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4 Tips To Know Before You Buy a Car From An Auto Auction

Have you ever considered buying a car from an auto auction? These vehicles are often priced lower than similar used cars and can be a good alternative to purchasing from a dealer. However, there are a few things you’ll want to know before you start your search for the perfect vehicle.

Make sure the seller is legitimate

Check the auto auction’s license. Verify that the auto auction has all of the necessary licenses to conduct business in your state. This information should be available on their website or when you call to inquire about the auction. Some states require that all businesses collect sales tax for items sold at an auction, so be sure to ask if this is required before bidding. Make sure that they have a license to sell cars and not just general merchandise.

Read the description thoroughly

Don’t just read the description of the vehicle; make sure that it matches the actual car being sold. If the body is damaged or there are mechanical problems, they will be noted in this section of the auction. Compare the mileage, colors, and other specifications listed in the auction with those on the vehicle itself. If you have any questions about the vehicle’s history or condition, ask the seller in advance so that you don’t discover any surprises after you’ve purchased it.

Run a VIN check

A VIN is a 17-character code that identifies a vehicle. Vehicle models prior to 1981 sometimes have less than 17 characters but are still typically considered valid. It contains information about the vehicle’s manufacturer, model, and serial number, as well as details about the options and features of the car. The VIN also confirms whether or not a vehicle has ever been rebuilt or salvaged. The problem is, you can’t tell if a VIN is salvage or junk by just looking at it. You’ll need to run a VIN check through the National Motor Vehicle Title Information system (NMVTIS) to ensure your VIN is not listed. If your VIN is listed in the NMVTIS, you will not be able to get a title, even if the auction signs one over to you. VINs entered into the NMVTIS are not eligible for a title.

Additionally, make sure that the VIN decoding process reveals information that matches the vehicle you’re buying. If it doesn’t match the vehicle, it could indicate a red flag that the sale is a scam.

Make sure the title is transferrable to your state

Some auctions feature military vehicles that are up for auction. It’s important to note that some states do not allow these vehicles on the road. Government vehicles will have slightly different paperwork than civilian vehicles. Check to see what type of title transfer you will receive. The Standard Form SF97 or Transferrable Title is typically the title form provided, but not all states, such as Florida, accept this as a method of title transfer. If your state doesn’t allow these types of military vehicles to be on the road, you will not be able to get a title.

Do your research on the type of vehicle you want and what to look for when buying from an auction. Auto auctions sell many types of vehicles and trucks—from boats to RVs—so make sure that you know what you’re bidding on and have enough money set aside for repairs. Also, test drive any vehicle before buying it to make sure it runs well, especially if you are traveling a long distance to get to the auction site. Auto auctions can be a great resource to find your next ride, this article will help you prepare.

What Is A Vehicle Lien Release & How To Get One

Order Lien Release Request

The vehicle lien release is a government-issued document that officially declares that the lien on your vehicle title has been removed and you will be free to take action with your vehicle. This document removes any restrictions on what you can do with your car. A vehicle lien release is an essential step to selling, trading, or giving away your car. A person is typically eligible for a vehicle lien release when the loan on the vehicle has been paid back to the lender. However, this isn’t an instantaneous process. Depending on the availability of your lender, there may be additional steps to take to obtain a vehicle lien release.

What is a lien title?

A vehicle lien title or a lien title is the designation of vehicle title that states the lienholder (aka your lender) is the owner of the vehicle until the lien (aka your auto loan) is paid back in full. Many vehicle owners have this type of title designation unless they’ve purchased their vehicle without the help of a lender. This type of title designation has limitations for the buyer and does not have the full range of abilities as the clear title designation.

What is a clear title?

A clear title is a vehicle title that has no liens, hold, or any other special interests or designations. A clear title has the owner’s name on the front (not the lienholder) and allows the owner to do as they please with their vehicle.

