31 July 2004

The tricks to buying a car

This is our new car:

The Suburban
With the arrival of Rose, we needed to have a vehicle that could seat 8 people. This means a car beyond the typical seven-seater van. In Australia, this would mean the Toyota Commuter, the typical homeschooling van one sees at all homeschooling events. Here the choices are also limited, but the vehicles are much bigger. There is a lot more metal between the occupants and the outside and a correspondingly lower fuel economy. But there is plenty of room for passengers and luggage and a much bigger engine.

Luckily, the Ogburns decided they needed a vehicle more suited to their family size and asked us if we wanted to buy theirs. We accepted the offer and did the deal. They have now purchased a new (second hand) vehicle, which is very nice. However, this was our first experience with US vehicle registration and ownership, and bank financing, as we required a loan for part of the balance. The loan was easy because we had built up a relationship with the bank for the last 12 months. However, with bank involvement, the process is a little more complicated.
1. Organise finance
2. Organise Insurance
3. Purchase the vehicle
4. Changeover Tags (Registration plates).
Buying from someone we know, financing from a small bank and dealing with a local insurer made the process a lot easier. A problem arose whereby we needed the insurance before we could get the finance, the finance before we could get the car, the car/bill of sale before we could get the insurance. We solved this by the bank agreeing to go ahead and the insurance willing to proceed before transfer. Phew!
The next runaround was a result of the way license plates “Tags” are handled here. The Tag is based on ownership. (In Australia the registration plate stays with the vehicle until change of State) Once the car was sold, the Title was passed across to the Bank who forwarded it to the seller’s local authority responsible for Tags (Union County based). When they got it back from the local Titles Office, they notified our local authority, who then sent us notice that they were ready for us to come in and get a new tag. We then went to the Tax Commissioner of Towns County and got a new Tag for $20.00. The title transfer was $18.00. These are somehow based on the vehicle’s value, but overall they are much cheaper than in Australia.
In Australia you would have Duty on transfer of the vehicle ($240), a transfer fee ($17) and registration ($242) of the vehicle. Total Cost: $499.00 (US$). And if I bought the car from a dealer I would also pay 10% GST. More hassles here, but less costs.

No comments: