I am trying to buy a car but the owner said she is still paying on the car. How can she sell car if she is still paying for it? Please help.?

I am trying to buy a car but the owner said she is still paying on the car. The owner also said that The California DMV has the loan in their electronic system. If I decide to buy the car, I pay her, we do Bill of Sale, then she pay s off the loan and tell her bank and the DMV that i am now the new owner of the vehicle. She also will fill out a notice of transfer on the DMV website advising them that I am the new owner.

So how can she sell a car if she is still paying on it? And what s the right process?

Suppose I pay her and we do the bill of sale and I take the car home. Now can sjesue me for thefts because I don t have the title? She also can run away with the money by not paying the bank then I have to pay the loan to bank because I would be the legal owner. So how do i make sure that she pay off the load after I give her the money and get the title under my name? Please help. Thank you in advance.

11 Answers

  • Anonymous
    9 months ago


    You say " She also can run away with the money by not paying the bank then I have to pay the loan to bank because I would be the legal owner."

    >>>YOU JUST SCREWED YOURSELF<<<Always Assume the worst that it could happen.

    Thing is; you are not the legal OWNER.  The BANK is. The Bank has the Title.

    Your money is gone and a "Bill of Sale"= Toilet paper...in value(even less) TP you can use to wipe your butt,,,but not this paper. It is scratchy.

    California DMV does specific things.  Maybe they issue the License plates/stickers.  Mine did for awhile until they changed the system...DMV does driver exams mainly. 

    They may do registration of vehicles (though that may go to the DOT-Department of Transportation)another wing of the government.   

    DMV "might" do a vehicle registration search when comparing VIN numbers to see who owns the vehicle. using their computers or if you fabricate a trailer to tow behind your car they may register it for you after they inspect it to make sure it is road worthy and gets a license plate.

    The DMV has "farmed out" many of those jobs to others,

    mainly the insurance companies.

    The insurance company handles the insurance papers, the registration papers, the license plates or stickers,

    But as you are in California, you have multiple insurance agents so the DMV may still be doing it all. They have not modernized procedures.

    All except the FINANCIALS.  That is not DMV's concern. There the owner is lying. So already you can NOT trust what she says.

    She will RUN WITH THE CASH AS SOON AS IT IS IN HER HANDS.  She don't care about you and good luck finding her. You won't.

    .  So you have no title and are missing $20+K.

    .  In this case, you got to think if the positions were reversed and she was trying to buy the car FROM YOU, so hands you the $20K or whatever..."because you said you would go to the bank and pay them off so they would release the title for this buyer you have never met before and will never meet again....while that money is burning a hole in your pocket, you are going out of your way to get the paperwork for her for her. 

    . If you"had any STONES" you would say "#uck this", I am going for a beer.  (It helps with the thinking) (It will dawn on you, she GIFTED YOU the money by handing it over to you and trusted you to do the right thing for her.)- The money has already left you for a beer.

    . This ain't a perfect world. Never has been.

    She can't prove she gave you the money.  All she got is a scrap of paper that says paid in full and a signature that could be "chicken scratching." She could have signed it herself...for your signature.


    Long story short.

    Tell her she has to get the Title herself by getting a short term bank loan to pay off the bank....hand you the title and then you hand her the money after you fill out all the necessary registration or "transfer papers"on paper.  Not on line.  Every insurance agent(&DMV) will have Transfer Papers telling the government who owns the car NOW. She has to sign the papers and so do you and you give her the carbon copy.  As transfer papers are a government form showing a change in ownership.  

    The government follows the life of a car from the day it is manufactured until it ends up in the junk yard taken out of circulation.  They know how to find that car whenever they have to, as the police is an arm of the government that have to seek it out....because maybe someday it is involved in a bank robbery.  If you had owned it, and then transferred it to someone else, it would NEVER come back to you being the owner.


    She has to pay off the amount owing with a short term loan, the bank gives her the title and she hands you the title free and clear of debt. You pay her for the car and she has to go to the bank and pay off the Loan she had taken out BECAUSE THE BANK HAS ENFORCERS TO KNOCK DOWN HER FRONT DOOR TO COME AND COLLECT THE MONEY...Like the cops.  She pays up or she goes to jail for stealing money from the bank.>you yourself do not have enforcers< It is your word against her word...and you will lose your money.

