Buying a car out of state

I’m am looking to buy a used car. Looking around I am not finding the one I want nearby, so I am looking at buying one from out of state. What differences do I need to know about buying from a dealer in another state as opposed to buying from in-state? What do I need to do about registering it, etc.?

Contact your state’s version of a DMV, they will probably be able to help more than we will.

Last year I bought a motorcycle out of state and it was no big deal. You just take the stack of paperwork the dealer gives you and let DMV figure it all out. They’ve done it before.

I would say contact the OTHER state’s DMV. We had a situation where we bought a car in Colorado for my stepson in California. In Colorado, the dealer processes the registration paperwork so we had no choice but to register it in Colorado and wait for all of the paperwork (2-4 weeks) before he could register it in California.

If it were me, I’d start with my own state’s version of a DMV (we don’t have a DMV here, so that’s why I say it that way) and go from there. It really wouldn’t hurt to contact both though.

If the dealer in the other state is not far from your state they may be able to take care of everything for you. Here in RI we buy most things out of state, and nearby dealers in MA will get a car inspected in RI and registered for you. However you can’t count on that happening if you live in a real state.

Be aware that your state may whack you for a sales tax or other fees when you register the vehicle.

To be pedantic, Use Tax not sales tax and most states will only charge you the difference between their tax and the sales tax paid it their state is a higher rate.

Never mind, read the other post wrong.

That’s an interesting concept. Here we get a bunch of paperwork from the dealer and have to take that to the courthouse and register the vehicle ourselves. We don’t have inspections either. They did away with those quite some time ago.

I live in VA, when I bought a car in NC I went to the VA DMV site and researched what I should do. Turns out I printed out some sort of temporary license plate that I put in the window for the drive home. Didn’t have any problems. That was many years ago, but as others have said, check with your DMV.

Pre-coffee brain fart.

If the other state is a neighboring state to yours the dealer may be able to take care of the licensing for you, including a temporary trip permit until your plates and registration come in the mail.

I live on the Oregon/Washington border and bought my last car from a WA dealer. He attached an OR temp. trip permit to the car and took care of the licensing just as if I had purchased it in Oregon. Most dealers in border areas are used to out of state sales.

Washington state has a sales tax but Oregon doesn’t. Since I ‘took delivery’ in Oregon I paid no Washington sales tax. I just signed a statement that it was delivered in Oregon, then I drove it myself out of Wash.

I bought a car private-party in another state once, (I was actually just supposed to pick it up and bring it back for the guy actually buying it). But I found that once I got there, we had to transfer the title in front of a notary, so I had to put my name down instead of just bringing the title back. Which meant it went through me, and then the final purchaser. No big deal, but a little unexpected. Secondly, when I did this, my state wanted to make sure there was no liens against the car, so I had to drive back to that county the next state over and have the license branch sign off on that. Not a big problem.
If I was buying out of state, I would call my BMV, ask them what they want, and then call the next state and ask how to get it. It would save on trips and hassles.

I live in Milwaukee, but have bought a number of vehicles from the Chicago area, simply because there is much more selection and prices are lower for the same vehicle (often by a few thousand dollars!).

The first time I bought, in 2004, the dealer gave me a bunch of paperwork that I had to take or send in to the Wisconsin DMV to get the car registered. They gave me a temporary registration card good for 14 days or something.

This past summer I bought another vehicle from a dealer in the Chicago area, and they took care of the Wisconsin registration. All I had to do is provide a Wisconsin drivers license, since I would get charged Wisconsin’s 5.something percent sales tax instead of Illinois’ higher sales tax rate. Everything was submitted electronically, so I assume Wisconsin and Illinois DMV’s have arranged an electronic registration procedure reciprocal in both states.