Unlike new and used vehicle purchases from a dealership, repos are sold “as-is.” This means that you buy the car in its current condition with no option for a refund. In return for an “as-is” sale, you get a vehicle at a highly discounted price. Inspecting the repo ensures you bring home a safe and reliable car that may only require cosmetic improvements or minor repairs.
But, what happens if you find a car that you love but in a different state? This is common with repos as inventory can be limited. Below are some tips on how to get a pre-purchase inspection for an out-of-state repo.
Gather information on the vehicle
When you use a repo finder tool like RepoFinder.com, you can shop for repos by state. So, let’s say that you broaden your search and find a repo a couple of states over. The first thing to do is let the seller know that you are interested. There’s usually a Contact button that allows you to contact the seller. They may even be able to give you more information about the car’s condition.
Inspect the online photos
Take a close look at the photos available online. You can learn a lot from online auction photos, such as the condition of the interior and exterior, frame damage and wheel misalingment. Having lots of pictures is a good indication that the car is in fair shape. If you’re having trouble getting photos, it may mean that the seller is trying to hide damage.
Send out a local mechanic
If everything looks good so far, send out a mechanic who can assess the vehicle for you. Here is a great resource from the IAA that lists qualified companies that provide vehicle inspection services. Find an inspection company in the state the vehicle is in and ask about their availability.
Notify the seller
Let the seller know that you plan to have the vehicle inspected. Coordinate with the seller and the vehicle inspection service to place an appointment. It’s possible that the two parties can talk to each other to figure out a good time, but this rarely happens. Instead, expect to schedule this appointment on your own after speaking to both parties.
Get the results
Because this is a repo sale, the seller may not bring it to a mechanic. You’ll most likely count on the mechanic to travel to the site on their own time. So, expect to pay around $250 or more for this. Once the mechanic has checked everything, they will give you an update over the phone. Mechanics don’t always catch everything, but at least you’ll have a pretty good idea if the car is worth buying or not.
Out-of-state repos are definitely more of a hassle than in-state ones, but sometimes people can’t find what they’re looking for unless they expand their reach. For a complete list of repo cars, trucks and recreational vehicles in or around your area, visit RepoFinder.com.