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Where to get a car loan for a private sale

Compare options for private sale car loans and find out how to get the best deal.

Getting a loan to buy a car from a friend, relative or other private seller works a little differently than getting a loan to buy a car from a dealership. This is especially true if you’re eyeing a used car that is past a certain year or mileage, because lenders have restrictions on what cars they can finance.

Read this guide to learn more about how to finance a used car from a private sale and get the best deal.

Option 1: Get a car loan for a private sale

Some lenders offer vehicle loans that you can use for private car sales.

Car loan providerLoan detailsWhat you need to know
Coast Capital
  • APR: Varies
  • Loan amount: No minimum or maximum
  • Loan term: 18 - 84 months
Requirements: Able to service debt payment of $300/month, min. credit score of 650, no age requirements for the car
Newfoundland and Labrador Credit Union

(Newfoundland and Labrador Credit Union)

  • APR: 5.00% - 7.80%
  • Loan amount: Not disclosed
  • Loan term: Not disclosed
Credit score and income requirements not disclosed. Cars 2017 and older have an APR of 7.8%.Learn more
TD
  • APR: Not disclosed
  • Loan amount: Up to $50,000 if the car is 2016 or older
  • Loan term: Not disclosed
Credit score and income requirements not disclosed. Apply online if the car is 2016 or older (and if you have a TD login ID). For newer cars you’ll need to book an appointment with a branch.

Features of private sale car loans

  • Secured or unsecured. Depending on the age and mileage of the car, the lender may approve you for a secured or unsecured car loan.
  • Varying interest rates. Older cars have higher rates because their resale values have decreased over the years. Rates can be fixed or variable and will also depend on your personal factors, such as credit score and income. Learn more about car loan rates in Canada.

Option 2: Get a personal loan

Another way to finance a used car from a private sale is to get a personal loan. Lenders generally don’t have restrictions on how you can use your personal loan.

1 - 8 of 8
Name Product Interest Rate Loan Amount Loan Term Requirements Link
Loans Canada Personal Loan
Secured from 5.40%, Unsecured 8.00% - 46.96%
$300 - $50,000
3 - 60 months
Requirements: min. credit score 300
Go to site
More Info
A broker with the largest lender network in Canada. Fill out one application and get matched for free with lenders.
goPeer Personal Loan
8.00% - 33.92%
$1,000 - $25,000
36 - 60 months
Requirements: recommended income $40,000/year, no payday loan debt, min. credit score 600
Go to site
More Info
Connects creditworthy Canadians looking for an unsecured loan with Canadians looking to invest. Apply in minutes and get a response within 24 hours.
Spring Financial Personal Loan
17.99% - 46.96%
$500 - $15,000
9 - 48 months
Requirements: min. income $1,800/month, 3+ months employed, min. credit score 500
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More Info
If you're not eligible for an unsecured loan, you may be offered a credit builder loan to help improve your credit score.
SkyCap Financial Personal Loan
12.99% - 39.99%
$500 - $10,000
9 - 60 months
Requirements: min. income $1,600/month, stable employment, min. credit score 550, no bankruptcy
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More Info
Apply in less than 5 minutes for an unsecured loan and if approved, receive financing in as little as 24 hours.
Loanz Personal Loan
29.90% - 46.90%
$1,000 - $15,000
12 - 60 months
Requirements: min. credit score 570, min. income $1,200/month, 3+ months employed
Go to site
More Info
Apply online and get approved in less than 3 minutes. Receive funds in as little as 15 minutes. Borrowers with bad credit or no credit can apply.
LoanConnect Personal Loan
Secured from 10.00%, Unsecured 5.99% - 46.96%
$100 - $50,000
3 - 120 months
Requirements: min. credit score 300
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More Info
Fill out one application with this broker and get pre-approved by different lenders in 5 minutes.
OFFER
Mogo Personal Loan
9.90% - 46.96%
$200 - $35,000
6 - 60 months
Requirements: min. income $13,000/year, min. credit score 500
Go to site
More Info
Get a free quote without affecting your credit score and get an unsecured loan the same day. 100-day money-back guarantee: If you're not happy with your loan, pay back the principal and get the 100 days of paid interest and fees back.
SECURED
Fairstone Secured Personal Loan
19.99% - 24.49%
$5,000 - $50,000
36 - 120 months
Requirements: must be a homeowner, min. credit score 560
Go to site
More Info
Use your home equity to get a secured loan with flexible repayment options. Get a free quote without impacting your credit score.
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Features of personal loans for private vehicle financing

  • Secured or unsecured. You can get a secured personal loan and use an asset like your house as collateral. You can also avoid putting up collateral by getting an unsecured loan.
  • Varying interest rates. Securing your loan with collateral will help lower your interest rate. You can also get a fixed or variable rate. Learn more about personal loan rates in Canada.

