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Discussion Starter #1
Hi,

Thanks to everyone who reads this. This board is great. I'm now seriously considering a Subaru at a dealer 514 miles away from me. The price is a good $1700 lower than anyone else for a similar one, and it has 28 service records on Carfax throughout its life, more than I've seen for any other car in the two months I've been seriously looking.

My question is:

What is the best way of going about this if I decide I'd like to purchase it?


I can get there by train, so no problem for that part... and I can bring a cashier's check for the agreed upon price, so that part's not hard either.

What I do wonder about is, since the price is so relatively low, why so? And aside from a test drive, I'd really feel better if my local mechanic could see it, but since it's so far... I don't know how I could make that happen.

Well, there is another Subaru dealer about 40 miles away, but I don't really know them or trust them either. I'm guessing they'd be independent from the dealer selling the car I'm looking at, but who knows? Even if so, would the selling dealer let me drive the car 40 miles each way down and back the expressway to get it looked over? Or is that totally unreasonable (seems like it might be...)?

I also thought maybe I could ask for some kind of escape clause in the sales contract that if my mechanic finds problems I could cancel the sale, but I don't know how I could make that work because even if they agreed to it, the car would then have 1000 more miles on the clock and therefore further reduce the value.

Anyone done this before or even read about it and have some good ideas? I'd like to move quick because even though this car has been sitting there since January (according to Carfax) it'd seem like a shame if it suddenly sold out from under me (and I do *need* to buy in the next 1.5 months)! I haven't decided 100% if this is the one I want, am going to sleep on it.

Do most people just have strong enough knowledge themselves to evaluate the car and take it or leave it on that basis? I'm not a mechanic, and this is the first time I'm buying a car so this is all new to me. :icon_biggrin:

I guess on top of all that there's also taxes and temporary tags and insurance for the bring-home trip to figure out!

J
 

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I would never buy a used vehicle without having it checked by a mechanic.

Over 500 miles from you? Lowest price you could find? Car has been sitting there for 4 month? You have not seen it, but are ready to hop on a train to buy it? With payment in your pocket? Are you looking for trouble?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I would never buy a used vehicle without having it checked by a mechanic.

Over 500 miles from you? Lowest price you could find? Car has been sitting there for 4 month? You have not seen it, but are ready to hop on a train to buy it? With payment in your pocket? Are you looking for trouble?
I checked the Carfax again just now and it's actually only 2 months of sitting on the lot, if that makes any difference. After looking at so many cars online in one night I accidentally mixed it up with another one.

Not particularly looking for trouble, but I am looking for a deal. I was encouraged by the extensive maintenance history... all at the dealer who is now selling it, from one original owner. Isn't that today's equivalent of going to talk to the owner face to face and finding them with a file folder of invoices from all the scheduled and otherwise required service?

I was thinking it could just as well be the case that no one in that region cares for this particular style as it could be the case that it's a total lemon with a service nightmare lurking under the hood or elsewhere... I have been taught that something that seems to good to be true usually is, but I've also heard on this board about people getting amazing deals, sometimes hundreds of miles away from where they live.

Based on the past two months of my searching, if I only search near where I live, near enough to take the car to my own mechanic for pre-buy check out there seems little chance I'll find a car in the models I'm considering at all, let alone one I can afford within my required timeframe (before the end of May).

I wasn't really planning on buying without having it checked... but I just don't know whether to a) trust their mechanic, they are a full Subaru dealer b) ask to drive it 80 miles round trip to the Subaru dealer in the next town and trust another mechanic that I don't know or c) Find some way to get my own mechanic to be able to check it out with something in the contract that I'll buy it unless he finds something bad.

I'll be the first to admit I don't know how to do this kind of long-distance deal. I know people here have successfully done this before. I'm just trying to get some tips so I can hopefully pull it off too and have a great new (to me) Subaru, if that's what this 514 mile away Subaru is. Thanks for your reply.
 

