Buying a used car from a PRIVATE seller who still has a LOAN?

Asked by suelee3333 Feb 04, 2019 at 09:59 AM

Question type: General

Hi all,

Some of my questions may seem stupid, but this is my first time owning and
buying a car so I'm not really sure how it works. I would really appreciate ANY
advice someone can give me.

I just found a car from a private seller. He still has a loan that I will be paying
directly to the company.

What exactly is the process?

Should I meet him at the loaner location, pay the loan to the loaner, and the car
will be transferred over to me on the same day?

I also want a local car mechanic to inspect the car. How long does this process
usually take? Can the car mechanic come to the loaner location to inspect the
car or is it usually brought to the shop? If it is brought to the shop, would the
private seller come with me?

Really not sure how all of this works, would really appreciate any advice you
can give! Thanks!

6 Answers


If you want the car inspected before purchase, you will need to select a garage and make arrangements to have the seller bring the car to the garage. You would also be responsible for paying for the inspection (even if you decide not to buy the car). If you choose to buy the car, I would recommend completing the purchase at the bank that holds the existing car loan. That way, you can validate the amount of the loan and make sure the loan is paid.

1 people found this helpful.

You should get a 'Bill of Sale' signed by the seller and witnessed at the bank. It can take a week or two for the Title to be released and sent to you. If you are getting a loan, your bank or credit union can also help you.

1 people found this helpful.

Thank you so much, Gary! How long does a car inspection *usually* take? Is it reasonable to expect to finish the inspection, payment at bank, and take the car home in one day (maybe within 5 hours)?

*Also: this car is from another state, how will I obtain a license plate to drive it home on the same day?


The inspection depends on how detailed you want the mechanic to be. You will need to ask the garage how long. They usually drive it, then put it on a lift and check tires, brakes exhaust, underside for leaks, etc. Again, you have to talk to the mechanic and see what his level of effort will be and what he will check.

1 people found this helpful.

As for the license plates; you will have to check with your state's Department of Motor Vehicles. In Virginia, you can purchase a 5 day temporary tag to drive the car home. Make sure you make arrangements with your Insurance agent so the car is insured when you drive it home.

1 people found this helpful.

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