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Hi all
So I am negotiating on the purchase of a 2015 Boxster GTS (not replacing my R8 of course). I have been speaking with a friend of the owner who is handling the transaction on behalf of the owner. The car is 4 hours away, so I have not seen it yet. The friend is going to meet me at a Porsche shop in between so I can have a PPI done and of course see and drive the car. He will bring the signed pink slip and say he has power of attorney.
I want to be sure I will have clear title to the car. Any recommendations of what to get to be safe?
 

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is that a California title? if so, I cant think of anything other than making sure the title is authentic, it's signed off, lien holder has signed off (if applicable), currently registered, VINs match the title and registration, and look on carfax to see if the last title record matches the registration. Also sign a bill of sale, and if the owner is not present, request a copy of the owner's driver's license to make sure the owner's name matches the registration and title. Afterall having the car in possession is the most important, titles and all that is just paperwork and can be duplicated.

If things feel a bit suspicious (like names dont match up etc.) then call up the lien holder to make sure the account is paid off.
 

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Take my advice for what it's worth - I've never actually bought or sold a car private party. But if I did:

1. I'd probably do as Kiryu said and make sure there's no lien on it (along with all the usual checks - VIN matches, registration/license name/address, etc.). Here in CT, the lienholder is on the title, but if the car is paid off, you can take the title to the DMV and have them removed. The lienholder will typically provide a "lien release" in the form of a seal/stamp and signature on the title that proves they've released the lien. If there's one listed, even if it shows paid off (released), it couldn't hurt to call the lienholder and confirm while both parties are present.

2. Having someone broker the transaction may not be a bad idea - or at least witness it, verify funds, etc. From what I've heard (again, I've never done it), may be able to use your bank for this - or the sellers' bank. Given that they handle a number of titles and checks, can usually verify funds (if being paid in check), etc., this may not be a bad way to go. If there's something suspicious, perhaps another set of eyes wouldn't hurt.
 

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I am not sure about cars, but I have completed aircraft purchases using a licensed escrow service. It does not cost a lot and as the purchaser, you can offer to pay the fee.

Essentially you and the seller agree in writing as to what will be provided (clear title being one of them) and the funds are not released to the seller until all items are met.

The plus for the seller is he/she knows before the car is even seen that the money is there waiting for him/her to just deliver the car as promised. There are very few downsides if both parties have proper intentions and as a seller, I would welcome a transaction with a buyer wanting to use escrow. It just means I come though on my end and no fuss over the money.
 

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As Dimitri stated, it is the same for me in NJ. The lienholder has the title, as they really own the car. I looked at an R8 out of state before purchasing mine and the one thing that bothered me was the guy did not have the title in hand. He told me there was only 3k left on the loan. So, I asked him, for 3k, if you knew you were selling the car, why didn't you pay it off? After the BS story, I had a problem giving him well over 100k and going back home without the title. So, I waited for something else. I had also thought about an escrow service mentioned above, but had zero experience with any particular service, so once again, I did not go that route. I asked Chase Bank if they would do it and they don't provide that type of service anymore. In short, make sure the paper work is in order and you feel comfortable. If they are fast talking you and elusive, that would concern me. Good Luck.
 

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Every state should have a spot for a lienholder on the title. There should also be a stamp for release of lien. You could call the bank. Have the seller send you a picture of the title first - front and back so you can look it over.
 

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As Dimitri stated, it is the same for me in NJ. The lienholder has the title, as they really own the car. I looked at an R8 out of state before purchasing mine and the one thing that bothered me was the guy did not have the title in hand. He told me there was only 3k left on the loan. So, I asked him, for 3k, if you knew you were selling the car, why didn't you pay it off? After the BS story, I had a problem giving him well over 100k and going back home without the title. So, I waited for something else. I had also thought about an escrow service mentioned above, but had zero experience with any particular service, so once again, I did not go that route. I asked Chase Bank if they would do it and they don't provide that type of service anymore. In short, make sure the paper work is in order and you feel comfortable. If they are fast talking you and elusive, that would concern me. Good Luck.
Smart move, Charlie. I wouldn't be handing anyone a check without the title. For $3k, that should have been paid well before putting the car for sale. Red flag.

There seem to be so many scams these days, and they're ever-evolving - harder to detect, trickier scam artists, etc. I think if I was buying or selling something like a high-end car in a private sale, I'd probably be a bit paranoid. All of the advice here is sound, but then again, scam artists know that, too - so they're always looking for a new angle to play. An escrow service, or using a dealer as an intermediary, even if it costs a few bucks could be worth it when you're talking six figures and a private transaction with a stranger in another state. Chances are good that your own due diligence (title check, license/registration, calling any lienholders, etc.) would be sufficient, but then again, new scams are always cropping up, and somehow they're still working!
 
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