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Sounds like you are using your head and not jumping into the deal. Good for you.

Just a note about Carfax. They only report what is reported to them. In other words, don't trust it 100%. For example, and I'm not trying to say that's the case here, if a car was in an accident and repaired without going through an insurance company, like most rental companies do, it will not show up on Carfax.

Good luck.
 

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what year is it and how much do they want ? if it is a price to good to be true . if there are engine problems . what you save on the car cuold probly get you a new motor that pop in i saw a 2.5 with 6 spd for 1500. somthin on e bay .
 

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Where are you located, and where is your prospective car located. Some of us I am sure would help you out if we are in the area?
 

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Yeah, if you could give us a little more info as to where you're located and where the car is located.
I bought a car that was about 450miles away without driving it before hand.
The dealership really went out of their way to get me the things I asked for, and were great to deal with.
 

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SG9 Forester XT Stick Shift
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I bought my car from non Subaru dealer 350 miles away. The only thing I saw before was just some high quality pictures. I rent a car one way. Took the family with me for a weekend get away.

I put refundable deposit using credit card so if the car was not as advertised I could back out from the deal. The credit card just makes it safer in case I am dealing with bad dealer. Highly recommend to put deposit down since the dealer could sell the car to someone else if you did not put deposit down.

The dealer was nice enough to even pick up the hotel tab. The price was about $3K lower than dealer that are about 50-150 miles away from me. The car only have 11K miles so factory warranty are still good.

If you have car insurance right now they should cover any car you buy for a couple day to give you time to settle all paper work. Call them first and ask your insurance company.

My credit union deal with the dealership and we just bring cancel-able cashier check. If we cancel the loan we just have to pay the interest for a couple days.

There used to be a company recommended by Ebay to check the car prior to sale. I could not find any info at this moment.
Good luck
 

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Yeah, I took a greyhound out there.
The salesman I'd been dealing with even drove into the city to pick me up (45 minute drive with traffic) paid for breakfast, and basically all-around hooked us up right.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
what year is it and how much do they want ? if it is a price to good to be true . if there are engine problems . what you save on the car cuold probly get you a new motor that pop in i saw a 2.5 with 6 spd for 1500. somthin on e bay .
It's a 2005 for about $10K, so it's similar to Augie's deal, but not quite as good of a deal as that! Somewhere around $2K less than other similar ones. Hopefully it's just a good deal rather than a problem car. Thanks for your input.
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
Where are you located, and where is your prospective car located. Some of us I am sure would help you out if we are in the area?
I'm Mid-Atlantic (East Coast), the car is Burlington, VT. Thanks for the idea!

So, how would it work? I'd just post a new thread like "Anyone in Burlington, VT?" and then if anyone was willing to volunteer to go there and check it out or was already going to be at the dealer then they'd go and give it a once over to see if there is anything obviously awful about it and if so I'm back to the drawing board and if not then I'd proceed as Augie did?
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Yeah, if you could give us a little more info as to where you're located and where the car is located.
I bought a car that was about 450miles away without driving it before hand.
The dealership really went out of their way to get me the things I asked for, and were great to deal with.
Yeah, I took a greyhound out there.
The salesman I'd been dealing with even drove into the city to pick me up (45 minute drive with traffic) paid for breakfast, and basically all-around hooked us up right.
See above for where me and the car are. Can you tell me what all you did ask for? I'm still pretty new to this... and would be very grateful to know.

That's good to know that they were willing to pick you up because I noticed there are a few miles (10 or so) between the train station and the dealership and I was wondering how I 'd get there! Pretty cool that they got you breakfast too. Good to see they treat out-of-towners right. Thanks for your post.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I bought my car from non Subaru dealer 350 miles away. The only thing I saw before was just some high quality pictures. I rent a car one way. Took the family with me for a weekend get away.

