Buying A Car Out Of State: Is It A Good Idea?

When most people want to buy a car, they do so by looking at vehicles for sale in their local area. Sometimes, buyers might travel a little further afield if there are particular makes and models they want to purchase. On some occasions, it might be necessary to venture to another state, either a neighboring one or on the other side of the country, to buy a sought-after example.

If you’re thinking of buying a car from another state, you might be wondering whether it’s a good idea or if you should only stick to vehicles near you. Well, going interstate to buy a car isn’t uncommon, and it can even be a good idea – but only if you do things correctly. Here’s what you need to know.

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Check for cars closer to home

It’s an obvious statement to make, but you should do some thorough online (and offline) research to find cars for sale in your home state. Even though you might have to travel a fair distance, it will mean you can potentially drive home in your new car the same day.

Be sure to check vehicle classifieds websites, auction sites like eBay, Facebook Marketplace, and even online owners clubs. It might surprise you to find cars that you want for sale in the unlikeliest of places!

Be sure to get plenty of details and photos

When you look at cars for sale in other states, the last thing you want to do is make wasted trips looking at vehicles that aren’t as described. With that in mind, you should ask sellers to provide you with plenty of detailed photographs of the cars that interest you and even ask them to record a short video of the engine running.

Most people own a smartphone these days, and it’s quick and easy for sellers to record the engine getting started up from cold and running for a couple of minutes. Likewise, they can easily take more photos for you so that you’ve got a clearer idea of the vehicle’s general condition.

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Check your home state’s requirements

Before you even consider buying a vehicle from another state, it’s wise to check with your local DMV for information on registering a car out of state. Believe it or not, some states have different rules regarding buying cars from other states.

Work out how to bring your new car home

If you’re the type of person that loves going on long road trips, you’ll likely want to drive your new pride and joy home yourself.

But, if you don’t have the time, or you want your mechanic to check the car over first before you use it on the road, you’ll need to have it delivered to you. The good news is you can use websites like Ship a Car Direct to organize the safe transportation of your new vehicle.

Do a history check before handing any money over

Lastly, it’s a wise move to invest some time and money into a CARFAX check on the vehicle you wish to buy. The sad truth is that even supposed car enthusiasts and collectors are sometimes out to deceive buyers.

You don’t want to end up buying a junk car, so you must check everything is in order before you agree to buy a car that you like.


By following the above advice, you’ll be sure to end up finding and buying a car that both fits your requirements and is roadworthy. Good luck!