How To Buy a Car with a Lien on It

Liens may be applied on all sorts of properties, including cars. A lot of people prefer to finance and pay for the cars they buy themselves, but it is also possible for you to choose a car that comes with a lien. Here are some steps that you need to follow in order to easily purchase cars with liens.

  • Identify. First of all, you need to understand who actually has ownership of the lien over the car that you are planning on buying. Usually, the lien holder is written down in the car dealership’s accounting and file books. Simply ask the car dealer who the lien owner is. When dealing with car dealerships, you will usually be referred to companies as lien owners. These companies usually make a business out of liens. Make sure that the car dealer can show you documentation and other proof as to the identity of the lien holder.
  • Ownership transfer. Once you have determined the lien holder, the next step is to find out what you need in order for the lien to be transferred to you. The ownership transfer can usually be determined simply by talking to the lien holder. Most lien holders will be willing to give you the ownership for the car if you are going to pay up front for the car, using cash. If you will be paying on an installment basis, however, the procedure can be a bit more complicated.
  • Payment. Because the car has a lien on it, payment is usually done to two parties. The first party that you need to pay off is the car lien holder. The car lien holder will tell you how much the loan for the car is, which will be the lien that you will pay. Next, you will also need to pay the dealership where you have purchased the car. You only need to pay the reminder of the balance for the dealership. If you are not able to pay the car in one session, you will need to talk to the car lien holder, so that the payment options can be discussed.
  • Registration. One of the biggest hurdles that you will need to face when purchasing cars that have liens in them is the registration. Because the lien holder will still need to process the change of title and registration from their company to you, you will need to wait a while for the registration and the title for the car. This can take anywhere from a couple of days up to a couple of weeks. While waiting, however, the lien holder should provide you with the sales bill that contains information about the lien holder, which you can use to identify ownership for your car.
  • Safety. Whenever purchasing items as expensive as cars, make sure that you always look for supporting documents, and that you receive payment receipt after you have paid the amounts due.

With these steps, you should be able to acquire a new car – even if it comes with a lien.


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