Vehicle lien release process

The vehicle lien release process will differ depending on your state, your situation, and your lender, but there are 4 main steps to this process:

  • Step 1: Locate the lienholder
  • Step 2: Compile the lien release request letter and letter of non-interest
  • Step 3: Mail your lien release request copies via certified mail
  • Step 4: Obtain your vehicle lien release and apply for a clear title

Locating your lienholder

The lienholder of your title is the lender of your auto loan. If you’re not sure who that is, check your bank records and identify the business entity that received your monthly car payments. Once that entity is identified, make note of the mailing address, physical address, registered agent address, corporate address, and any other address listed for this entity. This information can be pulled from the lienholder’s website or through your state’s Secretary of State business entity database.

Compiling your lien release request letter and letter of non-interest

Create at least five sets of copies for your lien release request. To officially request your lien be released from your vehicle title, you must send your lienholder a lien release request letter. In this letter, you must include the following:

  • VIN
  • Year
  • Make
  • Model
  • Owner name
  • Lienholder information

The letter of non-interest is in the event that your lienholder has no further interest in collecting on the lien and would like to legally sign off on their interests. The letter of non-interest should include all of the contents of the lien release request letter and should also provide a section where the lienholder can sign away their interests.

Mailing your lien release request via certified mail

Using the addresses you found for your lienholder, mail a set of your copies to each of the addresses via certified mail. In each envelope, you should include:

  • Lien release request letter
  • Letter of non-interest
  • Pre-labeled and pre-stamped return envelope

It may seem redundant to mail identical copies to multiple locations, but this is the best way to ensure that your lien release request is received. Most lienholders do not have a lien release department with staff standing by to release liens as they come in. Due to this, it’s important to attempt to reach as many locations as possible to reach the correct recipient or at least the recipient that has the ability to help.

Mailing your letter via certified mail will create a paper trail that proves you are attempting to release a lien on your vehicle title. This evidence will come in handy later if your lender cannot be located.

Getting the vehicle lien release and applying for a clear title

When your lienholder has released your lien or signed off on the letter of non-interest, the documents they provide to you can be taken to the DMV and you are now able to apply for a clear title! Your state DMV can then assist you in the application process. Before you go to the DMV, make sure you have the funds allocated for registration and taxes.

What if I can’t locate my lienholder?

Oftentimes when a lienholder or lender can’t be located, it means they’ve gone out of business. However, lenders don’t just close up shop and forget about their customers. Lenders will often be acquired by other companies or they’ll sell their loans to another financial institution to continue being paid off. If you can’t locate your lender, look to see if they were bought out or transferred their business to another entity.

If my car loan is paid off, why do I have to remove the lien?

If the loan is paid off, but the lien is on the title, you aren’t the owner. If you have a lien title, your lender is considered the owner. Requesting a lien release to apply for a clear title is an important part of keeping your assets safe from theft. Additionally, if your lienholder is listed on the title as the owner and you lost the title, you will not be able to apply for a duplicate title since it was not your name last printed. Removing a lien after the loan is paid off keeps you and your assets safe and secure.

How to Obtain a Bonded Title for a Vehicle

Determine if you need a bonded title

A bonded title is a vehicle title that is obtained by purchasing a surety bond. A bonded title is needed when a vehicle owner doesn’t have the proper proof of ownership available to obtain a title. If you have a bill of sale or other ownership documents like an old title in your name, you can probably use an easier title method.

Identify your state’s requirements

The requirements to obtain a bonded title vary by state. The bonded title application form can be found online on the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) website. Some states also require an inspection of your vehicle before you apply for a bonded title. This can include an emissions inspection, VIN verification, or other general inspection.

A VIN verification inspection ensures a vehicle identification number (VIN) is valid and matches the car’s make, model, and year. An emissions inspection ensures smog-producing emissions are below acceptable levels. Inspections will vary by state but are generally completed by licensed garages or other mechanics in your area.

Purchase your surety bond

A surety bond is basically an agreement between you, the surety company, and the state DMV that says you are the legal owner of the vehicle. The bond also states that if the DMV finds out that there is a discrepancy regarding the ownership of this vehicle, they will not be held liable. In other words, if someone comes forward stating that they own this car and you falsely applied for a bonded title, you will be responsible for reimbursing the DMV for any costs incurred in correcting this situation.

The surety bond amount is typically required to be 1.5 times the book value of the vehicle. However, this doesn’t mean if your vehicle is worth $5K that you have to shell out $15K for a title. Most bonds can be purchased for about $100. The additional amount only comes into play if the bond is fraudulent. A surety bond can be obtained from a surety bond agency or sometimes insurance agencies. We recommend using ProBonds.com for obtaining vehicle title bonds.