Option 3: Use a line of credit

A third option is to borrow from an unsecured or secured line of credit. A secured line of credit will give you lower rates, and assets you can use as collateral include your house or investments. Learn more about line of credit rates.

With a line of credit, you’re approved to borrow up to a limit. You can withdraw the amount you need to pay for the car and pay back the money you owe at any time. However, you must make a minimum payment each month, which is usually equal to the interest.

The risk with lines of credit is lack of discipline with repayments since there’s no deadline to pay off the balance. You could also be tempted to spend more than what you originally planned.

Where can I get a loan to finance a car from a private seller?

If you’re looking to finance a used car from a private seller, you can go to an online lender, bank or credit union.

Interest rateFinance amountLoan term
Online lender5.4% – 46.96%$500 – $50,0003 – 60 months
Learn more
Bank6% – 20%Starts at $3,0006 months – 8 years
Learn more
Credit union6.45% – 11%Starts at $3,0006 months – 8 years
Learn more

Keep in mind that the rates and loan terms shown in the table above are for illustrative purposes only. The loan terms you’re offered may differ based on your financial situation and each lender’s specific finance products.

Features of online lenders

  • Flexible eligibility requirements. Overall, online lenders have more lenient criteria than banks and credit unions. However, you may pay for this benefit with higher rates.
  • Fast. You can complete the process in one to two business days. Some lenders can give you a quote right after you apply without impacting your credit score.
  • Online. The entire process can be done online. On the other hand, banks and credit unions may require you to visit a branch to speak to a loan specialist.
  • Steeper rates. Online lenders on average offer higher rates than traditional lenders, but there are select online lenders that can offer rates that are equal to or better than banks. Most rates from online lenders are fixed.

Features of banks

  • Stricter eligibility requirements. You usually need good to excellent credit to get approved for a private car loan.
  • Slower. Be prepared for the process to take about one to three weeks, from application to funding.
  • In-person meeting. You might be required to speak to a loan specialist. You’ll need to bring documents with you such as recent pay stubs, most recent T4, personal tax return and list of assets and liabilities.
  • Competitive rates. If you have good to excellent credit, get a low interest rate on your loan. Rates can be fixed or variable.

Features of credit unions

  • Stricter eligibility requirements. Like banks, you’ll need good to excellent credit get approved for a private car loan. You may also be required to get a membership with them.
  • Slower. It may take you one to three weeks to get your private auto financing.
  • In-person meeting. Like banks, you’ll meet with a loan specialist to discuss your borrowing needs.
  • Low rates. If your finances are strong, get a competitive rate whether you get a secured loan or unsecured loan. Rates can be fixed or variable.

Our full guide to credit union auto loans

How much do private car loans cost?

The cost of a private car loan depends on the loan amount, loan term and interest rate. For illustrative purposes, below is a breakdown of how much a $12,000 car loan might cost over 5 years at 5.99%, 7.8% and 10.84% fixed APR.

APRLoan amountLoan termMonthly paymentTotal cost
5.99%$12,0005 years$232$13,916 ($1,916 interest)
7.8%$12,0005 years$242$14,530 ($2,530 interest)
10.84%$12,0005 years$260$15,597 ($3,597 interest)

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Pros and cons of private sale car loans

Before applying for a loan to purchase a car from a private seller, consider these pros and cons:

Pros

  • Potentially less expensive overall. The savings in private sale financing comes in the loan amount, rather than interest. Private party sellers often offer cars at a lower price than dealers.
  • More room to negotiate. Private sellers typically aren’t excellent negotiators. And if they just want to get the car out of their hands, they might sell it for lower than the asking price.
  • No sneaky add-ons. Dealerships sometimes upsell you with add-ons you don’t need to inflate the price of your car. This rarely happens when you buy from a private seller.

Cons

  • Higher rates. These types of loans tend to come with higher interest rates than car loans used to buy a vehicle from a dealership.
  • Shorter terms. Lenders also might give you less time to pay back a car loan for a private sale, resulting in higher monthly repayments. Dealerships can sometimes afford to be more flexible in the length of the loan terms offered to you.
  • More paperwork. You have to handle the bill of sale, title and registration transfer and any other paperwork that a dealership might normally handle for you.
  • Less protections. You typically won’t get a warranty when you buy a car outside the dealership. There may be some of the original manufacturer’s warranty left on the vehicle, but this coverage may be limited and when it runs out, you’ll be left to handle all maintenance expenses on your own. Also, if you buy a car with a lien on it, consumer protection laws may not be able to help you.

