Buying a car interstate

Are you buying a car interstate? Read our guide on its pros and cons, costs, registration, getting it home and more.

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Found the perfect car, but it's in another state?

Read this guide to learn about the costs involved, how to inspect and register your car, how to get it delivered and the pros and cons of interstate car buying.

Can I buy a car from interstate?

Yes, you can purchase a vehicle from a different state, but it's a little more complicated than buying in the same state. You'll need to arrange for car transportation and also have the registration transferred into your name and state.

Pros of buying a car interstate

  • More vehicle choice. You'll have more options if you expand your search to include cars located in different states.
  • Potentially cheaper vehicles. Car prices can vary between states, so you may be able to find a better deal by buying interstate.

Cons of buying a car interstate

  • Having to arrange an inspection. It is always a good idea to inspect a car in person before you commit to buying it, but that may be difficult to arrange if the vehicle is interstate. You will need to organise transport, and you may need to take time off work to travel. Then again, you might have to arrange an inspection of the interstate car over a weekend.
  • Cost of travel and transport. You will have to factor in the cost of travelling to inspect the vehicle, which can be expensive. If you decide not to buy it, you will still be out of pocket for the cost of travel. You will also have to cover the cost of getting the car home, whether that's driving it yourself or getting it delivered by a car delivery company. The cost of transport varies depending on how far away the vehicle is, the type of car being transported and even the cost of fuel, so compare quotes from multiple companies before choosing one.

Other costs to consider when buying a car from another state

Aside from the purchase price of the car and the cost of transporting the vehicle, there are a few extra costs you need to consider when buying a vehicle interstate:

  • Transfer of registration. When you buy a car, you’ll need to cover the cost of transferring the vehicle’s registration into your name. However, if the vehicle is first registered in your name in another state before you drive it home, you’ll also need to cover the cost of moving the registration over to your state of residence.
  • Insurance. Also, remember that as part of the cost of registering your vehicle, you’ll also need to pay for compulsory third party (CTP) insurance. This will most likely set you back a few hundred dollars or more, but it’s automatically included in the cost of registration everywhere but NSW, the ACT and Queensland.
  • Roadworthy and safety certificates. You’ll also need to cover the cost of getting the necessary roadworthy and safety certificates (pink slips) to register the car in your state. Costs for these important certifications vary – for example, in NSW, a Vehicle Safety Check (pink slip) for a light vehicle costs $42 and a Safety and Identity Check (formerly a blue slip) costs $67 – so check with the roads and transport department in your state to find out how much you’ll need to pay.

Where to find a vehicle

There are a few options available when buying a car interstate:

  • Buying from a dealer. If you buy a new car from an interstate dealer, it should be protected by an extensive warranty. The good news is that used-car dealers are also required by law to provide a 3-month warranty for used cars with less than 160,000km on the clock, are under 10 years old and do not exceed the luxury car tax threshold. This warranty expires after 3 months or 5,000km. Most dealers will happily record a walk-around video for you to look at the car in more detail before you commit to travelling. They may even work with a delivery company.
  • Buying at an auction. The same warranty applies when you buy a vehicle from a licensed chattel auctioneer. If you buy a vehicle at auction, the auctioneer must inform you if the vehicle does not come with a statutory warranty. If you decide to buy a car without this protection, make sure you’re aware that you will have to cover the cost of any defects.
  • Buying from a private seller. If you buy from a private seller, protections such as cooling-off periods and statutory warranties do not apply. With this in mind, it’s essential that you thoroughly research and inspect the car before you buy.
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Before you buy: Inspecting the car

The Internet is invaluable when you’re researching cars for sale interstate. While it’s not the same as kicking the tyres yourself, doing some online legwork can help you find a huge range of useful information about a car’s condition, features, service history and warranty.

However, when you’re buying a used car interstate, it’s highly recommended that you make sure the vehicle gets a proper inspection before you buy. There are two options for this:

  • View the vehicle yourself. For many of us, physically viewing and test-driving a car before we buy it is an absolute must. This can be an expensive and time-consuming exercise when buying interstate, but paying for flights and accommodation (if necessary) to check out the car in person could end up saving you thousands of dollars in the long run.
  • Pre-purchase vehicle inspection service. Motoring organisations such as the National Roads and Motorists' Association (NRMA) and the Royal Automobile Clubs of Victoria and of Queensland (RACV and RACQ) all offer independent vehicle inspection services to help you determine whether the car is safe to drive and in good condition. Alternatively, you may want to find a trusted local mechanic to give the car a once-over before you part with any cash.

In some cases, you may be tempted to buy a car sight unseen, but this is an extremely risky option and not recommended. Even if you know and trust the seller, there’s no way of knowing for sure if the vehicle is in good condition or if you’re getting a fair price. If the car you buy is not what you expected, you could end up significantly out of pocket.

