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Need Help- Buying Tesla car from private party

mhk4274

Member
Feb 10, 2016
14
3
NY
I confirmed with a seller to buy a used 2014 Tesla S for a set price. The vehicle has lien from Chase bank. The seller was recommending to pay the bank directly for the amount owed and the bank would transfer the lien to my name. The seller is based out of florida and I live near Philadelphia. This is the first time I am buying a car from a private party. How confident can I buy a car with a vehicle having lien with a bank? I don't need to take a loan to pay the seller so I am fine if the bank transfers the lien to my name. Can someone help me guide the process of buying this tesla from the pri
 

MsElectric

Active Member
Oct 11, 2014
1,604
18
New York
I confirmed with a seller to buy a used 2014 Tesla S for a set price. The vehicle has lien from Chase bank. The seller was recommending to pay the bank directly for the amount owed and the bank would transfer the lien to my name. The seller is based out of florida and I live near Philadelphia. This is the first time I am buying a car from a private party. How confident can I buy a car with a vehicle having lien with a bank? I don't need to take a loan to pay the seller so I am fine if the bank transfers the lien to my name. Can someone help me guide the process of buying this tesla from the pri

I just feel the suggested course of action is dangerous in that when a bank loan is paid off, the lien is generally not assigned to another third party but the lien is released and the lien release is sent to the owner. I feel the seller should settle the lien separately and when they have a clear title then you buy the car.

The suggested course of action would make me feel weary.
 

sorka

Well-Known Member
Feb 28, 2015
7,858
5,778
Merced, CA
I bought a used car in Florida once remotely from California. Worst car buying mistake I ever made. The seller completely lied about everything and the owner of the company I hired to do the independent inspection was friends with the seller.
 

CHG-ON

Still in love after all these miles
Jun 24, 2014
3,079
636
Santa Cruz Mountains, USA
Have you seen and driven the car? If not, stay away. But I do think that you can arrange a clean transfer of title to you when you fund the purchase. But be aware, it will take A LOT of work on your part to make sure it works smoothly. A lot.

I personally wouldn't bother with the hassle. It's big.
 

Quantum`

Member
Oct 17, 2015
162
7
Seattle, WA
You can not sue someone in another state and win, no matter the merit of your case. They will always cite lack of personal jurisdiction.

I've learned my lesson. (except I will still buy from Manheim and another auction)

In your case you run the very real and dangerous risk of paying off this guy's loan and not getting the title transfer.
 

whitex

Well-Known Member
Sep 30, 2015
6,450
7,637
Seattle area, WA
There are ways to do this, but since this is large purchase I would suggest speaking with a lawyer. For a fee they can probably facilitate the transaction and then at least you are sure all the "t's" are crossed and "i's" dotted. It's possible that all you need is a form allowing you to pay off the car to get the title - that is how dealers do it when they trade-in a car with lien on it (they also require a valid payoff amount quote from the bank so they know how much the payoff has to be).

All that said, I would not buy a used car from a private party without being able to drive it first, but maybe that's just me.
 

Jammyfofo

P3D+ 9/25 order
Jan 19, 2016
55
51
Austin, TX
Escrow.com is recommended by all of the car sites and worth a check. It will take longer for the seller to receive their money, but both parties are better protected if anything goes awry. You're able to set up the price, conditions to how long you have to accept the car before seller receives the money, and they offer lien payoff. It is mentioned that some banks will still decide to send the title to owner even after a lien release.
 

mhk4274

Member
Feb 10, 2016
14
3
NY
Finished test driving the TESLA that I wanted. Like the vehicle (2014, 85Kwh) and negotiated the price.
The vehicle has less than 5K miles. The seller also is scheduling a maintenance appointment at Tesla SC on my request, so I can know if there are any issues. Once the seller emails me the maintenance report, I will become more confident.Till this moment, the seller was willing to accommodate all my requests and seems to be very honest.
Based on the thread from KANDIRU

- - - Updated - - -

Based on the thread from KANDIRU (Sight Unseen Used 85D Step by Step), I am going to take the following steps:

1) The seller is having a lawyer create an escrow account with the legal document necessary.
2) I would transfer the money to the escrow account.
3) The seller is going to use his personal funds to clear the lien.
4) The seller is going to have the lien cleared and the title transferred to his name.
5) The seller is going to mail me the title.
6) I will have the vehicle shipped. I already have the quotes to ship the vehicle ( $400 - $600) from Florida to Philly.

