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Buying used model 3 from a private seller

I'm about to buy a used tesla model 3 from a private seller. The title however is not clean. Basically, the title is at the bank. Bank says when the seller pays off the loan they will send a clean title on the buyer's name at the seller's request. I can trust the seller on that if we have a notarized bill of sale.

But can I drive the car home without the signed title?

Also

Would I be able to drive it only with a key(card) once the car is reset to a factory setting?

Maybe someone knows the process of buying a used tesla considering that scenario.
 

MorrisonHiker

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Mar 8, 2015
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Colorado
Yes, you can drive a car without having the title. It's quite common that the seller needs to pay off the loan and wait for the bank to send the title. We've sold many cars over the years. Sometimes we have the title in hand and give it to the buyer. Other times, we pay off the title and forward it to the buyer once we receive it from the bank. If you are concerned about not having the title, just keep the bill of sale information with you.

You should be able to drive the car with just the keycards. Alternatively, you could have the seller temporarily add you as a driver of the car on Tesla's website and you will instantly have access to the car in the Tesla app. We use this feature when we sell Teslas as it allows the new buyer to monitor Supercharging and control climate, etc. while driving home in their new Tesla.
 
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Yes, you can drive a car without having the title. It's quite common that the seller needs to pay off the loan and wait for the bank to send the title. We've sold many cars over the years. Sometimes we have the title in hand and give it to the buyer. Other times, we pay off the title and forward it to the buyer once we receive it from the bank. If you are concerned about not having the title, just keep the bill of sale information with you.

You should be able to drive the car with just the keycards. Alternatively, you could have the seller temporarily add you as a driver of the car on Tesla's website and you will instantly have access to the car in the Tesla app. We use this feature when we sell Teslas as it allows the new buyer to monitor Supercharging and control climate, etc. while driving home in their new Tesla.
If the seller insists to reset the car and delete it from the app, should I be concerned about it?

Also, would I be able to register the car at tesla with the bill of sale?
 

MorrisonHiker

Well-Known Member
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Mar 8, 2015
10,553
10,590
Colorado
If the seller insists to reset the car and delete it from the app, should I be concerned about it?

Also, would I be able to register the car at tesla with the bill of sale?
Even if the seller does a factory reset, the car will still be on their account unless they "abandon" it by clicking the Remove Car option on their account. You could try to negotiate with them and see if they would keep the car on their account until you receive the title from the bank. You will need the title in order to register the car with Tesla. Once you have it, either you or the buyer can transfer ownership.

Hopefully the seller will agree to just add you as a driver with access to the car. It's much easier that way for the buyer since you instantly gain access and it shouldn't be any inconvenience to the seller. They would be able to track you, etc. until you transfer the car over. You could offer to reimburse them for any Supercharging or maybe they would offer you a certain dollar amount of Supercharging as part of the sale. You might want to ask about putting that into the contract as well. We've offered free Supercharging with all of the cars we've sold since it allows the driver to fly in and then drive the car back without any issues.
 
Even if the seller does a factory reset, the car will still be on their account unless they "abandon" it by clicking the Remove Car option on their account. You could try to negotiate with them and see if they would keep the car on their account until you receive the title from the bank. You will need the title in order to register the car with Tesla. Once you have it, either you or the buyer can transfer ownership.

Hopefully the seller will agree to just add you as a driver with access to the car. It's much easier that way for the buyer since you instantly gain access and it shouldn't be any inconvenience to the seller. They would be able to track you, etc. until you transfer the car over. You could offer to reimburse them for any Supercharging or maybe they would offer you a certain dollar amount of Supercharging as part of the sale. You might want to ask about putting that into the contract as well. We've offered free Supercharging with all of the cars we've sold since it allows the driver to fly in and then drive the car back without any issues.
Thank you for the tip. I appreciate it. I'll try to ask them. But if they don't agree. Can I still drive the car with the key? Or once they remove it from tesla it will lock itself? As far as I understand id be limited for supercharge
 

jjrandorin

Moderator, Model 3, Tesla Energy Forums
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Nov 28, 2018
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Riverside Co. CA
The keycard will always operate the car. What you wouldnt have access to is the tesla app, and its functions (unless you can do what @MorrisonHiker has suggested).

