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      05-17-2012, 07:27 PM   #1
blaQouT
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Buying a car privately out of state

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Has anyone flew or drove out of state to buy a car out of state from a private seller? What are the risks? I have never bought from a private seller nor did I go out of state. I think this forum is good to find a car so I am trying to buy a BMW from this forum. Only major thing that holds me back is meeting the seller. I don't mean to sound like a p***y but I don't want to get robbed or threatened. I'm guessing you have to trust the seller and hope it goes down smooth right?
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      05-18-2012, 09:24 PM   #2
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You could request the seller to take the car to a local BMW dealership to check it out and get an independent opinion on the car.
A buddy of mine did just that when he bought a used M5 and worked out perfectly.
If the owner doesn't want to do it, move on.
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      05-18-2012, 10:17 PM   #3
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Or you could just use an escrow. Either way it's about money. A check-up takes money; an escrow takes money.
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      05-18-2012, 11:39 PM   #4
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You meet in a public area to inspect the car, then go to a bank for the check and title transfer. At that point your just as likely to be robed as any other time.

Something to keep in mind is if you go out of state they really have you by the balls. If you agree upon a price and show up and maybe there's damage he didn't tell you about or anything that's not up to expectations, it will be really hard to get the price down at that point.
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      05-19-2012, 08:38 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TSM330i View Post
You could request the seller to take the car to a local BMW dealership to check it out and get an independent opinion on the car.
A buddy of mine did just that when he bought a used M5 and worked out perfectly.
If the owner doesn't want to do it, move on.
I would do this.
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      06-07-2012, 04:05 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TSM330i
You could request the seller to take the car to a local BMW dealership to check it out and get an independent opinion on the car.
A buddy of mine did just that when he bought a used M5 and worked out perfectly.
If the owner doesn't want to do it, move on.
I did this when buying my X6 out of state. Everything went smoothly, and the dealer drove to a local shop I picked and even agreed to pay for my ticket there. You can't be 100% risk-free, but you can take steps to minimize the chances of something going really awry.
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      07-03-2012, 09:30 PM   #7
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My last two car purchases were out-of-state; one private party and one dealer. A few thoughts I'll add to what's already been said...

- Skip the emails and private messages in the forums and talk to the seller by phone to get your questions answered. You'll get a better sense for the type of person you're dealing with and its no secret that something is lost in text communication. The majority of people I've spoken with and met have been normal, good people just trying to sell their car. If you talk to someone and they have an attitude or make you uncomfortable for any reason, just thank them and move on to the next car.

- If practical, it can help to take an observant friend or family member along who may notice things that you miss as you try to look the whole car over, or during the test drive. If you're uneasy meeting up with the seller, taking another person along gives you an added measure of security as well.

- I agree with the advice that you should have the car checked out. Personally, I think I'd almost rather risk wasting a trip so I can be present for the pre-purchase inspection to ask questions of the shop and represent my own interests, but I can see the benefits of having an inspection done ahead of time as long as you trust the owner and shop to be fair with you. I guess that one comes down to the individual situation and personal preference.

- As far as your negotiating power goes, it's possible the seller will have an attitude like O-cha talked about where they figure that you've made the trip and they don't have to bend on the price because you won't want to leave without the car. It can also work the other way around if the seller is at all motivated, though. The fact that you've traveled a distance to see the car means you're not all that likely to go home, think it over, and return as a local buyer might. Faced with the possibility of you heading back home without the car, the seller may be willing to bend a little more on the price to get the car sold that day. How much attention the car has received locally and how motivated the seller is will probably be the determining factors there.

- Because sellers sometimes overstate the condition of their cars, if you're traveling a distance to see one, it never hurts to line up a couple others in the area or along the way so it's not a wasted trip if the original car turns out to be a letdown.
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      07-03-2012, 10:07 PM   #8
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I flew from Milwaukee down to Florida with someone to get my current car. Unless you find some major flaws, you're basically sealing the deal. Fortunately there were only a couple minor flaws that I didn't see in pictures but I could live with, and the front tires were bald. Other than that, I got a great deal that made it worth the journey.
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