Before you buy: Vehicle background checks

When buying a used car from interstate, you should always conduct a full check of the vehicle’s history – just as you would when buying from a seller down the road. This allows you to determine the following:

  • Whether the car has been written off or suffered previous damage
  • Whether the car is listed as stolen
  • Whether the car is under finance or is leased (if you buy a car from a licensed motor dealer or auctioneer, they must guarantee clear title)
  • The build and compliance dates of the vehicle
  • The vehicle’s sales history
  • The consistency and accuracy of the odometer reading

There are specialist companies that can conduct a full car history check for you, and many of them offer discounted prices to members of state and territory motorist organisations.

Alternatively, you can conduct all the necessary checks yourself through databases like the Personal Property Securities Register (PPSR) and through the roads and transport department in the relevant state or territory.

Registration

The next issue to look at is registering the vehicle, and there are a few factors to consider here. If the car is registered, the seller will typically not be able to transfer the Australian Vehicle Registration and Car Insurance (rego) for their home state over to you, unless you can provide a garage address in the same state.

This means the seller will usually cancel their rego once they sell the car, so if you want to drive it home, you’ll need to apply for an unregistered vehicle permit. This permit is only for a limited period, but it allows you to move an unregistered vehicle by road from one place to another, provided the vehicle is in a safe condition.

In some cases, the seller might agree to let the rego remain in place on the vehicle for a limited period, as long as you provide a statutory declaration accepting liability for any fines or damage. Just remember that you’ll be required to transfer the interstate registration into your name within 14 days.

However, the good news is that if you buy a car with a period of interstate registration still remaining, you can apply to the roads and transport department in that state or territory to have the unused registration costs refunded.

Getting your new car home

The final factor you need to consider is how you will get your new vehicle home. There are a few options available:

  • Drive it back yourself. If you don’t mind a long road trip, you can fly interstate to pick the car up and then drive it home yourself. Just remember to factor the cost of a flight, fuel and accommodation into your budget.
  • Get someone else to drive it back for you. Don’t have the time to pick the car up yourself? Ask a friend or relative to do the job for you – and cover all their expenses, of course.
  • Get it shipped. There are numerous carriers that specialise in shipping cars interstate. Look around for a reputable company by checking online reviews and asking family and friends for their recommendations. Also make sure to compare quotes from multiple companies before choosing one.
  • Get the seller to drop it off. In some cases, it may be possible to negotiate for the seller to deliver the car to your door – if you’re willing to pay an extra price of course. You’ll need to cover the cost of fuel, the seller’s transport home and also compensate them for their time. This may not be possible in many situations, but it’s worth considering if picking the car up yourself isn’t an option, and if you think it might be cheaper than paying to have it transported commercially.

