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Private party auto loan: What it is and how to find one Advertiser Disclosure Advertiser Disclosure We are an independent, advertising-supported comparison service. Our mission is to help you make better financial decisions by providing you with interactive financial calculators and tools that provide original and objective content. This allows users to conduct research and compare data at no cost – so you can make financial decisions without trepidation. Bankrate has partnerships with issuers including, but not limited to, American Express, Bank of America, Capital One, Chase, Citi and Discover. How We Make Money The offers that appear on this website are provided by companies who pay us. This compensation could affect how and where products are displayed on this site, including the sequence in which they appear within the listing categories, except where prohibited by law for our loan products, such as mortgages and home equity and other home lending products. This compensation, however, does affect the information we publish, or the reviews appear on this website. We do not cover the entire universe of businesses or financial deals that could be open to you.


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5 min read Published October 13, 2022

Writen by Rebecca Betterton Written by Auto Loans Reporter

Rebecca Betterton is the auto loans reporter for Bankrate. She specializes in assisting readers to navigate the details of using loans to buy the car they want.

Edited by Rhys Subitch Edited by Auto loans editor

Rhys has been writing and editing for Bankrate since the end of 2021. They are dedicated to helping readers gain confidence to manage their finances with clear, well-researched information that breaks down otherwise complex subjects into digestible pieces.

