I Owe Money on My Car Loan. Should I Sell to Craigslist or a Dealership?


Ready to sell your vehicle and upgrade your ride? Maybe you’re looking into selling your vehicle to pay off some debt, or you simply want a lower monthly payment. Whatever your reason, it can be confusing trying to sell your vehicle if you still owe on your loan.

We’ve broken it down for you here, but as always, our team is here to answer all of your questions. If you still don’t quite understand the process or have a question we didn’t cover, feel free to call us at 910-459-2591 or contact us below.


Get Your Car Value | Contact Us


How to Sell on Craigslist

Selling to a private party can pose a few obstacles and will take time. When you list your vehicle for sale, be up front with potential buyers by letting them know that you do not have the title in hand and there is a loan balance. This way you don’t lose time dealing with buyers who won’t be interested in navigating through the process with you.

If someone makes a reasonable offer, you’ll need to communicate with your lender to find out how they handle the transfer process. Does your lender have a physical location near you? If so, you and the buyer will go to the local branch to get a copy of the title and conduct the transaction. The buyer will pay the bank, covering any balance on your loan, and you will receive the remainder. The title will then be transferred over.

What if the buyer needs a loan themselves? In that case, they should ask their bank to conduct the transaction between themselves, you, and your lender. There are often processes in place for this situation.


Is your buyer paying cash?


This is where things can get tricky. There will be delay between the funds clearing and the title being released – so how can you both protect yourselves? Escrow services are a great solution here. An escrow account will hold the money until you’re secure a lien release and other required paperwork from your lender. The buyer will then notify the escrow account that they are in possession of the vehicle, and the account will be released to you. Be sure that you conduct a meeting in person first, as escrow accounts have been used fraudulently before. There will also be a fee for using an escrow account; you and the buyer can split it since you’re both benefiting from using the service.

How to Sell to a Dealership

If the process outlined above has you ready to throw your hands in the air, don’t worry. It can be done! But it’s also simple and streamlined when you sell to a dealership, as we are well versed in automotive sales and financing requirements. If you decide to sell to a dealer, they will handle the paperwork for you. You can trade it in for your next vehicle, and the dealer will give you a credit for the difference to put towards your new ride.

Do you owe more than your vehicle is worth? That’s what we refer to as being “upside down” in your loan. A dealership will add the negative equity into the loan on your next vehicle so you can still upgrade your ride.

What is Best for Me?

If you’re looking for a sure-fire way to sell your vehicle, selling to a dealership is your best and safest bet. The team here at Don Williamson Nissan is ready to answer any questions you might have about selling your vehicle and we want to make sure you understand all of your options.

Call us at 910-459-2591 or contact us below to speak with one of our automotive specialists today.