How To Sell a Car With a Loan In 2022

If you have been wondering how to sell a car with a loan, it’s not difficult – it just takes a few extra steps and may take a bit longer.

When you have a loan, the lender owns a portion of the vehicle. The lender’s name may appear on the car title, or the lender may possess the title. This ensures that you cannot sell the vehicle and transfer the title to the new owner without the lender receiving payment — or the loan balance.

Whether you want to sell your car to a private party or trade it to a dealer, you’ll need to know how much you still owe on your loan, whether it’s more or less than what you can obtain by selling your car, and how your lender expects you to handle the transaction.

This article will inform you about how to sell a car with a loan.

What You Should Know Before You Sell a Car With a Loan

When you take out an auto loan, your lender becomes a co-owner of the vehicle. For example, the lender’s name could appear on the vehicle title. On the other hand, some lenders keep the title until the loan is paid off.

In other words, because you are not the sole owner of the vehicle, you cannot sell a financed vehicle without first settling with the lender. To transfer car ownership to future buyers, you must first pay off your loan and secure the vehicle.

As a result, the first thing you should do is figure out how much money is still owed to you. This will assist you in determining whether selling the car will pay off the debt.

Your lender will offer you the necessary information regarding the payback amount and how to proceed with the transaction. Lenders can walk you through the many financial stages and explain how to sell a car with a loan and transfer ownership.

If you opt to sell your vehicle privately, your lender must complete the transaction. To complete the transaction, local bank branches usually let you and the buyer sign the paperwork in one of their offices.

On the other hand, an online lender will work through a partner (a bank or other financial entity).

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Positive Equity In a Private Sale

The buyer will pay the whole amount to the lender, who will pay you the difference. Alternatively, the buyer will pay off your outstanding loan sum and make a separate payment to you.

For example, if you still owe $5,000 and your buyer pays $15,000 for your car, you’ll pocket $10,000 from the sale.

You and the lender then sign the title and give to the buyer. The buyer brings the signed title (together with any other required documentation) to the state’s motor vehicle department and obtains a new registration and title.

A title in hand can greatly simplify a private-party sale. If you have good credit, you may be able to get an unsecured personal loan to pay off the total amount owed on the car.

The lender will not be listed on the title in the case of an unsecured loan. The title will be delivered to you, and the car will be yours exclusively.

However, even if your credit is excellent, the rates on unsecured personal loans will be greater than those on typical vehicle loans; pay it off as soon as you receive the buyer’s check.

Negative Equity In a Private Sale

You must pay the difference between the sale price and what you owe to the lender when you owe more than the car is worth.

The buyer will pay the lender the sale price. You are responsible for the difference. For example, if you still owe $10,000 but your buyer is willing to pay $9,000 for your car, you would pay the $1,000 difference to the lender.

The title is then signed by you and a lender representative and given to the buyer to obtain a new title and registration.

You can get a personal loan to make up the difference if you have strong credit. Personal loans are more expensive than most vehicle loans, therefore you should pay them off as soon as feasible.

A clear title can make a private transaction considerably easier. If you have good credit, you may be able to get an unsecured personal loan to pay off the total amount owed on the car. The lender will not be listed on the title in the case of an unsecured loan.

The title will be delivered to you, and the car will be yours exclusively. When the car sells, you can pay off most of the loan.

How To Sell a Car With a Loan

Selling a car can be difficult, and it can be considerably more difficult if you still owe money on the vehicle. It is slightly easier to sell a vehicle outright, but you have various options when selling a financed vehicle.

The particular course of action you take will be determined by several criteria, including the location of your loan and whether the purchaser is a dealer or a private buyer.

1. Calculate Your Payoff Amount

It’s a good idea to start by asking your lender for advice and determining how much you owe. Get a payoff letter from your lender to make it official.

This official document specifies the payout amount, the date by which the sum is still correct, and directions for making the payment, such as approved modes of payment or where to wire the money.

You may not know when you will sell your vehicle, and interest costs will modify your loan amount daily.

You won’t be taken off guard if you have all the information. Your payment amount includes the interest you owe until the time you expect to pay off your loan, as well as any additional unpaid expenses.

As a result, it may differ from your current balance, which is the amount you owe on the car.

When contacting your lender, ask if they have any options for selling the car while the loan is still in place. Your lender may even have a local office where you and the buyer can meet, making the transaction go more smoothly.

Potential prepayment penalties and the projected processing time for acquiring the title once the lien on the vehicle has been released are topics to inquire about. Specifics will vary based on the state in which you live.

You’re unlikely to sell your car while the loan is still owing. Instead, you’ll most likely pay off the debt at or before the sale. After you have paid off the loan, the lender will remove the lien on your vehicle and you will be able to transfer the title to the buyer.

2. Repay the Loan

If feasible, try to pay off your debt before selling your car. You’ll have a clear title that you can simply sign over to the buyer this way.

This appeals to consumers the most, so you’ll have an easier time selling the car. If you wish to sell a financed car without paying it off, obtaining the title will be difficult, so some purchasers may be hesitant.

When it comes to repaying your debt, the following are some best practices to follow:

Find out how much your current vehicle is worth.

