them release the title. But how common is that today? What with financialization, the lien holder could be anywhere. With the Esprit (RIP) when I "sold" what was left of it to Hagerty they wrote the check to the partnership that "owned" the title. Is that what you do? If, say, GMAC or whatever they are called today holds the lien, do you write a check to GMAC or both GMAC and the private party or what?

How do you work it?

sachilles Dork
8/31/12 2:45 p.m.

depends on the deal. Sometimes you pay the car owner and let them pay off the load to get the title. If the situation isn't that trustworthy, you get the banks contact info and find there procedure to release a title.

yamaha HalfDork
8/31/12 2:55 p.m.

I'd go with the seller to the bank, seperate the amount between the seller and what the lien amount is to the bank. If paying via cash, you could get the lien released and the title signed over to you that day, but if by check......expect a 1-2 week delay in getting the title released by the bank.

I just went through this process when I sold my saturn earlier this year. The buyers paid cash, so the lien was released, title signed over, and they drove the car home.

Datsun310Guy UltraDork
8/31/12 3:19 p.m.

This is one of my pet peeves with me selling my 2011 Honda Accord to a private party if my job changed and my car allowance stops.

We would have to express mail a check to "Honda Financial Services" and they would then release the title and mail it to the new owner. The new owner can drive my car away but won't have the title for a few days. I wouldn't buy a car like this from a seller without having and inspecting the actual title.

So all I can really do is trade the car to a dealer or Carmax or get a quick loan or just pay it off.

petegossett UltraDork
8/31/12 3:34 p.m.

Sometimes you can go to the seller's bank - even if they don't hold the lien - and have them electronically transfer the funds to the lien holder. Of course, you'd still need the title, and there would be the issue of whether you could(or should) drive it home with the seller's plates.

patgizz UltraDork
8/31/12 5:18 p.m.

i only bought one with a lien. the guy flat out told me he owed $1200 on it and he was retired navy, it was through the navy federal credit union, and all he wanted was the $1200 to pay it off.

i made a bill of sale for him to sign, took the truck, and gave him a bank check for $1200 made out to the navy federal credit union. they mailed him title, he called me and told me come get it.

whenry HalfDork
8/31/12 8:58 p.m.

make check to both parties. Someone has to give a signature to get their money.

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