How to Sell a Vehicle You Still Owe Money On

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Often you can get more money by selling your car privately rather than trading the car in when purchasing a new car. However, it can be difficult to sell your car when you still owe money on it. It does take a few extra steps, and the purchaser may have to wait a week or two to receive the title, but the extra money you get for the car should outweigh the inconvenience of selling your own car.

Check the value of your car with Kelly Blue Book. When looking up the value, use the private seller option. Be honest about the condition of your car and price it according to the quote you get.

Compare the price of your car to similar ones on the market. Depending on your area, you may need to lower the price in order to sell the car quickly.

Find out the pay-off amount for your car loan from your bank. Explain to your bank that you would like to sell the car privately and ask how you will be able to transfer the title once you sell the car. Some banks will have the title transferred to a local branch so you can transfer the title as soon as you pay off the car. Others will mail you the title a week or two after you have paid off the loan, and you will have to transfer the title once you get the mail.

Come up with the difference of your asking price for the car and the amount you owe on the loan. Since cars depreciate in value, most people owe more on their cars than they are actually worth. You will need to have the difference available before you can sell your car.

Post a sales notice for your car on online advertising sites, such as Craigslist, or in your local classifieds. List the price, the mileage and the condition of the car. If possible, post pictures of the car as well.

Sell the car to the person with the best offer. Give the buyer a written receipt for the purchase, and have the buyer sign it as well. On the receipt, state the car is sold as is and no repairs or warranties are offered on the car. Exchange the title as soon as you can.


  • Ask for a cashier’s check, money order or cash for payment on the car. This means you will not have to worry about the payment not clearing once you have sold the car.