Use tools like the National Automobile Dealers Association’s (NADA) Guides or the Kelley Blue Book to estimate the value of your vehicle so you can negotiate a reasonable price.

If you have negative equity, postpone the sale or pay off debt.

If you’re underwater on your automobile loan—that is, you owe more than the car is worth—you’ll need to come up with extra cash to pay it off.

You may choose to postpone the sale until you can afford to pay off the debt and attain a positive equity position, or you may choose to proceed if you can raise the funds elsewhere.

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Think about borrowing.

If you wish to remove the loan lender’s name from the title but don’t have the money to pay off the debt, try taking up a low-interest loan with a short repayment term and repaying it when you receive money from the sale of the vehicle.

3. Give it a clear title.

Transferring the title to your buyer completes the transaction and allows him to register the vehicle in his name.

In most cases, transferring the title entails signing the back of the title to signify that you are handing over ownership to the buyer.

You may also be required to provide the buyer with a bill of sale, including the seller’s contact information, the sale date, the sale price, the vehicle’s odometer reading, and the signatures of both parties. Specific regulations differ from one state to the next.

In Alaska, for example, the title functions as a bill of sale and provides the buyer with all of the information required to register the car in their name.

To demonstrate to the seller that you paid off the car, obtain a signed lien release or a statement on the lender’s letterhead saying that the lender has no financial interest in the vehicle.

Buyers will often refuse to pay unless you have a clear title that you can provide during the sale. A clean title is free of any encumbrances.

If you still owe money on the car, you won’t have a clear title. If the vehicle is still funded, the lienholder’s name will appear on the title to represent the lienholder’s financial stake in the vehicle.

How To Sell a Car With a Loan To a Dealer 

A financed car can be sold with or without payment by trading it with a dealer or selling it to a private buyer.

Trading in your car is frequently more convenient than selling it to an individual. It’s easy to discover dealers, and they handle deals like this all the time, so they’ll do all the paperwork behind the scenes.

Many dealerships may finish the transaction in a single day. 9 It’s the next greatest option in terms of convenience after paying off your loan ahead of time.

The trade-off is that the convenience of trading in your financed vehicle does not come free of charge. You’ll usually earn less money for your car than if you sold it to a private buyer.

If you have negative equity, some dealerships may incorporate the cost of the negative equity into the new car loan, so you may end up transferring debt from one vehicle to another.

Debt can quickly spiral out of control.

See Also: What Credit Score Do You Need To Buy A Car In 2022?

How To Sell a Car With a Loan To a Private Buyer

When you sell your automobile to a private buyer who wants to own and use it, you’ll frequently get the best price. You might be able to sell it for more than the wholesale price.

You can also sell without a title if you’re in a hurry. If the buyer believes you, they might purchase the vehicle to understand that the title is not yet accessible. This is problematic for the buyer because they may have problems with vehicle registration or be suspected of having a stolen car by law enforcement.

However, if the buyer is agreeable and you document everything, you may be able to hand over the keys, pay off the loan with the sales proceeds, and sign over the title once your lender releases the lien.

When selling to a private party, be wary of fraud. Accepting only cash is one approach to avoid this problem, but another is to utilize a neutral middleman to ensure the transaction goes successfully.


If you are selling to a private party, you may be required to attend a state agency to execute the transfer. To register a vehicle in most jurisdictions, the buyer must go to the state agency that administers vehicle titles and produce a certificate of title as proof of ownership.

In general, dealerships will send the application for vehicle registration and the certificate of title on behalf of the buyer, but a private buyer will have to do this themselves.

If the buyer fails to complete these measures to properly transfer ownership, the seller may be held accountable for the new owner’s costs or potentially accident-related expenses.

This implies you may need to accompany the buyer to your state agency to ensure a seamless transfer of ownership.

See Also: Can I Buy a Car with a Credit Card? How to Get that Done in Less time


Yes, you can sell your car while still owing money on it! It will necessitate a few extra procedures, but continue reading for a step-by-step guide to selling a car with a loan.

The title or bill of sale for older automobiles serves as proof of ownership. You cannot sell a car that you do not own or have proof that you are the owner. You should contact your state’s department of motor vehicles for more assistance if you have a missing title.

In a nutshell, it depends. Finally, if you have a high-interest loan or want to lower your DTI (debt-to-income) ratio to apply for another loan in the future, it is a good idea to pay it off early. However, returning your loan too soon can have a minor impact on your credit score, and selling a car that you can’t afford won’t help either.

If your lender agrees to the transfer, you can avoid loan repayment by using this option. When you transfer the loan, you also lose ownership of the vehicle.

To sell a car online, you need to select a trustworthy online platform with low fees. You should clean the automobile and take multiple shots of the inside and outside. If any repairs are required, state so in your listing. Determine how much to sell your car by using the Kelley Blue Book value and listings for vehicles of the same make, model, and year as yours. To guarantee that the transaction goes successfully, you may want to hire an escrow service.


If you’re wondering how to sell a car with a loan, there are various choices available, including dealerships and private buyers.

You must, however, be aware of your loan arrangement and the amount you still owe to your lender. To make a profit, you should ideally sell with positive equity.



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