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April 2018 Connections - Subpage Header Image

Tips for Buying and Selling a Vehicle "By Owner"

Tips for Buying A Vehicle From A Private Party

When purchasing a vehicle from a private party, the buyer should ask if the vehicle is owned “free-and-clear” or if there is a lien against it. If the seller has a lien against the car, check with the seller’s financial institution to learn how the title will be sent once the payoff check is received. Keep in mind that the institution holding the lien may only release the title to the owner, even when the payoff is made by the purchaser.

If the seller owns the vehicle “free-and-clear” make sure any liens have been released on the front of the title and all owners have printed and signed their names on the back of the title.

Check with the Department of Motor Vehicles to ensure you have a correct and completed title. If alterations have been made to the title, the seller may be required to obtain a duplicate title.

Working with Ent to finance your purchase can help complete the buying process more smoothly.


Tips for Selling a Vehicle to a Private Party

Selling a used car or truck privately doesn’t have to be complicated. With a little research and organization, you can simplify the process and get the most for your vehicle. Here are some selling tips to help you along the way.

Tip #1: Prepare your car for sale so it looks and smells like a new vehicle
  • Thoroughly clean the interior and exterior
  • Take clear and detailed pictures. Use a UV filter on your camera to cut the glare from windows and metal.
  • Compile your vehicle maintenance records.

Tip #2: Competitively price and advertise your vehicle
  • Search comparable vehicle listings to price your vehicle appropriately.
  • Prepare a vehicle description highlighting any extra amenities. Examples include: navigation systems, leather, single owner, still under warranty, etc.
  • Advertise on reputable websites like Autotrader.com and Cars.com

Tip #3: Agree upon a price and finalize the transaction at a safe place such as a financial institution
  • Remove all personal items including license plates
  • Accept cash, cashier’s check or money order. Avoid accepting wired funds.
  • Prepare and give the buyer a Bill of Sale
  • Sign over the title
  • Hand over the keys, title and records
  • Cancel insurance, GAP and service contracts

Private-party buying and selling involves some trust, but it goes smoothly when you research and plan safely. For more information about buying your next vehicle privately check out the related resources section on this page.