    That is the ONLY WAY YOU DO IT, OR LOOK FOR A CAR WITH A CLEAR TITLE.  There are lots of them.  Don't "buck" with this nonsense.

    You don't want to lose your money and get nothing in return.  She is trying to CON YOU.

  • 9 months ago

    When someone has a loan on the car, you have to involve the bank.

    The specific lender will have their specific policy.

    Option1 = you pay the lender 100% of the purchase price and they pay the current owner the "extra portion" (amount over the loan amount)

    Option 2 = you make two payments = one to the lender and one to the current owner

    The lender will handle the process with the title and dmv.

    The title will be sent to you and the dmv will get your registration information. 

    Source(s): Currently, selling a car in Los Angeles that has a loan on it. The lender has told me the steps to do this and i've done my own research.
  • Bort
    Lv 6
    9 months ago

    While it can be done and is legal to do with no penalties or reprocussions there is a chance of all of those things happening. I suggest staying away from this situation. There's too many things that can possibly go wrong and be a bad situation for you.

    The only way I would agree to buying a car that's still being paid for is if the bank the loan is from allowed me to pay it off personally, then pay the previous owner the balance and do receipt of the sale and title transfer. You can't trust anyone else to actually pay off the loan and not take the money and run or cause other things that would come down on you.

  • 9 months ago

    NEVER buy a car without getting the title at the same time you exchange money. If someone is still paying on a loan, this gets more complicated. The seller must pay off that loan but you must be part of that process in order to make sure you are going to get the title from the loan company. You shouldn't accept a *promise* from the seller that you'll get the title later. Chances are that you won't get it.

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  • Anonymous
    9 months ago

    The only way it can safely be done is if you go with her to her bank, verify what she owes, then pay for it, she pays off the loan, gets the title and signs it over to you.

    I did exactly that for my first decent car nearly 33 years ago. It took minutes and then a few more minutes for the bill of sale.

    If you pay her without getting the title, you could lose the car and never get any of your money back.  But rest assured, nobody else is going to pay her without getting the title at the time of purchase either.

    If her lender is not local, she could get a local loan but that would take at least 2-4 weeks for paying off the one loan, getting another, getting a new title with a new lien and then being able to sell it to you or anyone else.

    She could trade the car in because dealers know how to handle such transactions. And they protect themselves and have the proper paperwork.

    EDIT, I am not in CA and have never dealt with electronic titles.

  • Anonymous
    9 months ago

    If you pay her what happens if she fails to pay off the loan? Simple, you are without a car. The loan company owns the car, not her. Walk away.

  • 9 months ago

    Don't do that. You need to go with her to her lending institution and pay off the loan there. They will sign and stamp the front of the title to release their lien on it. Then you pay the owner the balance of the money you agreed to pay for the vehicle. Have her sign and date the title and write up a bill of sale so each of you have a copy with both of your signatures on it.

  • Poppy
    Lv 7
    9 months ago

    Until the title is in her name ( payed off), she can not sell it. The lender could let you assume the loan, but it requires you talk to them and get their permission. Give her no money for the car, you will loose.

  • y
    Lv 7
    9 months ago

    Avoid getting involved in this transaction. She is not the owner of the car and can't legally sell it to you. The right process, is that she takes out a loan, pays off the car, then sells it to you in the proper manner. Anything else there are too many things that can go wrong, as well as too many ways to intentionally make things go wrong.

    By the way, after you pay her, what would be her rush to pay it off and all that good stuff? 

  • JetDoc
    Lv 7
    9 months ago

    I did this once, several years ago. We contacted the bank that held the loan/title and told them about the sale BEFORE any money changed hands. We made an appointment to meet with the bank and both buyer and seller went to the bank and exchanged cash for the sale. The seller then handed cash to the bank to pay off the loan and the bank released the title. The buyer got the clear title from the bank right away, and was able to transfer title and registration at the local DMV that same day.

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