How Can I Legally Take Over Someone's Car Payments?

by Chris Blank

One way to obtain a car at a low price is to take on the obligations of another driver. This can be done by taking over someone else's lease or purchasing the car outright by taking over the loan payments. With each option, you can wind up with a late model car to drive at a low cost with little out-of-pocket spending. If the seller is desperate enough, you may even collect cash along with the deal. However, there are cautions which should be taken when assuming someone else's car note.

Lease

The main concerns with a taking over a lease are excess wear and tear and remaining mileage. At the end of the lease, the person returning the car will be held responsible for any damage to the car, even if the damage occurred before he took over the lease. The same is true for excess mileage. If the previous lease holder exhausted nearly all the allotted lease miles, you could be forced to pay for excess mileage costs. If the car is not under warranty any repair costs that occurred after you took over the lease would fall to you. You should always have the car examined by a mechanic before agreeing to take over a lease. Another concern is your credit. If your credit is not good, the leasing company is likely to turn down your application for the lease. If there is a fee for the credit check, determine whether you will be charged for it or if the seller will pick up the cost. The final concern is insurance. Check with your auto insurance company to determine if you will need increased coverage because you are taking over a lease. If all these concerns are answered satisfactorily, taking over a lease can be a sweet deal for you.

Loan

By taking over another person's loan and executing the transfer of title, you become the legal owner of the car. As with taking over a lease, you should have the car inspected by a mechanic before agreeing to make a purchase. You should also check with your insurance company to determine if taking over payments for the car you've chosen will cause a drastic rise in your insurance rates. If your credit is not as good as that of the original buyer, the finance company may not approve you, which means that you would have to take out a loan with less favorable terms, which you would use to buy the original buyer out. Once you've made a deal, obtain a bill of sale from the Department of Motor Vehicles listing you as the new owner, along with the sale price. You should also note that some states require the signed transfer of title to take place before a notary to be considered valid. Failing to follow the proper procedure for transfer of title could mean that the original owner could legally reclaim the car, even after you've taken over payments for months.

About the Author

Chris Blank is an independent writer and research consultant with more than 20 years' experience. Blank specializes in social policy analysis, current events, popular culture and travel. His work has appeared both online and in print publications. He holds a Master of Arts in sociology and a Juris Doctor.

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