Make sure your state accepts bonded titles and your vehicle is eligible

Titling rules vary from state to state, so be sure to check with your local DMV offices to find out if they accept bonded titles before trying this method. In some cases, you might need to try other methods of recovering your auto title first. The following states accept bonded titles:

  • Alabama
  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Iowa
  • Maine
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Rhode Island
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • Washington
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming

Special cases where title bonds are not applicable

There are some special cases where bonded titles are not allowed, even if the state accepts this title method. You cannot get a bonded title if the vehicle has a lien, you must first obtain a lien release. You cannot get a bonded title for junk, salvage, or parts vehicles or if the vehicle has been declared a total loss. Also, most states, but not all, require you to be a resident of the state and the vehicle be domiciled in the state to obtain a bonded title. Be sure to check your state’s requirements prior to purchasing a surety bond.

The bonded title process is a great way for you to obtain a title for your vehicle if the necessary ownership documents are missing. Before proceeding with any method of title recovery, be sure to check to make sure your vehicle is eligible for that method and your state identifies it as a legal method to obtain a vehicle title.

Looking for a title bond quote? Get one at ProBonds.com!

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Lost Title? Here’s How to Replace Your Car Title

Have you lost your car title? Your car title is the most important document to have for your car. It certifies that you own the vehicle and allows you to do things like drive, sell, or even dispose of your car. That’s why losing your title can be both a hassle and a scary proposition. So how do you replace a lost title?

If you were the last titled owner, you can apply for a duplicate title.

In order to qualify for a duplicate of your lost title, you must be able to prove that you were the last titled owner of the vehicle. If your name is on the car’s title and you are unable to find it, check with your local DMV to perform a title search. The duplicate title process can be done online in most states or in person. To complete this process, locate and fill in the Duplicate Title application for your state, follow the instructions, and pay any applicable fees.

Additionally, it’s important to note that duplicate titles can only be issued in the states where they were last titled. For example, if you recently moved from Colorado to Texas and your car was last titled in Colorado, you’ll need to contact the DMV in Colorado to issue your duplicate title.

If you were not the last titled owner, you should try to contact the prior owner for a title transfer.

If you weren’t the last titled owner, you are not eligible to receive a duplicate of a lost title. The first thing you must do is contact your local DMV to see if they have any records of the vehicle. The process of finding the prior owner can be difficult, but if you are able to find the person, they may be willing to just sign over the title to you. DMV records are not accessible to the public. To access these records, locate the DPPA form required by your state.

If you are unable to locate the prior owner, there are other options to obtain a title such as bonded title and the Vermont title loophole.

If you’ve found that you weren’t the last titled owner and you can’t contact the prior owner, you can still get a title for your car. Depending on your situation, you may be eligible for the Vermont title loophole or a bonded title.

  • If your car is 15 years old or older, you may be eligible to obtain a title using the Vermont title loophole. The Vermont title loophole allows non-residents of Vermont to obtain a registration that is equivalent to a car title in their state, then the applicant can transfer the registration to their state as a title.
  • A bonded title can be used for vehicles of almost any year in many states and involves obtaining a surety bond to secure the car title. A bonded title is typically pursued when the owner has very limited proof of ownership.

Don’t wait to replace your lost title.

The title of your car is important and so is getting it in a timely manner. Having to replace a lost title can be troublesome but in the end, it’s best to get your car title as soon as possible to ensure the safety of your asset.

Ready to replace your lost title or get a new one in your name? Click here to begin your title recovery process.

Need help selecting the title recovery method that best fits your vehicle? Text us! Text TITLE to (402) 698-4853

Want a CarTitles.com professional to do it for you?

For as little as $269 for most processes, we will save you the headache and prepare all of the car title paperwork needed to get you a new title. Simply choose the title recovery method you’d like to use and we’ll get started!