I need information for the following questions.
1) At what instance should I transfer the escrow held money to sellers account. Would it be after I received the vehicle or after shipping the vehicle.
2) Should I transfer the vehicle in an open vehicle or closed vehicle.
3) Did I miss any steps from the above.

Thanks ahead for trying to help me.
MHK
 

bart513

Active Member
Feb 27, 2013
1,332
92
East Hampton
I bought a 2015 private sale from LA and I'm in NY. It was very straight forward and no problems. Tesla confirmed the condition of the car, I paid off the lien after having a letter drawn up. Sounds like you should be fine.
 

JeffS

Member
Oct 7, 2015
239
48
Wisconsin
A private sale is as much about the seller and buyer as people, as it is about the car. I purchased private party. Flew to get it. Drove it home 2140 miles. No issues. The seller was a stand up gentleman. As was I. We got along great. My price was lower than the seller wanted to take, and the car was about 80% the configuration I was looking for. Seller took my offer and I bought the seller's car because of the people involved. Win win. Truly, the art of the deal...on both sides. It is harder than it looks, but easier than people think it might be...if the buyer finds the right seller and the seller finds the right buyer. A lot of the honesty and cred that is needed to start a relationship that will lead to a positive experience, is born from how a prospective buyer approaches a seller. If it opens contentious and embattled...It will probably stay that way.

I don't write this to imply anyone does anything wrong. I only write to share my perspective. I am a salesman. A really good one. And buying is exactly the same as selling in so many ways. A lot of buyers don't approach it that way. Evidenced by all the ridiculous "your price is too high and let me tell you all the reasons I am right and you are wrong" that show up in for sale threads from folks that aren't even involved in the transaction. If that's how they behave on the sidelines, I can only imagine how they behave in the trenches. Just my $.02.
 

Nototrader

Member
Nov 30, 2015
234
27
Alpine, NJ
A private sale is as much about the seller and buyer as people, as it is about the car. I purchased private party. Flew to get it. Drove it home 2140 miles. No issues. The seller was a stand up gentleman. As was I. We got along great. My price was lower than the seller wanted to take, and the car was about 80% the configuration I was looking for. Seller took my offer and I bought the seller's car because of the people involved. Win win. Truly, the art of the deal...on both sides. It is harder than it looks, but easier than people think it might be...if the buyer finds the right seller and the seller finds the right buyer. A lot of the honesty and cred that is needed to start a relationship that will lead to a positive experience, is born from how a prospective buyer approaches a seller. If it opens contentious and embattled...It will probably stay that way.

I don't write this to imply anyone does anything wrong. I only write to share my perspective. I am a salesman. A really good one. And buying is exactly the same as selling in so many ways. A lot of buyers don't approach it that way. Evidenced by all the ridiculous "your price is too high and let me tell you all the reasons I am right and you are wrong" that show up in for sale threads from folks that aren't even involved in the transaction. If that's how they behave on the sidelines, I can only imagine how they behave in the trenches. Just my $.02.

Grasshopper...you are very wise!
 

Xenoilphobe

Active Member
Jan 2, 2014
4,579
4,295
Fairfax County, Virginia
JeffS is right - it really depends on the people involved - I bought by second Tesla private party and had no issues. I did drive the 65 miles to Baltimore to drive the car and did speak with the Rockville Service Center and got good feedback from Tesla. I have also bought off eBay about 7 times (motorcycles, cars, trucks and the Tesla I bought started on ebay). My only complaint is that Tesla will not sell you the extended warranty- there is a huge thread going on the forums - I suspect Tesla will revise this in the near future due to the perception this creates about the durability of their cars. I only had one poor deal from the 7 purchases with a high volume motorcycle dealership in Georgia. It ended up costing me ~$1400 over the original price (on a $6500 purchase) - won't ever buy from a dealer again - just don't want all the unnecessary fees they like to add in.

