Buying a car out of state, while you're out of state.

racheld3racheld3 Member Posts: 1
edited June 2015 in General
Hi!

I am currently staying with family in Pennsylvania for a while, but I'm originally from Virginia. I am in need of a used car, and for the most part what I'm seeing is good deals in Ohio, and West Virginia.

Could someone please help me out potentially understanding how I could go about buying a car from a private seller? I know I would take it back to VA within 30 days to get it inspected, registered, etc. But how do plates work when you need to cross state lines, etc?

Thank you
Rachel

Answers

  • MichaellMichaell Moderator Posts: 218,621
    racheld3 said:

    Hi!

    I am currently staying with family in Pennsylvania for a while, but I'm originally from Virginia. I am in need of a used car, and for the most part what I'm seeing is good deals in Ohio, and West Virginia.

    Could someone please help me out potentially understanding how I could go about buying a car from a private seller? I know I would take it back to VA within 30 days to get it inspected, registered, etc. But how do plates work when you need to cross state lines, etc?

    Thank you
    Rachel

    I've sent up a flag to get some of our seasoned posters to look at your question. You also have to factor in sales tax ...

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  • fezofezo Member Posts: 10,384
    I'm no great help. My last two cars I bought in Pennsylvania because that's where the deals I wanted for the cars I wanted were. I bought from dealers so it;s a different situation. I'd inquire withe the PA DMV. They do issue 30 day temporary tags.

    I admire your going where the deals are.
    2015 Mazda 6 Grand Touring, 2014 Mazda 3 Sport Hatchback, 1999 Mazda Miata 2004 Toyota Camry LE, 1999.
  • stickguystickguy Member Posts: 47,912
    varies by state. Do you have plates to transfer? at least that is something to put on.

    you can always go to the VA DMV site, and if lucky, will track down the answer. or call their hotline.

    but I believe you have a grace period to get it registered. Key is to call your insurance company and get it added to your policy. after that, should be able to drive it home and take care of the legal stuff there.

    Like Fezo, I have had temp transport tags from an out of state dealer. But never had to find out if you could (or needed to) get one on a private sale.

    2020 Acura RDX tech SH-AWD , 2022 Ford Maverick Lariat Ecoboost FWD. - sold. 2023 Maverick hybrid Lariat luxury pending build

  • xwesxxwesx Member Posts: 16,297
    edited June 2015
    The key is definitely to plan ahead!

    I did a very similar thing as you once when my wife and I purchased our very first car (as a couple)! We came down from Alaska and were in Oregon for a week before headed to PA to get married. So, we tooled about looking at cars and found one we liked in Pasco, Washington. It was from a dealer, but they basically did the standard in-state registration process (we opted to keep the prior plates rather than being issued new ones). Then, when we made it to Alaska about six weeks later, we took our WA title to the DMV and they processed and issued our title there. The bad part, though, was that we paid to have the car processed in two separate states. AND, the only reason that we did not have to pay sales tax in WA is because they have a special exemption system there (perhaps not still?) that allowed OR and AK residents to be tax-exempt.

    I know that is not the case in a lot of states: You buy it (or register it in this case) there, and you pay the tax.

    In your case, since this is a private party deal, you should be able to buy it, insure it, and drive it. In the meantime, send your paperwork in to the VA DMV (you'll have to pay the fees and tax, most likely) and have them send you the new plates. I would think they should be able to give you some sort of temp tags if it requires inspection and this cannot be performed until you are again in-state. This site may be of some assistance.

    Regardless of the various hurdles, I wouldn't let the specter of state lines dissuade you from buying the vehicle you want!

    I've bought out of state three times and the process gets easier with each go.
    2018 Subaru Crosstrek, 2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2013 Subaru Forester, 1969 Chevrolet C20, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,482
    First off make sure the VIN on the car matches the title papers EXACTLY. If there is a typo on the title (even an obvious one that's only off by one number), your state will impound the car once you get your PA inspection.

    Also you'll have to make sure that your state and the state you buy from have a reciprocity agreement regarding sales tax. You can't drive the car in the state you purchase it in without paying that state's sales tax--you'd have to truck it out.
  • qbrozenqbrozen Member Posts: 32,025
    per the ohio BMW website, they sell 30-day temp tags for $18.50. That's all you would need until you can get home and register your car in VA and pay the sales tax there.

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