How do you buy an encumbered car? | finder.com
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How do you buy a car that’s still under finance?

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What to do when your dream car has a loan on it.

Buying a car that someone hasn’t paid off isn’t impossible. But you’ll need to take some extra steps to make sure that title is clear. Otherwise, you could be responsible for more debt than you bargained.

What does it mean when a car is under finance?

If a car is under finance it means that the current owner hasn’t completely paid off a secured car loan. Secured car loans use the car as collateral in case the borrower defaults on the loan. If a borrower misses a payment, the bank will repossess the car.

Cars purchased with unsecured loans, credit cards or cash are not under finance because the buyer has paid for the car with their own money or with a loan that they’re personally held accountable for.

Compare loans for a car under finance

Rates last updated January 21st, 2019

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Name Product Product Description Min. Credit Score Term of Loan Requirements
car.Loan.com Car Loans
Apply with a simple online application to get paired with a local auto lender. No credit and bad credit accepted.
300
Varies by lender
Must be a US citizen with a current US address and employed full-time or have guaranteed fixed income.
Auto Credit Express Car Loans
Get connected with an auto lender near you, even if you have bad credit.
300
Typically 3 to 6 years
Must be employed full-time or have guaranteed fixed income of at least $1,500/month and be a current resident of the US or Canada.
LightStream Auto Loans
Quick car loans from $5,000 to $100,000 with competitive rates for borrowers with strong credit.
Good to excellent credit
Flexible terms
Good or excellent credit, enough income or assets to afford a new loan, US citizen or permanent resident, 18+ years old
LendingClub Auto Refinancing
Lower your monthly car payments and save on interest through a fast and easy online application process.
Fair or better credit
Minimum of 2 years
Car must be less than 10 years old with fewer than 120,000 miles. Current loan must have a balance between $5,000 and $55,000 and at least 24 months left in its term.
RateGenius Auto Loan Refinance
Connect with a network of over 150 lenders to refinance your car loan.
510
Varies
Income of $2,000+/month, vehicle has less than 150,000 miles and is no older than 8 years, loan balance is between $10,000 and $100,000, debt-to-income ratio is less than 50%
LendingTree Auto Loans
Compare multiple financing options for auto refinance, new car purchase, used car purchase and lease buy out.
Good to excellent credit
Typically 1 to 7 years
Must be a US citizen and 18+ years old. Must have good to excellent credit.

Compare up to 4 providers

Why is it hard to buy a car with a loan on it?

It can be hard to buy a car with a loan on it because the loan is attached to the car, not the owner. In other words, whoever owns the car is responsible for paying off the loan.

If the seller doesn’t pay back the loan, then the buyer could be in for a nasty surprise. To make sure you’re not taking on a debt-riddled car, you need to take some extra steps to buying a car with a clear title.

How can I buy a car with a loan on it?

Creating an open, honest environment is key to buying a car under finance. Here are some steps to take before buying a car under finance

Should I buy a car that’s under financing?

There’s nothing wrong with buying a financed car, but the responsibility is on you to make sure that the car will have a clean title when all is said and done with the sale. If you find the right car, don’t be put off by existing finance — just make sure everything is out in the open.

Dealers are required to prove cars aren’t under any sort of financing, however, private sellers aren’t subject to the same regulations.

Compare car loans

Bottom line

It’s possible to buy a car that the owner hasn’t already paid off yet. But you’ll need to make sure that you aren’t signing up for more debt than you bargained for by making sure the title is free.

Not worth the effort? Check out our car loans page to learn about your other financing options.

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