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Escrow For Private Car Sale

Hi All.

We are trying to sell our car and we were thinking of to facilitate the money transfer. Since the bank has the title we’ll have to pay them off first before we can give the title to the seller. Obviously takes a cut but it’s not too bad.
Has anybody had experience with or knows of other options?



I’d just deal directly with the bank, do the transfer there, talk to them about how they typically do it.

I have no knowledge or trust in a web site. MANY scams out there.

I’d have to agree with texases, at least in part because even if you overcome your skepticism/uncertainty then you’re going to also have to overcome the skepticism/uncertainty of potential buyers. They already don’t trust you.

That said, I do not have any direct experience with doing things that way. So nothing about that is based on knowing the service or having tried to use it.

If I am interested in a car and told I have to put money in an online escrow account while the bank releases the title I am walking away.

The best option for all parties is for the buyer to pay the bank and cut out the go-betweens. is reputable as far as I’ve heard but why bother. So the questions arise as to type of car, mileage, and how much is owed at the bank. Sometimes the lien amount exceeds the expectations as to what the car will actually sell for.

With a lien in place at the bank, you should have no objection at all to someone paying the bank instead of you personally. If the sale price exceeds the lien amount the bank will give you any overage.

What kind of car are we discussing here? A fully restored C1 Corvette or a 1996 Tempo?

I’ve got to agree. Have the buyer pay the bank directly. The bank is in a better position to determine if the cash is real, the certified check is real, etc. They’ll take the money, release the title, and give you a check for the difference. And at no additional charge. That’s what they do all day. In this day and age, I’d want to deal with someone eyeball to eyeball instead of over the net.

It really is difficult to close a deal on a car sale when a lien is involved. I have been burned buying from a dealership. A certified check payable to the lien holder and a face to face meeting at the lien holders office seems the safest solution for the buyer and seller.

@the same mountainbike

Either one of those cars would be worth a fortune.

Indeed, a 1996 Tempo is an amazing car. Such style and performance isn’t seen every day.

@MarkM: It isn’t seen, ever, considering that the Tempo was discontinued in '94 :wink:

@adamsdad, contact the company that financed your car. They will probably work with you to assist you with making the sale, making escrow fees unnecessary.

Fodaddy, that’s my point. With a valuable classic, escrow may be an appropriate part of the sales/purchasing equation. With a regular daily driver, there’s no way I’d escrow. If a seller wanted an escrow, I’d look elsewhere.

Agreed. What would be interesting is knowing the type of car, some detail about it, and how much is owed to the bank.

If they’re upside down on the note then that’s all the more reason to deal directly with the bank.
That would mean the OP is going to have to be on solid financial ground with the bank if the sale price does not cover the note with the bank providing the title and lien release and working another note with the OP for the shortage.

I think this is the 2014 RAV4 awd that he posted about that he is sorry he bought about 3 weeks ago. He said the seats were uncomfortable and his wife and son got car sick when they rode in it. The term upside down may apply here

Volvo, you may be right.
My guess is that an escrow requirement would only make his job of replacing the car much more difficult. I think he’d be much smarter to simply accept whatever loss he faces and trade the car. Having done this myself once, I appreciate the immediate financial impact, but I have never for one moment regretting absorbing it.

OP, is this the RAV4???

@meanjoe75fan ding ding, we have a winner

If thats true, a 3 week old car? Nothing like making something more difficult for yourself. Now look at it from a buyer’s perspective, who in the world would want to buy a 3 week old car from a private party? Regardless of the story, I would think something is wrong somewhere, plus all the confusion with warrenty, service and so on. It would have to be a deep deep discount to move on that one, plus an escrow? Put $30-40K private sale money in an escrow on a web site? Not for me. Now the dealer has a good shot at reselling it to someone looking for a slight discount on a new car. “Boy do I have something for you. Brand new with a few miles on it, etc. etc. and we’ll knock $3000 off it for the bother.”

I’ve always lived by the rule “the less people with their hands on the money…the better.”

If I am interested in a car and then told to put money in an online escrow account while waiting for the bank to release the title I am walking away.