Four Things to Know When Buying a Car Out of State

User Rating: 0 (0 votes)

Buying a car is a major decision no matter where you do it, but buying one out of state involves unique factors that every prospective out-of-state buyer should keep in mind. Here are four tips that can make the process easier.

Man Giving Car Key

Do Your Research

As with any car purchase, you’ll probably make a wiser decision if you do careful research. If you’re traveling a long distance to see a car, it can be tempting to make a purchase, just so you don’t return with nothing. Research the dealer or person you’re buying from as well as any individual cars you’re interested in. Request pictures and detailed car information before you make the trip, so you can avoid unwelcome surprises. It could save you thousands of dollars and prevent you from making an unnecessary trip.

Make Sure You Can Get the Car You Want

Don’t wait to figure out how you’re going to pay for the car until you’ve traveled to another state for the purchase. Securing the finances you need beforehand might save you a wasted trip. Before you leave, you should also call ahead to ensure that the car you have want hasn’t been sold. Even if the car is still on the dealer’s website, it may have been sold between now and when the website was last updated.

Buying a car sight unseen is a dicey idea, but if you want an extremely proactive approach to securing a car, some dealers can send you legally binding purchase documents electronically. This approach is also useful if you leave a dealer without purchasing a car on the spot, but want to have the option to buy it later.

Taxes and Regulations Vary

If you buy a car from another state, you’ll still register it in your home state — and that’s when you’ll pay title fees and associated sales taxes. Therefore, you can’t easily save money on car sales taxes by purchasing from a state with a lower tax rate. Additionally, you might also encounter relatively small local and county fees (for instance, in Texas they range from $5 to $20, according to the state’s DMV). Some states also have unique regulations that you must adhere to; for instance, California’s DMV lists strict emissions standards that new vehicles registered in the state must meet. Your local and state governments can provide specific, accurate information on what fees and regulations go into buying a car in your state, statutes that you should look at before you buy anything.


Before you drive your car home, you’ll need to have insurance, and that can be a hassle if you don’t set this up well beforehand. Contact your insurance company to figure out the best way to handle transferring or buying insurance for a car bought out of state.

You’ll also need to plan your trip to pick up a new vehicle. Options for reaching your prospective car include driving (if you’re planning to trade in your old vehicle), using public transportation, flying, busing, or having a friend drive you. Getting back might seem like the simple part, but make sure your new car has all the necessary tags for you to legally drive home.

This article was written by Vito Sanchez, a car enthusiast who hopes to help you become a better car owner. He writes this on behalf of Car Research XRM, your number one choice when looking for the best CRM system for auto dealerships. Check out their website today and see how they can help you and your business!