Buying a car can be a hassle. Buying it in a different state is even more of a challenge.
Why travel to buy your dream car? Your home state may have the right car but not the right price, or it may have the right price but not the right car. So, checking other states may get you the perfect combination.
Read on to get a better idea on how to buy a car in another state and everything involved in the process.
Reasons for Buying a Car Out of State
The car you are looking for might be unique and impossible to get from your local state. Instead of buying a local car that does not meet your specific interest, searching from other states might give you exactly what you want.
It might be cheaper to buy a car out of state considering variations in prices, demand, and incentives. Roofless cars may have less demand in places with long winters. If you are from the southern states, you might get one at a lower price.
Four-wheel drive vehicles may have high demand in northern states that experience snow, making them expensive in those states and cheaper in other states.
Some states may provide better incentives to car manufacturers, making cars from those states cheaper.
It might be possible to find sales promotions in different states that are not available locally. Taking advantage of such sales promotions may reduce the vehicle’s purchase cost significantly.
Challenges of Buying a Car Out of State
The distance between the two states might be considerable. You may have to travel a long distance to inspect the car, only to find that it is not your preferred choice. Even if it might be the right one, transporting it back home may be tedious and time-consuming.
It may be easier to fall into the hands of scammers when you buy out of state. Sometimes, the seller could be genuine, but the vehicle being sold could have a defective title, especially if it’s used.
Buying from other states is complicated due to the paperwork involved, such as insurance coverage, emission compliance, sales tax, and registration. You would be dealing with the laws of two states.
Without proper planning, you may end up paying more than buying the car locally. For instance, if the state is far away, you would incur an increased shipping cost. You would still not save on sales tax if your state requires you to pay them.
Steps to Buying a Car Out of State
- Identify the car that you want to buy: Decide the car brand you want, then look for a similar car locally, either from a local dealer or friend and have a test drive. This will help you know whether it’s the right type of car for you before you spend your money on it.
- Choose a dealer: When buying a new car, ask for quotes from several dealers from within or out of the state. Compare the prices and the range of services offered. Select the one with the most services at the lowest cost.
- Check the history of the vehicle: If you are buying a used car, you have to ensure that it has a clean history. It may be used as a lien, and the owner may not have cleared the debt. Ensure it has no lien or any other outstanding charges. You can get a history report from CarFax or AutoCheck for a small fee. Furthermore, ensure that the owner has a valid clean title to the car.
- Have the car inspected: A used car could be having serious mechanical issues that the owner has not disclosed to you. Instead of relying on the seller’s words, find a mechanic that you can trust to inspect the car and inform you whether it is in good condition or not. After the inspection, you should have a clear idea of the car’s worth. Ensure that the condition of the car matches the price. Don’t agree on the final price after seeing and inspecting the car.
- Get a temporary registration: A temporary registration will be necessary if you are planning to drive the car to your home state. If a shipping company is shipping the car, there’s no need for temporary registration. A temporary registration will remain valid for a short time, usually 30 days. Ensure you get your car home within that period.
- Pay the sales tax: Sales tax is paid to the state where the car is registered. Check whether your state requires you to pay sales tax. In some regions, sales tax has to be paid for the county and city of residence. Ensure you understand the policies used in your area. You may be required to pay sales tax before the car is registered.
- Get an emission test: Different states have different emission standards. Ensure that the car is compliant with your state’s emission requirements. Some counties may have emission limits too. Check whether your county is one of them. Your car cannot be registered until it is compliant with the emission laws.
- Register the car: Carry your documents to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to have your car registered to your home state. You will need to prove that you are the vehicle’s new owner and provide a vehicle registration number. Vehicle registration should be done within the provided time limit, usually 30 days, to avoid paying fines afterward.
- Pay for insurance: If you have another car, your insurance company may have a grace period where they agree to cover your new vehicle for a limited period. It is good to contact your insurance company in advance to see if this arrangement is available. If you are planning to drive your car to your home state, you would be required to have insurance along with the temporary registration. Some financial institutions will also require you to have car insurance before they’ll lend you the money.
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