Am I eligible for a car loan for a private sale?

Each lender has different eligibility requirements, though you typically must:

  • Have strong credit.
    Since lenders consider private sale car loans more of a risk, you typically need strong credit to qualify for favourable financing terms. You can typically lock in a competitive rate with a good credit score of at least 660. It’s possible to get a car loan with a bad credit score, but your interest rate will be higher. In some cases, a cosigner may even be required.
  • Have a car picked out.
    You can only apply for a car loan for a private sale after you know exactly what you’re going to buy.
  • Meet age and mileage requirements.
    Many lenders have restrictions on the age and mileage of the car you’re looking to purchase. Typically, the older the car, the more expensive the loan.
  • Be a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident.
    It can be very difficult to find a car loan for a private sale if you don’t have citizenship or permanent residency status.
  • Be at least 18 or 19 years old.
    In Canada, you need to be at least the age of the majority in your province or territory (either 18 or 19 years old) to take out any type of loan. This is because minors are protected by law so that they cannot be sued if they don’t live up to their obligations or if they change their mind about a sale.

What will I need to provide to finance a private auto sale?

While each lender has its own set of eligibility requirements and application process, there are some overlapping themes. Here’s a look at the key documents you may be asked to provide as you go through the application process:

  • Government-issued ID
  • Recent pay stubs and bank statements
  • List of assets and liabilities
  • Credit score (agree to a credit check)

What if the seller still owes money on the car?

It’s important to find out if there are any outstanding debts on the car before you buy it. You can do this by getting a CARFAX report. If the car has a lien, think twice about buying it. You’ll be on the hook to pay off the loan, and the seller’s lender can repossess the car if you don’t.

If you’re set on buying a car with a loan on it, visit the seller’s bank together and have them clear the debt in front of you first.

Can I get a car loan for a private sale with bad credit?

It depends. Some lenders specialize in private car loans for people with bad credit. You’ll need to demonstrate that you have enough income to cover the debt payments. You may also want to enlist a cosigner with good credit to increase your chances of approval. But if you default on payments, your cosigner will be responsible for paying them.

Watch out for steep interest rates because lenders view borrowers with bad credit as higher risk of defaulting.

5 steps to get a car loan for a private sale

Convinced buying a car from a private seller is right for you? Follow these steps to secure financing:

  1. Find your car. You need to know what car you’re going to buy before you apply for a loan. Have details on hand such as the make, model, year, mileage (if the car is used) and price.
  1. Shop around for a loan. Start by finding lenders you’re eligible to borrow from and then compare APRs (annual percentage rates), terms and fees. Some lenders offer car loan pre-approval, which allows you to compare the rates and terms you qualify for before filling out the full application. This can help seal a deal with a seller because of the confidence they have that your financing is in place. You may even be able to use pre-approval amounts as a negotiation tool.
  1. Apply for financing. Most lenders have an online application, though banks and credit unions might require an in-person visit. With an online lender, you could have the funds as fast as one day.
  1. Fill out the paperwork. At this point, the seller has to sign the title over to you and complete the bill of sale. You can typically drive away in your car as long as the title is transferred over to your name.
  1. Register the title transfer and your car. Once you’ve signed the paperwork, you’ll have to visit your provincial licensing office to register the title transfer and your new car. You’ll have to pay a fee depending on where you live and will likely have to fill out more paperwork. You can often register your car online, though some provinces may require you to report to a physical location to register the title.

6 tips for buying a used car from a private seller

Keep these pointers in mind when buying a used car from a private seller:

  • Check the vehicle’s history. Run a check on the vehicle identification number (VIN) to make sure the car isn’t stolen, hasn’t been salvaged and doesn’t have liens on it.
  • Verify the seller’s identity. Ask to see the seller’s ID and vehicle registration to make sure you’re buying a vehicle from the owner.
  • Have your mechanic look at it. Mechanics tend to favour the person they’re working with — you might get a more honest assessment if you use someone you’ve worked with before, rather than the seller’s.
  • Give it a spin. Test driving your vehicle is the only way to tell if it’s right for you and can help you spot potential problems.
  • See the title before you buy. It’s a red flag if the seller can’t produce the title up front or won’t show it before you sign the bill of sale.
  • Double-check all sale and registration paperwork. Nobody likes delays due to incomplete or sloppy paperwork.

Bottom line

Getting a car loan for a private sale vehicle can be more expensive and take more time than financing a car from a dealership. But the potential savings on the actual price of the car might just make it worth it.

Learn about other car financing options by reading our car loans guide.

Frequently asked questions about car loans for private sales

Pictures: Getty Images

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