If you’re going to stay in another country for an extended time, you’ll need a car to get around. The quality of public transportation in some countries is not on par with its Western counterparts – it is often too crowded, leaving no room for personal space. So if you don’t have a vehicle of your own, you might find yourself walking a lot more or spending more money on Ubers and taxi rides. Naturally, the logical thing to do is just buy your own car abroad. But how do you go about this when you’re an expat living overseas?
Try Looking for a Private Seller
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With the age of the internet, looking for virtually anything is as easy as typing the right keywords into Google. Refine your search even more by focusing on websites like Gumtree, Craigslist, and Carsales. It saves you time, effort, and money on visiting several different car yards. As long as you refine your search to just the car types that you actually want and need, you can limit the number of sellers that you need to visit. Be sure to put your haggling skills to use, because chances are you’ll find a couple of cars you like for cheap.
Be wary of scammers, though. As a rule of thumb, if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is. Remember that the private market is typically unregulated by specific governing boards, so recourse when things go sour is quite unlikely.
While we’re on the topic of private sellers being unregulated, one advantage of this is that most of them wouldn’t conduct a credit check – so even if you’ve only been in the country for a few months, getting a car this way will be much easier. Just take note that this also means that you’ll be handling all of the paperwork yourself, as private sellers typically don’t concern themselves with anything other than just selling the vehicle.
Get a Car Lease
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You would think that getting a car finance or lease would be tricky when you’re new to a country. If you’ve stayed in the country for a year or two, a quick Google search will help you find financiers that cater to your market.
It gets a little trickier if you’re completely new to a country, but that doesn’t mean that there are no financing agencies that cater to the no-credit market. Car lease companies like Alpha Finance, ExpatRide, ExpatCar, and International Autosource are some of the more popular companies that expats go to for their car-buying and credit-building needs.
If your stay in a country is sponsored by an employer, then another option would be for you to take a novated lease agreement with your employer and financier. If you can negotiate a fully maintained novated lease, you can save money, get all the flexibility benefits of a regular lease, retain equity built up in the vehicle, and have the car under your name instead of your employer’s.
Handling the Documents
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There are a few standard documents that you need to take care of before you even think about driving your car:
- Roadworthiness certificate
- Registration (or Rego)
As stated earlier, this is something that you’ll have to figure out on your own. Your best bet will be researching your locale’s government website and perhaps giving them a quick ring to ask for further instructions. If the car you’re buying abroad is going to be financed, then the documents wouldn’t be as much of a hassle, because typical car lease companies bundle rego with the vehicle and have several types of insurance as options.