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Private party loans are more easy to obtain than conventional loans. But lenders may charge more because buying from an individual is considered more risky than purchasing from an agent. Despite the higher cost associated with private party auto loans There are methods to locate lenders who offer auto loans that you can afford. What is a private party auto loan? The private-party auto loan allows you to finance a car that is sold through the proprietor, and not a dealer. A purchase from an individual typically means paying less for the vehicle. However, because they pose greater risk for the lender, they’re not as widely available like other auto loans and frequently they come with greater interest. “Because because of the nature of private party loans, rates can be higher than what you’d see if you went to a dealership,” says Strati Papageorge, senior vice president of product management for autos at PNC Bank. “But the price for the customers is typically a lower vehicle price, so they can still have an affordable price.” The good news is that there are ways to mitigate the drawbacks associated with private-party auto loans and to find the lender who can provide an auto loan that you are able to manage to pay for. What happens when you take out a private-party auto loan operates Your budget and the availability in your area of used cars are the biggest factors to consider. The financing process is quite similar to buying an used or new car at a dealer. Set up a budget your budget, begin by looking at your credit history and score to figure out what loan amount you could be eligible for. Once you know the state of your credit, it will be much easier to decide what you’ll be able to pay in cash and figure out how much you will need to finance. Check out lenders once you know what vehicle you intend to purchase, for prospective lenders who offer private-party auto loans. Compare rates of interest, loan terms, monthly payments, fees and penalties. Because private party loans tend to be more costly and require preapproval prior to you start looking. This way, you will have a strong idea of what you can spend — and what you’ll be paying each month. Choose a vehicle Private sales are naturally restricted to local inventory and you must keep a few options in mind when searching for a used car. Review the estimates for cost-to-own from trusted sources like Edmunds as well as Kelley Blue Book. These estimates can help you navigate toward a reliable car. You might be able to use a national website to locate the perfect car, but traveling for an initial test drive and then purchase — and having to deal with title transfers outside of state — may be more hassle than the car is worth. When you’re ready to purchase privately, review the laws of your state regarding title transfers. They should be on the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles’ website. Close the deal after you locate a vehicle and have signed the loan agreement, your lender will mail the check directly to you or to the seller. If either you or the seller choose to direct deposit, be sure the seller knows that transferring funds could take a few days. Your lender will send you payment due dates and an estimate of the amount of money that will be allocated to interest and principal every month. If you can, opt for autopay. It is a great method to ensure that you are paid on time without writing checks or constantly checking into an online account. Just be sure to check that payments have gone through each month. Where can I find private-party auto loans Many large financial institutions — such as community banks local credit unions, local credit unions and online lenders — offer private party auto loans.The vehicle must meet certain criteria. For instance, lenders typically require the car to not be older than 10 years with less than 100,000 miles. Some lenders might have an upper limit on the loan amount. If the car you’d like to purchase is valued at $6,000 and the lender does not offer loans this small, you will have look for a different lender. Carefully review the lender’s criteria before submitting a request for a private auto loan to avoid taking a hit to your credit score for an loan you’re not eligible for. How to apply for a private-party auto loan Once you have found the vehicle you want to buy from a private owner be prepared to provide a lender with your basic personal information, including: Your full name and birth date, address, Social Security number and contact information. Information about your income and employment. Current debt obligations, like mortgages. You must also have certain documents and details about the car you are planning to purchase, such as Model and make, year and mileage. The VIN, or vehicle identification number. or VIN. Bill of sale that outlines the purchase contract. Copy of the vehicle registration. Copy of the title to the vehicle. A written payoff quote of the vendor’s lender in the event of a need. If your credit isn’t good, consider holding off on the purchase until you’ve got . Waiting a few months will not change your credit score from bad to perfect however it could be enough to earn you some savings on interest rates and monthly payments. Four reasons to think about an alternative to a private loan Although private-party auto loans might have higher interest rates than standard auto loans, there are some advantages to staying away from a dealer. There are better vehicle deals Prices for sales from tend to be lower than they are at auto dealerships. If you take out a private-party auto loan it gives you the benefit of financing like that you can at a dealer plus the savings the private sale has to provide. It may be cheaper than an individual loan which is more likely to be more expensive since it’s not secured. A lender assumes more risk in the absence of collateral to support the loan if the borrower defaults. They are flexible instead of being restricted to the services offered by a dealer it is possible to purchase the vehicle you want at a cost you can afford from a private owner. There are loan options for bad credit: Even those who have poor credit might be eligible for private-party auto loans. But like all loans for borrowers with bad credit, they come with higher interest rates and monthly payments as well as an overall higher cost. Alternatives to private party auto loans If you did not be approved or couldn’t locate an auto loan from a private party loan that is compatible with the vehicle you want to buy You have other options that to purchase by selling it to a private dealer. Compare the personal loans The most suitable alternative to a private auto loan is to take out an . With unsecured personal loans that are secured, the lender examines your credit score and income to determine loan eligibility. The car won’t play a role in the decision to approve. This may be a good alternative if the vehicle you want to buy is old or has too many miles on it. The vehicle is being bought using the salvage title. Minimum loan amount is greater than you want to borrow. While a personal loan could give you the opportunity to buy the car you want however, it is likely to carry a higher interest rate than a private auto loan and could end up costing you more in the end. Shop at a dealership Dealers might have more expensive prices over private sales, however it’s much easier to obtain a loan. If you’ve been rejected for an auto loan check to see if you are eligible for financing in-house offered through the retailer. It is possible to qualify for a used vehicle loan with the same lender that previously rejected you for the private loan. Make savings if you’re not in a hurry or haven’t found the right private sale yet, continue making savings. The more you can save for a car, the less money you will have to spend overall. If you’re contemplating older, lower-cost models that aren’t eligible for a traditional loan it isn’t necessary to take on extra risks by financing the car by using an individual loan. The bottom line Private party auto loans are a fast, easy alternative to buying a car outside of the stressful environment of a dealership. They’re not as widespread however, you’ll be able to locate competitive options from a variety of lenders. Since the costs for private purchases are lower than dealership prices, you may be able to save cash.


Authored by Auto Loans Reporter

Rebecca Betterton is the auto loans reporter for Bankrate. She has a specialization in helping readers to navigate the ins and outs of securely using loans to buy a car.

Editor: Rhys Subitch Edited by Auto loans editor

Rhys has been writing and editing for Bankrate since late 2021. They are committed to helping readers gain confidence to manage their finances by providing concise, well-studied and well-researched content that break down complex topics into manageable bites.

Auto loans editor

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