Moving overseas?

Think smart.

Shipping your old ride overseas is a costly and time consuming venture which can easily put you back several thousand dollars.

That would seriously put a damper on the funds for your new life. Expats need to save all the money they can, especially as they get ready to take on big challenges in a new world.

However, buying a car overseas can be pretty scary. You’re basically a stranger in a strange land. You don’t want to get swindled or stuck with a ride that breaks down every time you drive to the corner store.

Neither do you want to get bogged down with a massive payment every month, becoming victim to the “new car, no groceries” syndrome.

Never fear. Buying a car overseas doesn’t have to be a huge headache. There are several routes you can go and several rules you should follow.

Read this guide to get the skinny on buying your wheels while abroad.

Get Down to the Dealership: Buying a Car off the Lot

buying a car while living abroad

Image via ECC

Car dealerships exist almost everywhere.

They may look a bit different than they do in the U.S.A., but the function is the same: you go there, you look around, and someone tries desperately to sell you a vehicle.

Well, not necessarily. Depending on where you go, the salesman may be much more reserved.

However, buying from a dealership has its plusses in a foreign land. Much of the time, the government imposes regulations on the seller. These may be similar or even stricter than the laws in the United States, and exist in order to protect the buyer from scams and fraud.

Buying a New Car from the Dealership

If you have a good bit of funds in the bank this is your best option.

Even if you don’t have unlimited money, it may be for you. Why is that? Because, as an expat, you still have financing options when buying a vehicle. These include no-credit international financing companies like Expat Ride and International Auto Source

Buying Used Cars from the Dealership

Buying a used car from a dealership is usually safe, thanks to government laws.

However, make sure the dealership is licensed and operating legally, and make sure to check the laws of your specific country —many countries do not have the laws put into place that the U.S.A. does.

You can find used cars of all values and prices. You may not even have to use and international financing service.

Rules for Buying a Car from a Private Seller

Buying a car from a private seller is something many of us have done stateside. It’s usually cheaper, requires no financing, and sometimes you’ll be able to haggle on the price.

You can find cars for sale on many public forums. Try out your country’s version of Craigslist, or use Facebook Marketplace to source a cool ride.

Here are some rules to follow when buying a car from a private seller overseas:

  • Meeting up: Always meet in person before deciding to buy the car, preferably in a public place. This way you can drive the car, inspect it, and get a general vibe from the seller. Always go with your gut. If they seem untrustworthy, run the other way.
  • Inspection: Bring your own mechanic to inspect the car. It may cost you a little bit of money, but it can save you a whole lot of heartache in the end.
  • Payment: Never bring the payment with you upon the first meeting your seller, especially not in cash. Let them know beforehand you want to drive and inspect the car, and you will meet up at a later time with the money. A trustworthy seller will understand and be accommodating. If they seem pushy about it, look for a different vehicle.

The Importance of Legal Papers When Buying a Car

papers you need for when you buy a car abroad

Image via Sixt

There’s a lot of paperwork involved in buying a vehicle. You need to do your research to determine exactly what your country of residence requires.

Though paperwork differs in every country, much of it is the same across the board.

For starters, you’ll generally need to have the title transferred to your name. This usually involves identification like your driver’s license, and also may include traveling to a government office to complete the transfer.

Make sure you buy insurance as soon as possible. If you cannot find a local company to insure you, you can buy insurance from companies marketing car insurance specifically for expats like Clements.

Buying a Car Means Being Happy with Your New Ride

“Buy car, go far.”

This rhyme will help you when you get discouraged about buying a car overseas. Remember how much better your life will be when you’re finally mobile again!

Having a car is an exciting and fun way to get around and explore your new home. By being safe and following all the laws of your new country, you’ll be driving in no time!

Feature image via TurtleMint


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