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Buying a Used Car Out of State

Used Car Lot

Often, the car we want is the next state over or the price is better if you travel somewhere out of state for your car. Out of state car purchases have their own nuances and headaches, but in today's world of Internet connections, it's not unusual for a buyer to find a car out of state anymore.

If you're looking at a used car out of state, keep the following tips in mind.

Research thoroughly both the car you're considering buying and the dealer selling it. If you're purchasing a car from a private seller who's out of state, be especially wary. Since you won't know if the car is exactly what they say or whether the seller is being honest until you actually travel to meet them, it's important to try to weed out the ones you shouldn't be dealing with.

Contact the BBB if the seller is a dealership or registered dealer, contact the Better Business Bureau in the area they're in. Find out what their reputation is and how often they've been complained about. Don't do business with someone with a shady past.

Arrange for an inspection before you go see the car. Find a mechanic local to the area with a good reputation (use online services like Yelp or Google's reputation/reviews) and ask if they would be willing to go check the car for you independently. Most will be willing to do so, though you may be expected to cover mileage expenses or mechanic time on the road.

Negotiate terms and pricing before going to see the car. Try to get as close to sealing the deal as possible so that you don't get there and get hit with a completely different arrangement than you'd expected. If possible, get it in writing or email or another printable, permanent record. Having this "proof" in your hands may not do anything in court, but it will make for an easier time of "recalling" the details without selective memory getting in the way.

Contact the DMV in your county and find out what you might need to get the car home legally. You may be able to get temporary licensing without the car being present. If not, you may end up having to pay for local licensing in the area where you're purchasing the car. This means an extra trip while you're in town, so plan for it.

Do not pay any money or finalize any purchase until you have the car in your possession. Unless you can't go physically get the car, you shouldn't pay for anything until you actually arrive to see it for yourself and make the final arrangements. Buying a used vehicle sight unseen is a huge gamble. The lemon laws of the state the car was purchased from (not your own) may or may not apply and the laws in every state are different.

Hopefully these tips will help you get the car you want and make the process easier.

Related Articles

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When Buying a Used Car From a Private Seller