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Old 12-21-2018, 04:33 PM   #1
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Buying a Car From Far Away

I've bought cars from out-of-town before, but only 100 -200 miles out of town. But now, in my search for a Boxster, many candidates are far away, as in 1,000+ miles, involving airlines to go see the car and pick it up.

So I have a question for those of you who have bought cars from far away:

(i) Do you ordinarily do it in two trips, i.e., one trip to see the car, then if you like it return home and arrange a PPI, and if it comes through the PPI with flying colors, you fly back to pick the car up?

OR

(ii) Do you do it in one trip, i.e., fly there to see the car, have the PPI done, and if it all checks out, pay the Seller and drive home?

OR

(iii) Arrange for the PPI first, and if it checks out well, fly down, pay the Seller and drive home?

Obviously, doing it in one trip saves time and money. But under option (ii), you gotta be prepared to fly home if you don't like the car, and buying a plane ticket last minute is expensive.

And then there's the issue of tags, temp transit plates, etc

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Old 12-21-2018, 04:51 PM   #2
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(i) Do you ordinarily do it in two trips, i.e., one trip to see the car, then if you like it return home and arrange a PPI, and if it comes through the PPI with flying colors, you fly back to pick the car up?

OR

(ii) Do you do it in one trip, i.e., fly there to see the car, have the PPI done, and if it all checks out, pay the Seller and drive home?

OR

(iii) Arrange for the PPI first, and if it checks out well, fly down, pay the Seller and drive home?
Zero trips.

PPI first by a local inspection company. Then bought the car (paid via wire transfer). Then had a transport company pick it up and deliver it to me.

I've done this three times and its worked great every time.
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Old 12-21-2018, 05:23 PM   #3
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Every car (20+) I have bought for at least 15 years has been at least 1000 miles from me, usually through an auction. I always fly out and drive home. I usually use one of my buddy‘s dealer transporter tags though a couple of times I got a 48 hour temp tag.

I fly out for pick up for three reasons:

1. I love the adventure and seeing the country. (Bucket list of driving through parts of all 50 states. Gives me an excuse to see parts I wouldn’t otherwise see)

2. Getting to know the car. During the drive home I will get a feel for what it needs and put a work list together on the way home.

3. I control the total process.

If that does not appeal to you then +1 to what Tom says about getting a local inspection done and arranging shipment.

I have helped a couple of friends purchase Boxsters with minor flood issues through auction and have had them inspected and shipped without issue.

I use a company called URIS at youreyesonline.com for auction inspections though it shouldn’t be a problem finding a reputable local shop to do your PPI.

I usually use haulmatch.com for shipment.
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Old 12-21-2018, 05:41 PM   #4
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I chose door #3 and did the PPI first, flew up to PDX from LAX and drove the car home 1,000 miles. Stopped in Sacramento on the way home to pick up some parts for my resto project too!

Worked out great and got to bond with my new to me P-Car!

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Old 12-21-2018, 06:56 PM   #5
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Zero trips.

PPI first by a local inspection company. Then bought the car (paid via wire transfer). Then had a transport company pick it up and deliver it to me.
So, you relied 100% on the PPI then. I've thought of that, but I think I'd like to see the car either before or after the PPI before calling it a done deal.

Also, do you fully trust car transporters with a Porsche?

And my last question: did you use an escrow service for the payment and title transfer? If not, aren't you sticking your neck out a bit wiring funds to someone who could possibly not sign the title over to you and skip town? (Of course, if I fly out to pick up the car to drive home, it's a face to face swap of the money and title)
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Old 12-21-2018, 07:09 PM   #6
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Every car (20+)I always fly out and drive home. I usually use one of my buddy‘s dealer transporter tags though a couple of times I got a 48 hour temp tag.

I fly out for pick up for three reasons:

1. I love the adventure and seeing the country. (Bucket list of driving through parts of all 50 states. Gives me an excuse to see parts I wouldn’t otherwise see)

2. Getting to know the car. During the drive home I will get a feel for what it needs and put a work list together on the way home.

3. I control the total process.
I'm totally with you on all three. I love the adventure too.
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Old 12-21-2018, 07:26 PM   #7
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I've done the two trips and drive it home thing twice....both successfully. I treated the whole thing including the 1700 mile drive home like a little holiday. I have also traveled 1000 miles a few times and not bought the car.
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Old 12-21-2018, 08:13 PM   #8
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(iii) Arrange for the PPI first, and if it checks out well, fly down, pay the Seller and drive home?

And then there's the issue of tags, temp transit plates, etc
Option iii would be a good option. Obviously you'll have to be zeroed in on the particular car you want, as you don't want to be blowing all your budget on PPIs for every car you see.

My Wheeler Dealer activities are a bit different as I'm interested in later model, lower mileage Porsches. I don't do a PPI, I just fly in, buy it, and drive it home. But I do plenty of homework before leaving. I generally buy my cars from private party vs dealer. I feel I'll get more truthful info from a private party rather than a dealer. I ask about paintwork or accidents (among many other things), which isn't failsafe but so far I've been good. If a car has had multiple owners, they may not be aware of a previous accident. Carfaxes are useful but as we know are not perfect. I will also google the seller to see if he's real and "clean". Once I arrive to inspect a car, I'll look for paintwork. It's generally not hard to find, as there will be overspray and paint seams that will give it away. I'm always ready to leave if it doesn't check out, but so far I haven't had to fly home empty handed.