Compare car loans now

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Name Product Interest Rate (p.a.) Comparison Rate (p.a.) Monthly Repayment View Details CTA
Credit Concierge Car Loan
From
2.99%
(fixed)
4.07%
You'll receive a fixed rate of 2.99% p.a. with a comparison rate of 4.07% p.a.
Get access to over 20 providers to fund a new or used car.
You'll receive a fixed rate of 2.99% p.a. with a comparison rate of 4.07% p.a.
Get access to over 20 providers to fund a new or used car.
IMB New Car Loan
4.88%
(fixed)
5.23%
You'll receive a fixed rate of 4.88% p.a.
A low minimum borrowing amount of $2,000 that you can use to purchase a new car or one that's up to two years old.
You'll receive a fixed rate of 4.88% p.a.
A low minimum borrowing amount of $2,000 that you can use to purchase a new car or one that's up to two years old.
Plenti Car Loan
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4.89%
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5.44%
You'll receive a fixed rate from 4.89% p.a.
Borrow up to $100,000 with a Plenti Car Loan and benefit from no early repayment or exit fees.
You'll receive a fixed rate from 4.89% p.a.
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Loans.com.au - New and Dealer Used Car Loan
From
4.67%
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5.22%
You'll receive a fixed rate from 4.67% p.a. based on your risk profile
Finance a new car and benefit from features such as fast approval, no ongoing fees and an optional balloon payment. Settle the loan before 30 November 2021 and enter the draw to win a $1,000 fuel gift voucher. T&Cs apply.
You'll receive a fixed rate from 4.67% p.a. based on your risk profile
Finance a new car and benefit from features such as fast approval, no ongoing fees and an optional balloon payment. Settle the loan before 30 November 2021 and enter the draw to win a $1,000 fuel gift voucher. T&Cs apply.
Stratton Finance New Car Loan
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3.85%
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4.05%
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Apply for up to $250,000 and use cash or trade in a vehicle to use as a deposit. Optional balloon payment available.
You'll receive a fixed rate from 3.85% p.a. depending on the lender you are approved with
Apply for up to $250,000 and use cash or trade in a vehicle to use as a deposit. Optional balloon payment available.
NRMA New Car Loan
From
4.99%
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5.69%
You'll receive a fixed rate from 4.99% p.a.
Purchase a new or used car up to 3 years old and benefit from a fixed rate and no monthly fees. Pre-approval available within 5 business hours.
You'll receive a fixed rate from 4.99% p.a.
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MoneyForJam Car Loan
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4.85%
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Borrow between $4,500 and $120,000 with loan terms up to 7 years to finance a new or used car. Get access to more than 40 providers.
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Heritage Bank Car Loan
4.89%
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5.53%
You'll receive a fixed rate from 4.89% p.a.
Finance a new or used car up to 5 years old. Large maximum borrowing amount up to $100,000 and terms up to 7 years.
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Finance a new or used car up to 5 years old. Large maximum borrowing amount up to $100,000 and terms up to 7 years.
NAB Personal Loan Unsecured Fixed
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6.99%
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7.91%
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Symple Loans Personal Loan
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6.47%
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Borrow up to $50,000 to pay for what you need.
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Great Southern Bank Fixed Rate Car Loan
6.79%
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A secured loan with a high maximum borrowing amount up to $100,000. Redraw facility and no monthly fees.
You'll receive a fixed rate of 6.79% p.a.
A secured loan with a high maximum borrowing amount up to $100,000. Redraw facility and no monthly fees.
SocietyOne Car Loan
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5.95%
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5.95%
You'll receive a fixed rate between 5.95% p.a. and 17.49% p.a. based on your risk profile
A loan from $5,000 to use for a range of purposes. Benefit from no ongoing fees and no early repayment fee.
You'll receive a fixed rate between 5.95% p.a. and 17.49% p.a. based on your risk profile
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Wisr Secured Car Loan
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5.01%
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A flexible car loan from $5,000 - $63,000 with personalised rates and rewards for strong credit customers.

⭐Special Offer: Wisr's standard establishment fee $605 will be reduced to $195 for applications submitted through Finder. T&Cs apply.
You'll receive a personalised interest rate from 4.74% p.a. to 16.01% p.a. based on your risk profile
A flexible car loan from $5,000 - $63,000 with personalised rates and rewards for strong credit customers.

⭐Special Offer: Wisr's standard establishment fee $605 will be reduced to $195 for applications submitted through Finder. T&Cs apply.
OurMoneyMarket Car Loan
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Borrow between $2,001 and $75,000 to finance a new or used car up to 7 years.
Latitude Personal Loan (Secured)
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Beyond Bank Low Rate Car Loan
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Compare car insurance side-by-side and get quotes

Name Product Roadside Assistance Accidental Damage Storm Choice of Repairer Agreed or Market Value
Budget Direct Comprehensive
Optional
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: Awarded the 2021 Finder Award for Car Insurance - Value in QLD, SA, TAS, VIC, WA and Car Insurance - Features in NSW, VIC, WA, this policy offers solid coverage at a low cost. Budget Direct's claims service has received a 4.2/5 based on nearly 5,000 customer reviews.

⭐ Current offer: Get 15% discount on first year's premium when you take out a policy online. T&Cs apply.

Who it might be good for: People who want a comprehensive policy without breaking the bank.
Bingle Comprehensive
Market
Finder's summary:Bingle consistently comes up as one of the cheaper insurers out there. It only covers the basics. You don't get to choose your own repairer, you're not covered for personal items in the car and unless you add it as an option, you won't get a hire car if your car is stolen. But this keeps its premiums low.

Who it might be good for: Someone who wants a low-cost option that covers them for the basics.
Coles Comprehensive
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: With Coles comprehensive car insurance, you could earn double flybuys points at Coles supermarkets and you can get $10 off your Coles grocery bill every time you redeem 2,000 Flybuys points. If your car is damaged, you could benefit from a one-week turnaround on repairs.

⭐ Current offer: Get 10% off your first year's premium when you take out a policy online. T&Cs apply.

Who it might be good for: Coles customers and Flybuys collectors.
Virgin Comprehensive
Optional
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: Finalists for the 2021 Finder Awards for Best Car Insurance - Value in VIC, QLD, SA, WA and TAS, Virgin Comprehensive provides a good level of cover for a decent price.

⭐ Current offer: Get 15% off on your first year’s premium when you purchase a new eligible comprehensive car insurance online. T&Cs apply.

