So close yet so far away. You know how it is. The car you want is always just out of reach. But this time…this time you have the cash, and the only thing keeping you from that car is distance and time.
It's tricky, though, buying a car you've never seen. You have to put faith in a complete stranger. You will have to make a substantial financial investment without being able to see it for yourself. How can you know for sure that you are making a good investment?
Getting comfortable with buying vehicles online and shipping them will open up a whole new world of possibilities. No longer restricted to local pricing trends, you will be able to shop from the best of what's available.
Take Advantage of Regional Preferences
The pricing of certain types of cars can be influenced by the preferences of residents in the region. For example, it may be hard to find a good deal on a pickup truck in a rural area, but they may be relatively cheap in the city. The difference in price could more than cover the cost of shipping.
Even if the price is right, it can still feel like a leap of faith when you purchase a car online without seeing it for yourself. Here are some ways that you can minimize your risk and maximize your chance of getting the right car at the right price.
The More Photos, the Better
Photos are the closest you will get to seeing the actual condition of the vehicle, so they are essential. Avoid vehicle listings with poor quality photos. Look for listings with numerous photos of both the interior and exterior. Complete sets of photos should give you information about wear to the interior, damage to the bumper, and any rust or damage on the underside of the vehicle.
Take note of the condition of the tires on the vehicle as well. Replacing an entire set of tires on a vehicle you just purchased is not a good way to get started.
If there is anything you can't see in the photos, ask the seller if they can provide more. The willingness of a seller to provide additional details is a good sign that they are above board and acting in good faith.
Purchase a Vehicle History Report
Get the car's vehicle identification number (VIN) from the seller or the ad. There are websites online that will allow you to use the VIN to get a vehicle history report. The vehicle history report will tell you if the car has ever been totaled or salvaged. Other potential problems that could surface in a vehicle history report include issues with the title, flood damage, or odometer rollbacks.
If it's Worth Buying, it's Worth a Vehicle Inspection
You should always have the vehicle you want to purchase inspected by a reputable professional. You may just happen to have a mechanic friend in the area, but otherwise, you are going to need to find somebody else to do the inspection. Mobile inspectors such as Alliance Inspection Management can help.
These inspectors don't drive the cars, but they do perform a thorough visual inspection to assess any damage to the body or frame or any of the visible interior elements. They will generate a report for you within 24 hours. Knowledge is power when you negotiate terms or could even prevent you from buying the car in the first place.
How to Safely Close the Deal from a Distance
No matter what anyone says, or what they promise you, the seller does not receive your money until you have taken possession of the vehicle. This is especially important if you are purchasing a car remotely. But here's the thing, some sellers may be unwilling to relinquish custody until they have been paid.
You could choose to use an online middle-man such as Escrow.com. This website holds money in escrow until the transaction has been completed. Having the money in escrow protects both the buyer and the seller.
Door-to-Door Service Makes for a Seamless Transaction
If you really want to invest in a first-class experience, you can arrange for door-to-door auto transport service. This service picks up your car at the seller's location and transports it all the way to your door. Shipping nationwide may involve coordination among multiple shippers. With door-to-door service, all the logistics are handled for you. Contact us to get a quote on how we can get it to your door without an ounce of stress.
You can't overdo your due diligence when purchasing a vehicle from a distance. Ask questions. Double-check every piece of paper you are asked to read or sign. Protect your money and your investment by not leaving any details to chance.
Written By:Joe Webster
Joe Webster began his journey in the auto transport field by attending the University of Southern California (USC), where he graduated with a Bachelor of Business Marketing.
After college, he started his career in the auto transport industry from the bottom up and has done virtually every job there is to do at A-1 Auto Transport, including but not limited to: Truck Driver, Dispatch, Sales, PR, Bookkeeping, Transport Planner, Transport Manager, International Transport Manager, Brokering, Customer Service, and Marketing. Working with his mentor Tony Taylor, Joe Webster has learned the ins and outs of this industry which is largely misunderstood.
With over 30 years experience in the industry, we've been helping people ship their vehicles, motorcycles, RV's, heavy equipment, household goods and more across the country or overseas without a hitch. Ask us anything.