The only car I've purchased sight unseen was 2 yrs ago. It was an 01 911 cab that needed some interior work. I purchased it from a Mercedes dealership in MD. I wired the money to them and they eventually got it on a transporter. Took them several wks. Had multiple sleepless nights until they confirmed it was on its way. I felt somewhat safe doing this since it was a reputable dealership, but still not relieved until the car was unloaded at my house. It's definitely a leap of faith. I sold an 09 base Boxster to a forum member this summer where he bought it sight unseen. I took it for a PPI, he wired the money, and it was loaded on the truck. He never saw it in person until it got to his house. I FedEx'd the title to him the day he wired the money. Once again, a leap of faith, but he was happy with the purchase.

Different states have different rules on temp tags. Some issue them, some don't. I've driven lots of cars w/o tags across lots of states. I figure as long as I have a bill of sale, the title or a copy of it, and the phone # of the seller, I'll be fine. And I don't drive exceedingly fast to draw attn to myself. So far, haven't been pulled over.

Agree with P_Carfahrer that driving your purchase home is a great way to see the country and make a To-Do list as you go. Porsches are great long distance tourers. They eat up the miles. I was able to check West Virg off my list of states I've never been to on my last WD adventure.

Good luck.
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Old 12-21-2018, 08:40 PM   #9
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I flew to Florida took the car for a test drive. After some negotiating and agree on a price I took the car to a shop for a lift inspection. The also ran a snan with the durametric. I had some new tires put on and drove it back to Michigan. It was March. My insurance guy said no plate needed. Have the bill of sale and title paperwork and drive straight home. 1600 miles no worries. The first few hundred miles I kept hearing noises expecting the engine to explode. Eventually I let it go and enjoyed the ride. I've never financed a vehicle so if it went it was a chance I was willing to take. I've bought other toys like: this before. I bought a camper in California. That was a cool trip.
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Old 12-21-2018, 09:35 PM   #10
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Also, do you fully trust car transporters with a Porsche?
Yes, a car is a car.

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And my last question: did you use an escrow service for the payment and title transfer?
No escrow service. All of those buys were from sellers on the up and up, so I wasn't worried about getting ripped off.

But I've done my fair share of sketchy car buys too and in those circumstances you have to do what you need to do to protect your interests. Who knows, maybe you'll feel that you need to arrive an hour early to check out the meeting place before anyone else arrives and bring a 9mm Glock along. Don't ask me how I know.
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Old 12-22-2018, 04:30 AM   #11
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Who knows, maybe you'll feel that you need to arrive an hour early to check out the meeting place before anyone else arrives and bring a 9mm Glock along. Don't ask me how I know.
Pro travel tip: don't bring a loaded Glock into an airport. You're welcome.

But good advice about location. May want to meet at a bank, etc. They should have plenty of surveillance cameras in the parking lot.

If you use a transport company, have the seller take a pic of the mileage going onto the truck.
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Old 12-22-2018, 09:02 AM   #12
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When I bought my R32 Skyline GT-R I did it in two trips.

First trip I rented a cheap car from Enterprise and drove 1000 miles to go see it. Test drove the car, talked to the dealer, etc.

After deciding that was the car I wanted I made arrangements for it to go to a shop. Here in CA Imported cars have to be made smog legal. So the shop had the R32 for 6 months running it on a dyno, changing the tune etc.

When the car was ready I flew out, and drove her home.



Obviously you don't need to make the car smog legal. But I do recommend that you drive or fly out, make sure it is what you really want, then send it to a shop for inspection.

What may seem to be a little issue on a Boxster.... like a demon possessed driver side window is something not to take lightly.
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Old 12-22-2018, 09:34 AM   #13
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My insurance guy said no plate needed. Have the bill of sale and title paperwork and drive straight home.
That's not the universal 50 state rule. Different states, and different LEOs are going to handle that differently. That can get you into some trouble if you're pulled over.
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Old 12-22-2018, 09:39 AM   #14
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Pro travel tip: don't bring a loaded Glock into an airport.
That's probably good advice.

Of course, I can't bring a loaded Glock anywhere, except a range, because in my state only the Bad Guys are allowed to possess weapons, not the Good Guys.
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Old 12-22-2018, 03:40 PM   #15
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That's not the universal 50 state rule. Different states, and different LEOs are going to handle that differently. That can get you into some trouble if you're pulled over.
In utah you must have an "in transit" permit. costs $15, good for 72 hours. You can buy and print it online.

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Old 12-22-2018, 04:44 PM   #16
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When I bought my R1100S in South Carolina and rode it back to Texas in 2015, I purchased a Texas transit tag (because that was my destination state) for $25 at the Texas DMV online site. It had the VIN on the tag and the start and end date for the tag validity. I think it was good for a month, but I’m not sure. I printed and laminated it and put in on the bike when I started my trip.

During my research, I discovered that every state I checked had different regulations. The Texas DMV advised to have the tag mounted and to have the title and other executed documents with me during the trip. I didn’t encounter any difficulties but YMMV of course.
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Old 12-22-2018, 05:21 PM   #17
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When I bought my R1100S in South Carolina and rode it back to Texas in 2015, I purchased a Texas transit tag (because that was my destination state) for $25 at the Texas DMV online site. It had the VIN on the tag and the start and end date for the tag validity. I think it was good for a month, but I’m not sure. I printed and laminated it and put in on the bike when I started my trip.

During my research, I discovered that every state I checked had different regulations. The Texas DMV advised to have the tag mounted and to have the title and other executed documents with me during the trip. I didn’t encounter any difficulties but YMMV of course.
No reason to encounter difficulties if you have a temp transit tag. Actually, I thought you get the transit tag from the state you're departing from, not the destination state.

And you're quite correct that different states will have different rules and it behooves you to check those rules. I would NEVER drive without no plates and just a bill of sale and signed title in my hand.

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