Select your title recovery method:

Order Vermont Title LoopholeOrder Deceased Owner Title TransferOrder Bonded Title ProcessOrder Abandoned Vehicle ProcessOrder Prior Owner ContactOrder Lien Release Request LetterPGlmcmFtZSBzcmM9Imh0dHBzOi8vYXBwLmFjdWl0eXNjaGVkdWxpbmcuY29tL3NjaGVkdWxlLnBocD9vd25lcj0xOTQ4ODEyNiZhcHBvaW50bWVudFR5cGU9MjMwNjY0MTAiIHRpdGxlPSJTY2hlZHVsZSBBcHBvaW50bWVudCIgd2lkdGg9IjEwMCUiIGhlaWdodD0iODAwIiBmcmFtZUJvcmRlcj0iMCI+PC9pZnJhbWU+PHNjcmlwdCBzcmM9Imh0dHBzOi8vZW1iZWQuYWN1aXR5c2NoZWR1bGluZy5jb20vanMvZW1iZWQuanMiIHR5cGU9InRleHQvamF2YXNjcmlwdCI+PC9zY3JpcHQ+

How to Safely Buy a Car From Facebook Marketplace

You’ve probably heard a lot of warnings about Facebook marketplace scams. The reality? Facebook marketplace is a great way to find used vehicles. With so many great deals on cars, it’s hard not to get excited. However, many people are scared to buy a car off of Facebook Marketplace because they fear they’re not protected. Here’s are some tips to help you buy a car safely using Facebook Marketplace:

Check the buyer’s reviews.

Facebook Marketplace is a great place to search for your next ride, but you still want to make sure you’re dealing with legitimate sellers. Like any major e-commerce platform, Facebook Marketplace lets customers rate their transactions with the seller. Reviewing the seller’s previous ratings will help you gauge how trustworthy he or she is. If you see several bad reviews, you may want to reconsider buying from that particular seller.

Similarly, sellers with no reviews and recently created accounts may also indicate the listing is a scam.

Ask for the car’s VIN number.

Ask for the VIN number before agreeing to anything. The VIN number tells you everything about a vehicle — its year, make and model as well as where and when it was made and what engine it has under the hood. You can cross-check information with data from reputable sources like CarFax or Autocheck in order to find out if the information provided by the seller is accurate or not.

Get a vehicle history report.

These reports will provide you with details about past accidents, flood or hurricane damage, and other problems that have been reported on a vehicle. It’s critical that you get one before purchasing a vehicle because this report shows you any problems with the car so they can be fixed or dealt with before purchasing it. Potential buyers can also take note of any existing recalls that haven’t been addressed by the manufacturer if it’s worth it to them. This includes items like defective airbags or problems in vehicles’ braking systems.

Get the car checked out by an independent mechanic.

Whenever you’re buying a used vehicle, you should get it checked out by an independent mechanic. Even if everything checks out, it’s always a good idea to have the car inspected by a professional. They’ll know whether there’s anything wrong with the car that could cost you big money down the road. If something seems amiss during the test drive, it’s probably best to back out now and save yourself from getting burnt later.

Don’t commit until you have all the paperwork and you’ve seen the certificate of title.

To help ensure that you get a legitimate certificate of title, make sure that the seller’s name is the name provided on the certificate of title. Check the seller’s ID to verify their identity. If the seller doesn’t have the title in hand at the time of the transaction, this is a red flag. If possible, check with your local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to see if there are any liens on the title or other problems with the listing before making an offer.

Test drive with someone else along so that there is another witness in case of an accident or other problem.

First, choose a public meeting place that has security cameras and plenty of people around so that you can feel safe during the transaction. Do a thorough inspection of the car. Check the engine oil and coolant levels, tire pressure, brakes, transmission fluid, and all other fluids. Also, look for chipped or cracked windshields or windows and any noticeable dents or rust. If there are problems on the test drive, there will be problems on your drive home.

You can buy a safe car on Facebook Marketplace with these ideas.

Finding a car on Facebook Marketplace can be risky, but this doesn’t mean you should avoid it altogether. Instead, you should do your research before making any transactions. Before buying any car, make sure that the vehicle is being sold by its legal owner. Make sure that the VIN number lines up with the title, and then check that the car wasn’t reported stolen. After all these tips, you’ll be prepared to buy a safe and reliable car on Facebook Marketplace with ease!

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