Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

Any problems buying a car in one state and transferring to another state?

My sister recently got rear-ended and had her car totalled. She is unable to drive yet, but she is going to want to buy something in the next few months. I visited her recently and got her to check out vehicles. She’s basically decided on a small SUV (Honda CRV, Toyota RAV4, Nissan Rogue, etc.) but is waiting on money from the settlement. She has not been released to drive yet anyway, and has an old truck to get around in until she buys something. She lives in a rural area in Mississippi and there are very few used SUV’s within 50 miles I found with my online search. The dealership we did go to was not negotiating off the listed price either for the used ones we test drove. I live in Houston TX, and have found many SUVs online with similar mileage and model year for approximately $3,000 cheaper. I think it’s just a matter of Houston being a very competitive car market and where she is, basically they can get what they ask for since you have so few choices.

Bottomline, I told her when she wants to buy one, that I can search here, email her all the ones within her mileage/price parameters, go check out the ones she likes, and then buy one for cash. I know she would forward me the money, and I would have to title it in my name (I assume). Then, I would drive it back to her in MS, and I just ask her to buy me a one-way airline ticket back to Houston.

I think, even when she has to register it in MS, she will save $2,000-$2,500, even after paying taxes on it again in MS. And I assume I can just sign the title over to her. I have bought a car out of state before and done this, fly there, picked it up at the airport, drove it home, and then just paid the taxes on it.

Anyone see any problem with this? Any steps I am missing or problems with doing this? Thanks in advance.

I’m not sure why you would have to title it in your name. Bring the car home, send her the VIN, and have her register the car and send you the temp tag (this is assuming it doesn’t already have current plates on it, which it probably does, in which case you just buy it, drive it down, and have her register it). Titling it in your name and then immediately turning it over would just needlessly complicate things and cost you money.

Talk to both the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles and the Mississippi Department of Public Safety. They will tell you what the correct procedure is. Often, you can get a temporary tag in the state the car is purchased in and then get permanent registration in the state you live in. That will save a lot in taxes by not having to pay them twice. The best authorities are the states where the transactions take place. They will be happy to help you.

I don’t know either state’s laws, but it seems likely that your plan would involve paying sales taxes and other fees twice. I’d ask the dealership if she can buy the car by doing the paperwork via fax, with you at the dealership to give them the check and drive the car away for her.

It shouldn’t be that hard. Last Saturday my son flew from Ohio to Philadelpia to pick up his new BMW and drove it home. You need to get the transit permit so you don’t pay the tax except in the home state. Just talk to the DMV on it. Also you can get a limited power of attorney so that you can sign for your sister for the car so that it is always in her name and you are just her agent. Shouldn’t be that hard but when you zero in on a particular car the dealer can help you out with the details.

This shouldn’t be a big deal…I’ve done it a couple of times.

You buy the vehicle in other state…get a temporary tag (usually 20 days). Then drive it to your state and get it registered. This is where you’ll have to pay the tax on the vehicle. You should NOT have to pay any tax in the state you bought it from as long as you don’t register it.

You do need to check things with the state DMV’s in particular. Many states issue temporary plates. In this case you buy the car in TX and send signed (sometimes notary is required) documents to sister in MS. She goes to DMV in MS and gets temporary plate, or perhaps a real plate and sends them back to you. You put tag on car and drive to MS. If MS requires car inspections you usually have 14 to 30 days to get an inspection done.

You might also get a temporary plate in TX from the DMV or dealer. This might be an extra cost over getting a temporary or real plate from MS. Texas will want a fee for a temporary so unless it is a nominal fee it might be best to deal with one DMV.

At some point paying the “sales tax” falls into the mix so that element of the deal needs to be comprehended.

Lots of good info and I appreciate it. Basically, I don’t want to pay the sales tax twice, and it looks like I won’t based on these responses. I just need to ask the right questions when I pick the exact car. Any other input is still welcome of course.

MikeInNH wrote:
This shouldn’t be a big deal…I’ve done it a couple of times.

You’re overlooking the difficult part, which is that the sister won’t be going to the dealership. Otherwise, as you said, this generally wouldn’t be a big deal.

lion9car wrote;
You’re overlooking the difficult part, which isn’t that the sister won’t be going to the dealership. Otherwise, as you said, this generally wouldn’t be a big deal.

Yes, this does look like the difficult part, will the dealership accept faxed information from my sister. The other wrinkle is if I buy from an individual seller, but I don’t think that is very likely. The range I’m looking for is 2007-2009 up to about $17,000 maximum, and there weren’t many (if any) private sellers in my initial search.

What gives you the idea that any one of us has bought a car in Texas and registered it immediately in Mississippi? We might be right, and probably are. But contacting the TX DMV and the MS DPS will tell you exactly what to do without any guesswork.

jtsanders, I’ll just assume you had a bad day and attribute your attitude to that. I was looking for pointers for people who had bought cars out of state, and it appeared the users of this site might have some experience in that area. If you don’t like the question, don’t respond to it. You’ve added nothing to the discussion.

That’s why I suggested a limited power of attorney. With that, you are given the legal authority to sign for your sister the same as if it was her. You sign her name and by your name. A limited PA can be for a specific purchase, a specific time frame, etc. whatever she wants. You can buy and sell cars, houses, boats, whatever for someone else the same as if it were them. She does not need to be there.

Bing, thanks, that looks like the best way to do it, based on my discussion with the sales manager at CarMax. I appreciate the input.

You could probably do it through limited power of attorney or through phone conversations/fax. I too have bought car in one state and registered them in my home state. You wouldn’t want to register it in TX in your name then take it to MS and have to re-register it in MS in your sisters name. This would involve paying taxes, tag and title fees in both states. Years ago when I bought a car in TN and living in KY, the dealership sold me a temporary tag to drive it into my home state where I took care of the taxes, tag, and title fees.

When I lived in NC, I did some banking in KY on CD investments because the interest rates were higher. The bank would fax me the documents that needed to signed, I’d sign them and fax them back. I used this method and regular mail before I had a fax machine for over 20 years. I feel pretty sure if I could do this on federal tax regulated investments like an IRA it could be done on state paperwork involving a car.