It sounds like you got a great deal and got the privilege of working with a great seller too. Congrats!
 

svp6

Member
Sep 6, 2014
731
771
MN
I need information for the following questions.
1) At what instance should I transfer the escrow held money to sellers account. Would it be after I received the vehicle or after shipping the vehicle.
2) Should I transfer the vehicle in an open vehicle or closed vehicle.
3) Did I miss any steps from the above.
MHK

1. I think the escrow should be released when you receive the vehicle - of course it has to be funded before shipping.
2. Depends on the costs. Cars are meant to be driven outside, so short of really bad roads you should be OK with open vehicle. I can see though how you want to baby your purchase - if price is not much higher you could do that too
 

4SUPER9

Active Member
Jun 6, 2013
2,476
1,485
California
I just went through a similar process. However, I was the seller, from California, and the buyer was out of state. It was initially a complicated process, but we both learned a lot and if we had to do it again, we would be better prepared. We also spoke several times and gained a trust of one another.

To answer your question above, I disagree with svp6. The Escrow is released when the Seller loses possession of the car. If you are responsible for transport, then the car is yours when it leaves his or her hands. If, alternatively, the sale price includes delivery, that may change things a bit. That, I am not sure.

So, this is how we did it: First, I took the Tesla to my local service center where they gave me a free courtesy inspection. I gave them permission to speak directly to the Buyer, who contacted them himself at the end of the inspection.

Next, you will need a 10-day payoff amount. They Seller can get this him or herself. Alternatively, if you are getting a loan, you will need the bank information and they will call and get it themselves.

Then, you will need some documents. The most important of this is a “Bill of Sale”. On this, the Seller can note that the title should not be transferred until all funds have been received. I did not do that, but you can note it there somewhere. You can create your own bill of sale, or you can get one at the DMV.

You may also need a “Power of Attorney”. This is so that the Buyer has the authority to have the bank sign over the title to his or her new lender. You may be able to download one from your local DMV. In California, it is form form “Reg 262”. You cannot get this form online, as it is on special paper, and it must be picked up at a DMV or AAA (I know you are not buying from California, but somebody else reading this might). This form has both the Bill of Sale and Power of Attorney. It also has an Odometer Disclosure section.

My lender was USBank, through Tesla. I contacted them several times. If the loan is paid off by a 3rd party, and if that amount exceeds what is owed, the bank will pay the Seller the balance. They will transfer the title over to the new lender, or the Buyer, but they will want a Power of Attorney, as above. Again, I called a spoke to several different people at USBank to confirm this. In my case, the Buyer decided to pay me the balance of what was on the loan, and his lender paid off my bank directly.

Once you have a Bill of Sale, a Power of Attorney and the funds are transferred, the Seller should allow the transport person to take possession of the car. If he or she does not, you have the Bill of Sale and a title that the bank will send to you. It then becomes not just a civil matter, but it could also be a criminal one if the car is not released (well, that is my opinion)

Hope this helps!
 

mhk4274

Member
Feb 10, 2016
14
3
NY
I received the legal document written by a lawyer for the escrow account from the seller. I hope the whole process would be completed in another 10 days. I will keep you posted once I get the car. Thanks for all the input from the members.

MHK.
 

mhk4274

Member
Feb 10, 2016
14
3
NY
Received my vehicle last night. Got the title and registration done on my name today. It was a smooth transfer from the seller with the seller providing exceptional service for every question that I had. The seller used his lawyer to help in the transaction. I got a 2014 Tesla with 85 kw battery and had 2500 miles on it. Upgrading from Audi Q7 and pairing with wife's Porsche Cayenne S hybrid. Enjoyed the ride today and many more years to come. I am going to use my 9KW solar installed on my roof top. Attached are the pics of the solar system, car. I had a bad experience with the transportation company which delivered the vehicle last night. The driver had damaged the front passenger mirror. The transportation company is going to fix the issue with their insurance. Would the Tesla service center help in fixing the mirror issue or should I go to a body shop recommended through Tesla. Thanks for all who tried to answer my questions till now.
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