Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

Selling a car when bank owns the title

I have a gas-hog 2002 Nissan Xterra that I still owe money one. I want to sell it but I have no idea how I sell a car when the bank holds the title. Can someone give me advice about this?

Contact the bank. They will tell you how to handle it. You’ll have to do it when you sell. If you do it now, you can factor their requirements into your plans. The general idea is that when you pay off the loan, they will sign the title over to you. If you trade the Xterra, the dealer will handle the transaction with your bank. They will roll the money owed on the Xterra into your new loan. This is called being upside-down, and I strongly suggest that you avoid it at all costs. I suggest that you keep the Xterra until it is paid off, then sell it if you wish. The costs associated with selling it now are quite likely a lot more than you will ever see in gas savings. It’s not so much about how much gas you use, but how much it costs to buy your car and keep it running.

This is very helpful information & advice. Thank you.

Agreed. Keep it until it’s paid for, make extra payments if you can.
You never know; with this c4c deal going on and people are trading Explorers for Focus’, they’ll likely tire of being cramped inside these shoe-mobiles that they’ll wanna trade back up for something bigger

Do you know how many payments you have left on your car loan? The bank will hold the title (or in some states put a lien on the title) that means the bank must be paid before the car can be sold. If you have a few payments, get the loan “payoff” amount and see if you can handle it. Pay of the car loan, get the title, and then you can sell the car.

If you can find a buyer, take him to the bank where the title is held, do the deal, pay off the bank, they will sign the title over to your buyer. Many times with big banks, the title is in an office a thousand miles away. Then, you must pay off the loan and get the title before you can sell it…

You can get the title certificate from the back that holds the title. BUT, the certificate will state that the bank is the lien holder of the title, so if you try to sell the car you will not get ‘clear possession’ of the title until the lien (outstanding balance of what you owe the bank) is satisfied. This can be accomplished in one step if you can sell the vehicle for at least as much as you owe, in which case the buyer should make the check out to BOTH you and the bank, so neither can cash it without the other. The buyer would be crazy to give you a check in your name only without a clear title in your name alone. What you then do is sign the check over to the bank in exchange for the clear title (if you make a profit the bank will give you the difference) - they then sign the check (remember - it is made out to both parties, so cannot be cashed until both sign) and your obligation is discharged. If you cannot sell it for as much as you owe, then you will still be required to have the check made out to both you and the bank, but you will have to make up the difference between the sale price and what you owe the bank in order for them to release the title to the purchaser. I’m an amateur, but just took out a loan to buy a used car with a clear title, so am looking at both types of titles (a copy of the clear title, which was turned into the DMV when mine took effect).