How to Buy a Car with a Lien
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Buying a used car offers you the chance to save thousands of dollars on a vehicle in excellent condition. And, with the wide selection of cars located across the country, you can pick and choose the one you want without having to wait on dealer inventory.
However, it's essential to be aware of certain situations you may encounter on the used market, whether financial or relating to the vehicle's condition.
Most car buyers choose to finance their purchase, and some decide to sell the vehicle before paying off their loan. In that case, the new buyer is purchasing a used car that likely has a lien.
Buying a used car becomes more complicated when it still has a lien on the title. You could have trouble transferring the title, obtaining a registration, or securing a loan in this situation.
Knowing the specific steps needed to buy a used car with a lien can smooth out the purchase process and ensure you drive away in the vehicle you want, free and clear.
Or you can steer clear from the get-go by opting for one of the hundreds of options in Shift's inventory of used vehicles, knowing that none have liens. Or if you have a car that you're looking to sell but still haven't paid off in full, Shift can help you with that, too.
Shift works with a network of trusted lenders who compete for your business, so you get the best deal on financing. And applying for a loan with Shift is quick and easy, with no cost or obligation.
Read to learn how and the ins and outs of buying a car with a lien.
All about financing
Financing an automotive purchase allows you to take a substantial sum of money and divide it into smaller, more manageable payments. You can afford the vehicle you want while still having extra money around for other vital obligations by taking out an auto loan.
Auto loans contain several elements that affect your monthly payments and the total sum you pay over time.
The down payment on an auto loan lowers the amount you finance, which also means smaller monthly payments during the term length.
Car loans usually last from 24 months to 84 months, depending on the borrower's preferences and which term suits them best. Longer-term loans have the potential to lessen car payment amounts, allowing you to drive away in something that's perhaps a little more costly than what you'd initially planned.
The interest rate for an auto loan is a financing charge applied to the amount borrowed, or the principal, added to each monthly payment.
The annual percentage rate, or APR, is comprised of both the interest rate and other fees charged by a lender. The APR paints a more detailed picture of your annual obligations than the interest rate alone.
Researching and buying a new-to-you car can be fun. But finding the financing you need can be a hassle. Where can you go for a simple and easy financing process? Shift works with a network of trusted lenders who compete for your business, so you get the best deal on financing. Applying for financing with Shift is simple, with no cost or obligation. Most applicants receive a quote within minutes rather than days. Financing with Shift is so convenient that nine out of 10 customers choose us when they need a loan. Shift's website has a large selection of fully inspected cars located across the country that are ready to go. The website is user-friendly, and you'll be able to find various makes and models to suit your needs and budget.
What is a lien on a car?
When a creditor provides the funds for someone to finance a car, they're taking a risk. Though a lender makes money during a loan by charging interest and fees, there's still a chance the borrower could default and retain possession of the vehicle. That's where a car lien comes in.
A lien is a legal right held against the financed vehicle if the borrower defaults on their obligation. If someone stops making payments on their loan, a lender can use the lien to take possession of a car, mitigating their losses.
However, once a borrower pays a loan in full, the lender provides them with a lien release and a certificate of title. Once this happens, the borrower holds a free and clear title and is the legal owner.
Buying a used car is the way to go when you want to save money while still driving away in a quality vehicle. But where can you go for not only a great price but also a car that stands the test of time? Shift offers best-in-class service contracts at a fair price without sales pressure. You get the great price and value of a used car with the bumper-to-bumper protection of a new car. Shift's Vehicle Protection Plans give you peace of mind for mile after mile of worry-free driving. If you encounter mechanical issues, you're only responsible for a deductible, so you won't drain your savings paying for repairs. And help is just a phone call away, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Your coverage is effective nationwide in both the U.S. and Canada. Even if you travel or move to another city, you still retain coverage.
How to purchase a car with a lien
Buying a used car with a lien isn't necessarily a bad thing. It just requires extra steps to ensure everything's above board before moving forward. That way, you can register and insure your new-to-you car without unexpected issues.
If you find the used car you want for sale by a private party, it's wise to check the title to find out if there's an outstanding lien held against it. One way of doing this is by asking the seller to see it. But if they only show you a photocopy, ask to view the original.
Even if there isn't a lien listed on the title, it's still a good idea to use other research methods for confirmation.
If you plan to finance your purchase, you can check with your lender, who can run a lien search against the subject car's vehicle identification number. A small fee could apply.
Another valuable research tool is obtaining a vehicle history report from a trusted source like Carfax or Autocheck. With a vehicle history report, not only can you find out a specific car's title status, but you'll also find out about any past accidents, repairs, and ownership history.
If you decide to buy a used vehicle with a lien, there are ways to smooth out the transaction.
Using an escrow service to complete the car sale protects all parties, as they'll make sure any remaining loan payments are satisfied, as well as take care of any necessary paperwork. The escrow service will talk directly with the lienholder, ensuring an easy title transfer.
Another way to buy a car with a lien title is to pay off the remaining loan balance at the lender's office. It's as simple as writing a check for the outstanding loan amount and the lender handing over the vehicle title. If you and the seller agreed on a sale price greater than the remaining loan amount, you could then pay them that sum.
When you need to finance, Shift is with you every step of the way. Most applicants receive approval within minutes instead of days. And financing with Shift is so convenient that nine out of 10 buyers choose us when they need a car loan.
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April 15, 2022
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