Not having app access (and supercharger access) might be a consideration if you are buying from someplace that you anticipate needing a supercharger to get home from. If not, then it would just inconvenient, but you could still drive the car.
 

MorrisonHiker

Well-Known Member
Moderator
Mar 8, 2015
10,553
10,590
Colorado
Thank you for the tip. I appreciate it. I'll try to ask them. But if they don't agree. Can I still drive the car with the key? Or once they remove it from tesla it will lock itself? As far as I understand id be limited for supercharge
When you pick it up, the key should still be paired with the vehicle. If not, they should be able to pair it with the vehicle to allow you to drive it.
 
As soon as you pick up the car they should transfer ownership to you on the Tesla website. That will remove it from their account and add it to yours so that the app works for you. You can't legally drive the car without registering it, but many people do by putting on their own plates from another car. If you got pulled over or heaven forbid in a car accident that could certainly be an issue. I had my car in my garage (shipped to me) for about 2 weeks before I finally was able to drive it legally. Kinda sucked but better safe than sorry I figured.
 
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MorrisonHiker

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Mar 8, 2015
10,553
10,590
Colorado
As soon as you pick up the car they should transfer ownership to you on the Tesla website. That will remove it from their account and add it to yours so that the app works for you. You can't legally drive the car without registering it, but many people do by putting on their own plates from another car. If you got pulled over or heaven forbid in a car accident that could certainly be an issue. I had my car in my garage (shipped to me) for about 2 weeks before I finally was able to drive it legally. Kinda sucked but better safe than sorry I figured.
This is incorrect, at least for every state I know of. Whenever you buy a car, you can drive it in-transit. You should have the bill of sale indicating it was just purchased and as long as you aren't breaking any laws, you aren't going to get pulled over. If you are worried about getting pulled over, you can get a temporary permit while waiting to register. You can get insurance in advance so the car is covered. You can't register the car until you have the title and it can take several weeks to get the title. In all states I've lived in, you don't get the title until the loan is paid off but I do remember one of our buyers in MN said they get they title there even if there is a loan on the car.

Also Tesla should require the official registration to transfer the car.

We've sold many cars over the years and our buyers have never had any problems. Sometimes we even let them keep the plates since we no longer need them. They prove the car is registered and the bill of sale shows the new owner of the car.
 
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I bought my Model 3 used last year from a third party dealer, which while different, still applies to your situation in a couple different ways.

1) You can still drive and use a super charger network with just the key card even if the previous owner "abandons the car. You will just be prompted to put in your credit card info each time you charge at a supercharger on your car screen.

2) As previously stated you just need to send in a copy of your registration and a copy of your Driver's License to officially transfer it to your Tesla Account and gain access. This literally took like 3 days from submitting for me but I've heard of longer in some cases. I was able to do it using a temp registration too so don't wait for the full one or you'll just be waiting even longer.

Hope that helps and best of luck on the new car!!
 
I'm about to buy a used tesla model 3 from a private seller. The title however is not clean. Basically, the title is at the bank. Bank says when the seller pays off the loan they will send a clean title on the buyer's name at the seller's request. I can trust the seller on that if we have a notarized bill of sale.

But can I drive the car home without the signed title?

Also

Would I be able to drive it only with a key(card) once the car is reset to a factory setting?

Maybe someone knows the process of buying a used tesla considering that scenario.
Until that title is transferred to you fully, it’s still his car and he can be liable for accidents or loss or tickets (no title, no registration) so you are driving as his guest. Not a problem for you, might become a problem for him.
 
I would get a certified check from the seller in the amount of the payout in addition to a bill of sale then go to the bank and get the title. Or pay him the purchase price less the payout. As registered owner they may need to sign the title at some point also. Maybe go to the bank with them and get it all done there? My son did that with a motorcycle purchase some years ago.

I may be paranoid but with decades of experience in the car business I am always a little wary. If you have a reputable dealer near you the may handle the transaction for a small fee. Something to consider. Of course, laws vary from state to state on how feasible that would be.

I hate title holding states. Wisconsin was one of the last holdouts and went to that system a few years ago. It has the stink of Federal intervention on it.

You don't own that car until you have a clean and clear title in your hand.
 

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