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Cory Wolfe

Buying a Car Out of State?

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Is anyone here knowledgable on buying a car out of state? Alot of the vehicles I've been looking at have been in a state outside of PA. I haven't found much of anything locally. In all likelihood, I'm going to end up with something out of state unless I find a sudden streak of luck. Thusly, I was wondering what the process was for buying out of state and getting it registered here. Does it differ much from the usual registration process? Are there any extra steps that I will need to take?

Edited by blackviper8891
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You'll want to make sure that it has a proper title, and a place for them to sign the car over to you. You bring the title and the bill of sale over to your local RMV and they'll have get a new PA state title.

I think that's it, but I don't remember exactly, I bet Sixty8 would know, being he buys cars all the time. :P

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Right...some of the same things mentioned. Title has to be good. But also, think about the smog regulations in the incoming state and the outgoing state. I know Calif. has tough emissions regs, so I could see how a car that barely passed in NV and AZ might flunk here. You can look all this up on both states' DMV sites.

Another precaution: The few times I've had to deal with pre-owned private party cars, I make sure it changed hands at the bank where the cashier's check is being drawn (bye-bye WaMu, last time I did this) and then complete and submit all the paperwork at Triple A (AAA) with both parties present.

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Buying a car out-of-state isn't all that different from buying one in-state. When I bought my Oldsmobile, I bought it from a Pennsylvania dealer, and the dealer sold if to me as if I were a PA resident. I had to pay certain PA-specific taxes (IIRC, one of them was a BS $65 "tire tax"), they gave me a PA title, a PA temporary registration, and put a PA temporary tag on the car. The length of time a temp tag is good for varies between states; PA temps are good for 30 days, whereas I know Maryland and Virginia temps are good for 60 days.

After you bring it back to your home state, you have to bring the bill of sale, temporary registration, and the out-of-state title to your local MVA/DMV/RMV/whatever department in your state that deals with motor vehicles. There, they will look at the out-of-state title, and issue you a new PA title; they may charge you a retitling fee for this. After that, you show them proof of insurance, pay the state sales tax on the car, and they'll issue you a new set of tags.

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You just reminded me BV, there's a Subaru SVX for sale about two miles away from me. Want me to grab a price?

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You just reminded me BV, there's a Subaru SVX for sale about two miles away from me. Want me to grab a price?

Intriguing, but I believe Kentucky's probably too far. It would have to be a damn nice SVX and for a damn good price. :P

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Intriguing, but I believe Kentucky's probably too far. It would have to be a damn nice SVX and for a damn good price. :P

Translation: get me the price, YJ. :P

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Translation: get me the price, YJ.

Basically. :P

I've been looking at alot of VWs and Audis, trying to find to 'the one'. Found it once in the form of a driver's edition VR6 GTI, but it slipped out of my hands. The search continues.

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Is anyone here knowledgable on buying a car out of state? Alot of the vehicles I've been looking at have been in a state outside of PA. I haven't found much of anything locally. In all likelihood, I'm going to end up with something out of state unless I find a sudden streak of luck. Thusly, I was wondering what the process was for buying out of state and getting it registered here. Does it differ much from the usual registration process? Are there any extra steps that I will need to take?

In general the advice you have gotten here is right on.

I realize you are most likely looking for something newer, but even if you buy something as old as ten years, you can run into cars that have no title and require no title to register in their home state... I don't know PA titles, but in NJ a title is always required. Since I have bought several NY cars, and NY only requires a title going back ten years. Anything older, only a Bill of Sale is required... and while I get squeamish taking a receipt written on a napkin to the NJ DMV, I have gotten all the cars transferred. The trick is knowing EXACTLY what info your local DMV requires and having the info to fill in the blanks. In NJ, I need a VIN, a price, a seller address, etc. I always ensure I have the info before the money changes hands.

The last car I got from NY had no title, but a Bill of Sale that had skipped title TWICE through some auto dealers of questionable licensing. It was a legit transaction, and it has a legal NJ title, reg and plates right now. But I had a HUGE stack of documents to detail the trail, and the NJ DMV was very helpful.

Oddly, while several of my cars came from PA, I've never done a PA title transfer, so I'm not well versed in PA title info.

One of the most troublesome titles I transferred was a 1972 NJ title that had skipped. Since old NJ titles have very little info, I had to pull in some favors to get supplemental info about the original seller. What a PITA.

One of the bigger tricks is getting the car titled in your home state without having to pay multiple times for doc or taxes.

Edited by SAmadei
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I see. Currently, I'm eyeing up a GTI over in NJ. If he can come down to my price range and I can figure out all this transfer $h!, I might just buy it. I wonder if the DMV has anything on their website about their policies on out of state transfers.

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I called the guy with the SVX (there wasn't a price on the for sale sign, just a number) and he said he wanted $4,500 for it, but wasn't set on a price just yet. I'll check back with him Monday for you to see if he's made up his mind.

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PA is a title state - no matter how old the car.

That said, transfer from out of state is dead simple (with a title). I've done it quite a few times.

Without a title, you will have to make sure that the state it comes from does not require the car to be titled. PA will check.

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My latest out of state desire. Clicky

I now see exactly how far a drive to YJ's area would be. 500 miles is a hellishly long drive. I've done it once, to Indiana, and it's a huge pain.

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My latest out of state desire. Clicky

I now see exactly how far a drive to YJ's area would be. 500 miles is a hellishly long drive. I've done it once, to Indiana, and it's a huge pain.

Louisville is about 90 miles from Lexington depending on where YJ lives.

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Louisville is about 90 miles from Lexington depending on where YJ lives.

I live in Berea, which is to the south of Lexington.

Edited by YellowJacket894
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