| Thursday, December 22nd, 2022

Buying a car from abroad


If you're a car enthusiast looking for a vehicle overseas, this is the article for you! Whether you have your eye on a new model or something a bit more vintage, there are some things to consider before buying a car from abroad. Read our handy guide for some tips, things to remember before buying and money transfer advice. Let's get into it…


1) Buy from a reliable source


While the prospect of buying a car can be exciting, don't get attached to a car before doing your research! Relax, take your time and find a reliable car dealer or auction house to buy from. Remember, take great care if you are planning on buying a car from abroad via an individual seller. 


Using a car dealership or auction company that deals with classic cars is a great way to find the exact car you want to purchase. Top tip – check the classic car magazines to see which dealers advertise in them. Firstly, check whether the seller has dealt with other foreign purchasers before. Set aside some time to compare different cars from different dealers in different countries – you may find some considerable price discrepancies that are more than just what may be accounted for by different foreign exchange rates.


Take note of some of the most well known auction houses: RM Auctions, Gooding, Barrett Jackson, Mecum and H&H. Many of these have databases of past purchase prices paid for the cars and are a great research resource!


2) Check how to register your car


Undergoing the process of purchasing a car from an unfamiliar country can be complicated – especially if you don't know what the procedure involves. A good idea would be to check that you are able to register the car in the country in which you wish to import and drive it, and check it will pass any local inspections needed to avoid any tears down the line. It would definitely be wise to speak to a local car dealer to find out what may be required and to get a price for any changes that you may have to do once the car arrives. Heads up, this could include headlights, speedometer, glass or the windscreen.


3) Review your options for international shipping


Take note – if you intend to use international shipping for your car, ensure that you use a recognised agent and that your car is insured as part of this process. Understanding all the procedures involved in importing a car from overseas is essential so that the car arrives in your driveway in the condition in which you bought it.


4) Budget for taxes, import duty and any costs of conversion


Each country varies when it comes to reviewing what criteria may lead to a tax on the import of a car; this is especially true for classic cars as this typically depends on the age and sometimes the size of the engine. You may also be subject to additional taxes, and don't forget any potential conversion costs too!


5) Understand your warranty (if you have one)


If you're thinking ahead, try to find out if the car you have your heart set on is insured under the manufacturer’s warranty when it is imported from overseas (this will likely only occur on newer cars). It would also be sensible to carry out thorough research to ascertain if the warranty service is still available at a repair centre located in your home country. Classic cars, however, are expensive to maintain and often do not come with any warranties.


6) Join your local classic car club


Why not try to join the local club for the mark or make of car you're looking to purchase? These groups are a fountain of knowledge for your specific car and will likely have members who have been through the same process that you're going through, you might find you can learn a lot!


7) Use a money transfer provider to save money and time on the purchase


If you're buying a car overseas either from a dealer, a private individual or an auction house, you have a golden opportunity to save on the purchase by using a money transfer provider as opposed to your bank. An established international money transfer provider will be familiar with the purchases of luxury goods overseas and larger auction houses and dealers will be in the know too. 


If you are importing a classic Mustang from the US for example, it is also worth keeping an eye on the US dollar to GBP exchange rate – you may want to explore a hedging product to lock in a future exchange rate if you are planning to make a purchase at a known time several months ahead.


Good luck!


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