Buying a Car Via Long Distance
Turns out long distance isn’t just for telephone calls anymore. We can buy anything from anywhere thanks to Amazon, Travelocity, eBay Motors, and other such outlets. So, when it comes time to buy a new car or that classic that eluded you at a younger age, chances are that it is only a telephone call or email away.
But why would you buy long distance? If it’s a one-of-a-kind classic, that might be the only way to do it. But what if it’s a new car? Aren’t there enough car dealerships right in your hometown? There might even be several of the same brand. But what about your desire for a certain vehicle, say one that is specifically equipped with (or deletes) a certain option. What if you want rear-wheel-drive, while every dealer within a 750-mile radius only have the AWD version? Or what if all the dealers near you are charging top dollar+ (The dreaded Market Adjustment Rate) while there is a little dealer in the Midwest with the exact car you desire, but at a more reasonable price?
These are all reasons why you might go long distance. But care should be taken to determine if the extra costs involved will still put you ahead of buying locally.
There are more choices than ever to find that perfect vehicle. Use actual new car dealerships as well as Kelley Blue Book (KBB.com) and Autotrader.com as a source for vehicles located around the country. Here, prospective buyers can use filters to search for a specific model, price, color and year. You can also have a chance to examine the vehicles by photographs online. More savvy sellers are displaying video walkarounds so you can actually get a feeling of what the car looks like without having to pop for a plane ticket.
New vs. Used
Once you have found the car of your dreams, assuming it is a new vehicle, it’s always a good idea to ask for a copy of Almer S. “Mike” Monroney’s legacy, the Monroney window sticker. The sticker lists official information including the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). Monroney was a U.S. Senator from Oklahoma. This window sticker is useful in listing all standard, and optional equipment on your new vehicle. It can also prevent any surprises such as the wrong color or equipment package being a part of the final sale.
Used purchases through an authorized dealer are nearly as easy. While you are usually unable to see the original Monroney sticker, forward thinking dealerships have full-featured used car pages on their websites with photos, videos and information about the vehicle that has caught your eye. Be prepared to take your time viewing, taking notes so that you may quickly refer back to a specific vehicle. If a dealer has the car you were looking for, have them go over the emissions ratings to guarantee it’s compliant for your state. Do your due diligence first.
Doing the deal
If you’re reading this article on a computer, the odds are high that you have used an E-document service to purchase a product or sign a document. Buying a new or used vehicle is just as easy using the same techniques.
Sales tax will be taken care of once you register your new vehicle in your home state. Make sure you have set enough aside to cover the taxes which come due when you apply for an in-state license plate at your local tag agency. In the meantime, if you have purchased the vehicle from a dealership, they will likely supply you with temporary tags to get you home.
Whether you are paying cash or not, consider financing the car through your bank or credit union so you will gain an interested third party in case the deal goes south. If after signing on the dotted line and receiving the vehicle, pay off the loan with the money you had set aside in the first place. Escrow services can also be used to act as a middleman in the remote purchase of the vehicle.
Retrieving your new or used car is like spending quality time with your children. It’s where you really get to find out more about the kid. The same with your vehicle. We love road-tripping. If it’s a long trip, chances are you will experience some of the vehicle’s special character. Consider it a shake-down cruise of sorts. It will be time well-spent.
If time is a factor, consider transporting it instead. Services are available nationwide that will cost you in the neighborhood of $750 to $1,500 to get your vehicle from there to here, wherever here may be.