Who it might be good for: People who'd like to manage their policy online 24/7.
Australia Post Comprehensive
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: Australia Post car insurance offers comprehensive cover for things like theft, fire, new for old replacement and emergency accommodation and transport. Cover also extends to anyone who uses your car, not just you.

⭐ Current offer: Get $75 off your first year’s premium when you buy online. T&Cs apply.

Who it might be good for: If multiple people use the one car and you don’t want to worry about listing all drivers.
Stella Comprehensive
Optional
Agreed
Finder's summary: Stella’s a female-focused insurer. It'll cover you if your car is damaged as a result of domestic violence. It offers higher cover for baby gear than most, with up to $2,000 cover for prams, strollers and child seats.

Who it might be good for: Someone who wants a female-centred car insurance policy (it will cover men too).
Qantas Comprehensive
Optional
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: You'll be able to choose how comprehensive you want your cover to be with optional extras like choice of repairer and the option of agreed or market value.

⭐ Current offer: Earn Qantas Points for joining and paying your premium. Sign up today and earn up to 20,000 Qantas Points (points awarded will be based on your premium). T&Cs and eligibility apply.

Who it might be good for: People who'd like to earn Qantas Points.
ahm Comprehensive
Optional
Both
Finder's summary: ahm comprehensive car insurance lets you choose higher excess to reduce your premiums. Its Fixed Kilometre Plan can save you up to 30% compared to its standard comprehensive cover.

⭐ Current offer: Get 12 months free roadside assistance when you purchase a new policy online.^ Offer ends October 14. T&C’s apply.

Who it might be good for: People who drive less than 15,000 km per year.
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Frequently asked questions about purchasing a car interstate

What are common interstate car purchases?

NSW to VIC and VIC to NSW, due to the proximity. NSW to QLD is also commonly searched, while VIC to SA and VIC to QLD less so.

Where will I need to pay stamp duty on my car?

Stamp duty is payable in the state or territory in which you register the vehicle.

How else can I make sure I'm buying a good-quality vehicle?

Make sure to ask the seller for a copy of the car's servicing records. This will help you determine whether the vehicle has been properly looked after.

Are the requirements for a roadworthy or safety certificate the same across all states and territories?

No. Requirements differ between states and territories, so a car classified as roadworthy in Queensland, for example, may not pass the test in Victoria. Check with the roads and transport department where you live for details of how a car can be certified as roadworthy.

I'm confused about registering a car from interstate – where can I find more information?

You can find more information about the process by contacting the roads and transport department in your home state or territory and in the state or territory where you are purchasing the vehicle.
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Car Loan Offers

Important Information*
Logo for IMB New Car Loan
IMB New Car Loan

You'll receive a fixed rate of 4.88% p.a.
A low minimum borrowing amount of $2,000 that you can use to purchase a new car or one up to two years old.

Logo for Beyond Bank Low Rate Car Loan "Special Offer"
Beyond Bank Low Rate Car Loan "Special Offer"

You'll receive a fixed rate of 4.69% p.a.
Take advantage of a competitive rate, pre-approval and no early repayment fees when you finance a car under two years old.

Logo for RACV New Car Loans
RACV New Car Loans

You'll receive a fixed rate from 4.99% p.a.
A larger loan of $5,000 or more to help you buy a new or used car. 5-hour pre approval available and no ongoing fees.

Logo for NRMA New Car Loan
NRMA New Car Loan

You'll receive a fixed rate of 4.99% p.a.
Purchase a new or used car up to 2 years old and benefit from a fixed rate and no monthly fees. Pre-approval available within 5 business hours.

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4 Responses

    Default Gravatar
    MayFebruary 1, 2019

    If I buy a car from Victoria privately, is the owner liable to provide a Road Worthy Certificate as well?

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      ValFebruary 6, 2019Staff

      Hi May,

      Thank you for leaving a question! Yes, you’ll also need to cover the cost of getting the necessary roadworthy and safety certificates (pink slips) to register the car in your state. Costs may vary as well depending on state, we may suggest you to check with the roads and transport department in your state to find out how much you’ll need to pay.

      Cheers,
      Val

    Default Gravatar
    JasonMay 12, 2018

    I’m looking to buy a car interstate how can I make sure I receive the car how do I pay and give him the funds once I know it’s been put on the freight?

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JhezMay 13, 2018Staff

      Hello Jason,

      Thank you for your comment.

      The guide above could be very helpful for you since you can get some tips on how to buy a car interstate. For this process, you can probably hire someone or have a team/company to check all the stuff needed to be checked when buying a car. For the payment, there are many payment options you may opt to, like bank to bank or in a form of a check. Make sure you ask all the necessary documentation and verify that all information are correct. I hope this helps.

      Regards,
      Jhezelyn

      Regards,
      Jhezelyn

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