I put refundable deposit using credit card so if the car was not as advertised I could back out from the deal. The credit card just makes it safer in case I am dealing with bad dealer. Highly recommend to put deposit down since the dealer could sell the car to someone else if you did not put deposit down.

The dealer was nice enough to even pick up the hotel tab. The price was about $3K lower than dealer that are about 50-150 miles away from me. The car only have 11K miles so factory warranty are still good.

If you have car insurance right now they should cover any car you buy for a couple day to give you time to settle all paper work. Call them first and ask your insurance company.

My credit union deal with the dealership and we just bring cancel-able cashier check. If we cancel the loan we just have to pay the interest for a couple days.

There used to be a company recommended by Ebay to check the car prior to sale. I could not find any info at this moment.
Good luck
Wow! Looks like you got a really amazing deal, and thanks for taking the time to write out the details here. I do have a couple questions now that I've read what you wrote:

  • What amount was the deposit? What is the most/least I should have to put down as a deposit?

  • If it would have been not as advertised would you have just asked the credit card company for a chargeback (I think that's what it's called) or do something else? Do you think the dealer would have willingly refunded it if you had just said "This car doesn't seem right/like it was online"?

  • Since the price was already good, you didn't need to haggle at all, or what? Just got the listed amount and any fees/taxes and brought it to them? I just thought of this: I hope they wouldn't have a low asking price but want to add in all kinds of nonsense fees (like apparently some dealers are trying to add $2000 economic downturn profit recovery fees I heard !?)...

Hmmm:

  • What are the legit fees that they could add to the asking price? ...or should I insist on the online price being the out the door price? It's already somewhere between $2K-$3K less than most others.

OK, hope that's not too many questions, but I haven't done this before and am trying to figure it out before I start to move on this so I don't make any costly mistakes one way or another.

Thanks again!
 

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See above for where me and the car are. Can you tell me what all you did ask for? I'm still pretty new to this... and would be very grateful to know.

That's good to know that they were willing to pick you up because I noticed there are a few miles (10 or so) between the train station and the dealership and I was wondering how I 'd get there! Pretty cool that they got you breakfast too. Good to see they treat out-of-towners right. Thanks for your post.
Well since I was buying an American car to import into Canada, they took care of securing all of the paperwork I needed to export/import it, as well as a few little pieces that were missing when I reviewed the pictures (interior clips and floormats)
 

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SG9 Forester XT Stick Shift
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  • What amount was the deposit? What is the most/least I should have to put down as a deposit?
The dealer ask for $200 at that time and I gladly pay that to keep the car until I arrive to check it.

  • If it would have been not as advertised would you have just asked the credit card company for a chargeback (I think that's what it's called) or do something else? Do you think the dealer would have willingly refunded it if you had just said "This car doesn't seem right/like it was online"?

I would ask the dealer to refund it. If they deny it then I will file complaint to my credit card company and usually they will refund it directly.

  • Since the price was already good, you didn't need to haggle at all, or what? Just got the listed amount and any fees/taxes and brought it to them? I just thought of this: I hope they wouldn't have a low asking price but want to add in all kinds of nonsense fees (like apparently some dealers are trying to add $2000 economic downturn profit recovery fees I heard !?)...

Its always worth to try to haggle. In my case the dealer was not even aware what XT is and price it basically the same as X. I basically ask them since I have to travel pretty far what is the best price you could offer me to make it worthwhile to drive down there. They give me a really good price and then I ask for another $250 less. They took it and even offered to pay for the hotel if I get there that weekend.

  • What are the legit fees that they could add to the asking price? ...or should I insist on the online price being the out the door price? It's already somewhere between $2K-$3K less than most others.

Always check KBB, Edmunds TMV for the area. I always target 5% lower than trade in price at KBB/Edmunds. I would not use NADA book value. Book value are just a way for dealer to rip off unsuspecting customer IMHO.

