Safest Ways of Buying a Car Out of the Area

So i’ve been doing research and i know the car I want, but most of the deals (either by a dealer or private seller) seem to be out of the area.

I haven’t been having a lot of luck with dealers out of state, so i’ve been considering private sellers. However, I can’t think of a way to complete the transactions without the fear of getting ripped off some way.

Getting a pre-purchase inspection is obvious, as well as making sure the title is clean and the shop that checks it out says there is nothing major wrong with it. The part i get stuck up on is the balance of passing off the payment and then getting the key/title/bill of sale documents.
I’m not sure how exactly this would be done that would be trustworthy to all parties (other than using an escrow service, but i’m not too privy on those).

Has anybody done an out of state private purchase of a car, A to Z, without in-person interaction with the seller? Looking for tips on how to do the process smoothly.

There is no easy way. Don’t do it.

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Even if someone has done this their experience might not work for what states you are doing this in . If it was me I would only use an established dealer .

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Any Carmax near you? They have access to all their cars, for a moving fee.

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I have done out of state purchase but only face to face. I would ONLY do it face to face on a private sale. I traveled to see the car, test drove it and inspected it myself plus the seller was a friend of a couple of friends.

Bought a motorcycle from him later, too.

The paperwork was relatively easy. Just do your homework beforehand so you know what each state requires.

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I wouldn’t recommend buying a used car without first seeing, sitting in, and driving the car. Being there in person to do those things would then allow you to do the transaction with the seller.

A few years ago I bought my current car from an out of town private seller. I drove to meet the guy, took the car for a drive, and decided to buy the car. I had a check from my bank for the agreed upon amount, and he had a clear title for the car. After a handshake, we parted ways.

I also sold a car around the same time to someone out of town. He drove my car, agreed to buy it, paid me in cash, and I gave him the title.

It’s not as hard as you might think.

Yeah I bought one out of state. Stopped by to look at it and test drive. Said I’d take it. Next day drove up there again and gave him a check. He was an honest guy and so was I. No problem. I like to see people eye ball to eye ball and see where they live to determine if I care to do business with them.

If you behave like a phantom, you may have a difficult time finding a honest seller. You need to see a seller face-to-face for a road test.


My dad bought a top trim 2018 Rav-4 Hybrid to replace his (which was totaled by a someone DUI and who already had a suspended license…) from a dealership in Maryland (we live in PA). Honestly, outside of a rare/classic car, I wouldn’t look outside of the state for a private sale. If I was going to go out of state, I would stick to a neighboring state dealership as they’re more likely to know everything that needs to be done with an out of state sale.

Hire someone to do it. I’m sure you can find people that do this in a lot of places.

My son bought a BMW out of state but from a dealer because he was fussy about what he wanted. Had no problem but was a new car.

All of the risk factors are checked so its a high risk adventure. Private party, used car, no personal contact, no inspection, etc. Sounds like an EBay transaction with varying results. He lied? Uh yeah, happens.

Well all that is true in this case, except for the inspection. I plan on getting a pre-purchase inspection done no matter what, but mostly relying on that and pictures/description.

I figure a mechanic (and a specialist) would know what to look for better than I would. Especially for a Euro car.

What is this thing that is hard to find. Also if a private sale they might not let you take anywhere for an inspection . With the current shortages of vehicles it is a sellers market.

It’s not a hard-to-find vehicle. It’s just an 09-11 Audi A6 3.0T. But it’s nigh impossible find a car like this locally, private or by dealer, at a fair value.

with the wacky used car market now. it will be hard to find any used vehicle at a Fair Value.

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my 2 cents. if you factor in the cost of traveling to look at a vehicle and towing or shipping cost to get it home. it will cost you the same or more than looking locally.

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Right. But the deals are best with private sellers out of the area (way better). Hell, even out of state dealers are still better than any local dealers.

Yes, and don’t farm it out to someone else who lives closer. Way back in the day I was looking for a rust-free CRX to replace the rust-almost-everywhere one I was driving. I hopped on a national car forum (not this one) and got one of the guys I had talked with to go look at one for me. It was about 750 miles away. He reported back with “Oh God you want this car!” No rust anywhere, beautiful condition, everything worked.

So I drove all the way out there and, hey look, rust on the rear quarter panels, rust under the doors, rust around the sunroof. It was like he’d looked at a totally different car or something. So that was a 1,500 mile round trip wasted. Lesson learned!

It is not just a Audi A6 - it is an old German luxury vehicle that could end up costing a lot of money in repair bills . That is why you should at least use a dealer .

@CygnusRift Look at the Carmax site , at least they will give you some kind of warranty . They will also bring it to a store near you for a fee and you do not have to buy it if you decide not to .