So long are the days of spending your Saturday on the local car lot. These days, thanks to technology, consumers have the ability to purchase a car from the comfort of their home with the click of a button. Furthermore, their search is no longer limited to local inventory. Purchasing a car online gives consumers a much wider variety of vehicles to choose from and enables them to find exactly what they want. This has made buying a car out of state easier than ever before. Whether you are looking for a new or used vehicle, your chances of finding the exact make, model, and color are much greater when you expand your search nationwide. Not only do you have a better chance of finding the perfect car, but you can even save a ton of money on out-of-state dealership discounts and incentives. That said, you still need to be prepared for some of the pitfalls and obstacles you may face purchasing a car in another state. The following tips can ensure you are well-prepared before making a purchase.
Do Your Research
If you are looking to buy a used car, it is imperative that you get a vehicle history report. Find a reputable company such as CARFAX and take some time to look up the full history report of the vehicle. This will provide you with information regarding a crash or repair history as well as financial issues such as any liens that may be out against the vehicle. Discuss any potential findings with the seller before taking any steps toward making a purchase.
Have it Inspected
If you are not close enough to visit and test drive the vehicle yourself, take the time to have the vehicle inspected by a local mechanic who can evaluate your vehicle’s condition, test drive it, and alert you to any possible problems. If you are purchasing a car from an authorized dealer, they should already take care of this for you because it is required that all vehicles purchased out of state have a pre-purchase inspection performed on them.
Factor in the Cost of Shipping
If you are close enough to drive and pick up your vehicle, this may not apply. Otherwise, you will need to budget for shipping costs when purchasing a car out of state. Some dealerships and sellers will offer incentives such as free shipping but usually the burden of shipping falls on the buyer. Be sure to consider the cost of shipping and factor that into the price when purchasing a car from another state.
Understand the Taxes and Fees
You may think you will save money by purchasing a car from a state with no sales tax. However, you are responsible for paying sales tax in your state of residence. Therefore, if you purchase a car in another state, they will simply pass along the sales tax to the proper agency in your state. In addition to your own state sales tax, you may also have to pay any applicable local sales tax in the state of purchase.
Consider State Inspections
In many states, a smog or emissions test is required in order to register your vehicle. This could delay the registration process so be sure to check with your local DMV beforehand to see what’s required in your state. You should also ask the seller to show proof that the vehicle has passed previous emissions testing so you can avoid surprises.
Obtain the Title and Registration
If you are buying a car from an out-of-state dealership, they should be able to provide you with the necessary paperwork. However, if you are purchasing a car from a private seller, you will need to make sure that the seller provides you with a signed title and bill of sale. This will give you proof of ownership and allow you to obtain proper licensing and registration in your home state. You usually have between 30-60 days to acquire these documents and register your new vehicle.