You should always ask out of the door price. I would never pay even a penny of administration cost. It should be part of the car price. Most local dealer have to charge sales tax. But since you are from other state then you should pay the tax when you got back to register the car in you home state not to the dealer. This is the slight inconvenience buying from out of state dealer you have to do some of the paperwork and registration yourself.



  • OK, hope that's not too many questions, but I haven't done this before and am trying to figure it out before I start to move on this so I don't make any costly mistakes one way or another.

No worries. Glad I could help.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
  • What are the legit fees that they could add to the asking price? ...or should I insist on the online price being the out the door price? It's already somewhere between $2K-$3K less than most others.

Always check KBB, Edmunds TMV for the area. I always target 5% lower than trade in price at KBB/Edmunds. I would not use NADA book value. Book value are just a way for dealer to rip off unsuspecting customer IMHO.

You should always ask out of the door price. I would never pay even a penny of administration cost. It should be part of the car price. Most local dealer have to charge sales tax. But since you are from other state then you should pay the tax when you got back to register the car in you home state not to the dealer. This is the slight inconvenience buying from out of state dealer you have to do some of the paperwork and registration yourself.
Thanks very much for your detailed reply! I just checked the Edmunds trade-in price to use as a benchmark to see what 5% below would be and I found that the asking price is already 17% below the trade in value!

That is not an out the door price, and I haven't asked what fees they ask for on top of it... but wow!

I'm starting to wonder if this is too good to be true, but it seems unwise to ask the dealer, "Hey, why is this car so discounted? You should be asking 17% (Edmunds Dealer trade-in) to 34% ( Edmunds Dealer retail) more for it!" :biggrin:

Anyone have any perspective on this situation, it looks like an amazing deal... but now it looks too amazing. If it's a good car I don't want to miss out, but if it's a lemon I don't want to get burned. Don't know quite what to make of this situation and/or exactly what to do here.

Hmmm.
 

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i drove 600+ miles to get mine youll be happy when you get want you want.
 

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That sounds like a killer deal. You might need to hurry. You should ask the dealer if there is any specific repair needed. They have to disclose known problem.

KBB and Edmunds are just guide. The car condition, Regional location and market price always plays their weight too.

Maybe try do some search in NASIOC New England chapter and ask around for any independent shop that would do inspection for you.
 

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I live in the top of Washington state and the everyone around here has a Subaru so they are expensive even used. I almost went to Portland Which is about 260 miles from me because in Oregon they are so much cheaper. Be prepared to take that train ride with your money in hand. You can always have it looked at when you get to where your going. But in the end with train tickets and what not would you really save $1700?

Good luck
 

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Personally I wouldn't go that far to purchase a car unless it was something very special or rare, or a killer deal.

From past experience used car shopping, what the owners describe for sale often isn't the car I go see. The sellers description is often exaggerated. Many times sellers have wasted my time with a less than truthful description to get me to come see their vehicle.

I have a pretty good knowledge of vehicles and ask the seller lots of questions before making a decision to look at a vehicle.
When I have a really good feeling about a vehicle , usually it's exactly what I expect to see.

The ones where I have a bit of a doubt often turn out to be a waste of time. That said, sometimes when looking for a specific vehicle there may not be many choices so even if I have doubts I'll have to go check it out.

This is my personal experience, I'm sure others may disagree. I'm in my 60's and usually purchased used vehicles.

Another thing to keep in mind, if the vehicle is in really great condition and a killer deal they sell super quick. Deals are out there but you have to be ready to jump on them.

Recently my daughter was in an accident, her car was totaled. Insurance company gave her what she originally paid for the car after 5 years of ownership. My daughter has me pick out her cars and purchase them if she isn't available at the time. I'm not real comfortable purchasing a vehicle for her she hasn't seen but so far she has been very pleased with my choices.

Sorry this is getting off topic. My point is, great vehicles that are good deals sell quick. I hesitate to look at a vehicle that sounds great, great price, but has been for sale for awhile. Knowing others have checked it out but hasn't sold.
 
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