By Buddy Blouin

Serving means moving. For active duty members of the U.S. military, it means familiarizing yourself with all of the little nuisances that come with such a lifestyle. Purchasing a vehicle is a complex process no matter where you live but when you’re buying a car out of state, things get that much more complicated. Nevertheless, our guide is here to help you buy a car out of state with fewer points of resistance during your PCS.

Suggested read: Can You Register a Car Without Insurance Post-PCS?

How to Buy a Car Out of State

From finding the right vehicle, to getting it registered, and more, there is a lot that goes into buying a car out of state. While each purchase is different, here’s how to buy a car out of state the right way:

Research Your Vehicle and State

If you’re reading this then chances are you’re already on the right track. You’re going to not only need to research the vehicle you wish to buy, but also the process of buying a vehicle in the state you are doing business with.

Each state is similar but ultimately different. There are rules involving taxes, registration, and more that you’ll need to be aware. You will also need to be aware of the rules of the state your buying the vehicle from and your home state rules.

You can prepare by getting your ducks in a row with the right documents. Be sure to have a form of ID, proof of insurance, and a pre-approval letter ready before you try to buy a car out of state.

Schedule an Inspection

To protect you and others on the road, it's best to get an inspection. Getting an inspection isn’t required in every state, but it is in many of them. Furthermore, by getting an inspection, depending on where your vehicle is coming from, you can prevent potential problems before they start.

A typical inspection is going to have a trusted mechanic or certified shop ensure the vehicle is in good working order. They will check the car's history, and verify the vehicle identification number (VIN) to make sure it matches the vehicle you are buying.

If you’re buying a car from a dealership, some of this information will likely be readily available. Still, remember to conduct due diligence before finding yourself in an unfortunate position.

Related read: Auto Transport Insurance - An Overlooked Factor When Moving

Negotiate Your Purchase

Even though recent vehicle markets have been elevated, you’d be surprised at your negotiating power. Doing your research and being respectful of the process can go a long way.

For purchasing involving a private buyer, the price tag may or may not be firm. Here’s where you’ll need to have your research available to see about coming to appropriate terms.

On the other hand, if you’re buying from a dealership, price isn’t everything. You may be able to tack on an upgrade, receive free services, such as car washes and oil changes, or get an extended warranty.

When you buy a car out of state, no matter what parties are involved, be sure to obtain a written contract that shows the legitimacy of the sale among important details such as price, warranties, and any other agreements.

Transfer the Title and Register Your New Vehicle

After you have completed the purchase, you’ll need to transfer the title to your name and then register with the state. This can mean different things depending on where you live.

Ultimately, contacting your local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) can help you understand the rules and regulations you need to follow. They may even be able to help you complete the title transfer.

Furthermore, if you need to get a license plate or tags, the DMV can provide them for you or help you find the right entities to provide you with the required stickers and forms to keep you legal.

Is It Cheaper to Buy a Car Out of State?

Prices for vehicles will vary from state to state. Whether or not the car you want to buy is more or less expensive will require you to take a look at a number of factors.

Resources, such as the Kelley Blue Book, can help you better understand whether or not the price in one state or another is the best option for you.

Be sure to check before you buy a car out of state that you can get cheaper elsewhere.

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