Posted by
Off Highland rd.
Member since Sep 2012
1230 posts

Purchasing a car out of state
Looking for some advice on purchasing a car in another state. A little more then 100 miles from me.

I read Will Cover's post and feel comfortable with the negotiation aspect.

How would you go about this transaction?

1. Identify car
2. Contact dealer to ask a few questions.
This is where my question is: Do I attempt to negotiate over the phone? Do I just start some of it over the phone and then drive over?

Houston Astros Fan
Member since Dec 2006
1491 posts

re: Purchasing a car out of state
Going through this myself right now. My best advice:
1) Pick a search radius in miles you're willing to travel to get the vehicle. Take note, some dealerships are willing to ship (you'll pay for that) or even better, meet you halfway. Be sure and ask this at the beginning of your discussion, it could help you find cheaper options a little further out than you might initially consider.

2) I should've listed this first...but for me, I identify exactly the make and model I want and use and Cargurus to search within the radius I select. You can then easily identify where your lowest prices are. Cargurus even tells you (roughly) how many days it's been for sale and the pricing history of it. Note: not all vehicles are on both sites, which is why I use both.

3) I don't even give them my phone number until I've discussed pricing with them through email. I make it very clear what my intentions are: "I'm shopping multiple dealers in the region. I want your best out-the-door pricing (which will include TT&L). I'm going to narrow it down to the lowest 3 offers and work from there."
*To get the most accurate out-the-door the price, go ahead and give them your home address unless you know the sales tax in your area. Keep in mind, some dealerships wont collect LA state taxes but you'll pay that separately once it's registered in this state.

4) Once I narrow it done to the final 3 and I have their out the door offer, then I'll call them when I'm ready to negotiate from there. Whoever gives me the lowest out-the-door price at the end, wins usually. Now, if one is slightly higher than the other but they're willing to throw in some extra accessories or willing to meet me halfway or cut shipping costs and the lowest offer isnt, I might go with the higher price instead. It just depends in what you value most out of the deal.

Whatever you do, wait until the last minute to give them that phone number and don't let them BS you...they're all more than capable of getting you the numbers you need without calling you on the phone.

Also, if you have a trade, lie through your teeth and tell them you dont...wait until AFTER you've got their lowest out-the-door price then negotiate the trade in. Make sure you have proof (PDF copy of buyer's order/buyers sheet) of that lowest price offer before you bring up the trade...they've been known to change things after the fact.

Good luck

Member since Jul 2007
3099 posts

re: Purchasing a car out of state
In my experience, several dealers give no way to reach them unless you give your number first. Also, most aren't goign to respond to an inquiry if they can't confirm you are actually interested. It's just not worth their time. I have a burner number and email address I give out. When they call, I tell them I prefer email. The ones that want your business will follow up this way.

One thing you will see if you look at bigger markets is the up front pricing is much better. Many of these places won't negotiate on price anymore. If so, you can always negotiate trade, options, etc. If you find a car listed for a price better than what anybody else is offering, don't expect much more discount. Also, dealer should be willing to give you a number on your trade without seeing car in person. They can give you this with basic info, and maybe pictures, and confirm when you get there. I have done this twice with no problem.

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