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Buying a Used Car in Minneapolis

Buying a Used Car in Minneapolis

Old Jun 18th 2013, 5:05 pm
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Lightbulb Buying a Used Car in Minneapolis

I've recently (last week) moved to Minneapolis from the UK, for permanent residency, and I was hoping that someone can help me out with tips and advice on buying a used car off Craigslist here in the US. I don't really know how the law and the whole system of selling/buying works here.

I tried to search for some kind of guide on this, but there's nothing specific out there.

When I buy a car with cash from someone I found on Craigslist:

- What other papers apart the "title" (or how do you call it here in MN?) do I need to request from the seller?
- Does DMV has to be involved: do I need to take the car there to re-register it on my name?
- How does car insurance work in the US: is it on a person, or on a car? If it's on a person, and I need to get new insurance straight away after I bought the used car, what's the best option to go about it? Do I need to take the actual car to... insurance company? Or do I only need papers of the car? Can this be done online then?
- And lastly, at the time of buying, how do I go about checking VIN number? I mean, the seller probably won't give it out on the phone, right? Which means I have to get there in order to see the number, but then I have to gain access to PC and Internet to check the VIN number online. Or is there a better way?

I've been driving for 7 years, but in Europe, the whole process is completely different so I'm kind of lost.

Thanks so much for your help!
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Old Jun 18th 2013, 5:09 pm
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Default Re: Buying a Used Car in Minneapolis

Carfax is your friend (Google it! ) ... If you're buying privately do not buy without a Carfax report, to cover the most basic risks of buying a car with a lien on it, a serious accident history or insurance write-off, or a stolen vehicle.
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Old Jun 18th 2013, 5:29 pm
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Default Re: Buying a Used Car in Minneapolis

Originally Posted by Pulaski View Post
Carfax is your friend (Google it! ) ... If you're buying privately do not buy without a Carfax report, to cover the most basic risks of buying a car with a lien on it, a serious accident history or insurance write-off, or a stolen vehicle.
Thanks. That's kind of what I mean -- will the owner be comfortable giving me his car's VIN number over the phone so that I can check it before going to meet him? Because obviously I can't check it while I'm look at the car as I need internet access and a PC for that.
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Old Jun 18th 2013, 5:42 pm
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Default Re: Buying a Used Car in Minneapolis

Originally Posted by Powka View Post
Thanks. That's kind of what I mean -- will the owner be comfortable giving me his car's VIN number over the phone so that I can check it before going to meet him? ....
I don't see why not, and tell them why you're asking, though whether you want to shell out for a Carfax report before you've seen the vehicle in person is worth thinking about. In my experience even Google will find some VINs on-line, so IF Google gives you a hit, check the basic vehicle details (mftr, model, year, colour) match before springing for a Carfax report. And still proceed with your eyes wide open, Carfax doesn't catch all issues on liens, damage, and legitimate ownership.

Last edited by Pulaski; Jun 18th 2013 at 5:45 pm.
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Old Jun 18th 2013, 5:52 pm
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Default Re: Buying a Used Car in Minneapolis

Wasn't there a car buying tip in the wiki? I thought there was.

Certainly plenty of previous threads on the subject. Fatbrit, certainly posted loads of posts previously on the subject.

Some will be state specific, but the general info will still be good.
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Old Jun 18th 2013, 5:57 pm
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Default Re: Buying a Used Car in Minneapolis

Originally Posted by Powka View Post
Thanks. That's kind of what I mean -- will the owner be comfortable giving me his car's VIN number over the phone so that I can check it before going to meet him? Because obviously I can't check it while I'm look at the car as I need internet access and a PC for that.
He'll give it.

You'll need it to get a insurance quote anyway.

Insurance will be crap regardless, but there's a thread on that almost daily, along with the wiki on credit information to get you started on that fun subject.

Generally, you buy car and depending on private/dealer/financed or not, will depend on what papers you get.

Gist of things, you go to a local DMV office to register the car, create plates, register a new title, pay sales tax. You may or may not need to get a state license first to do this.

You then, once you get your plates and registration sticker, get the car inspected if your state requires it.

With insurance, you're then good to go. There's often a short period of grace between buying, registering, plating and inspecting a car.
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Old Jun 18th 2013, 6:09 pm
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Default Re: Buying a Used Car in Minneapolis

Wow, thanks a lot for all the advice!

Okay, so as I understand there should not be any problem with acquiring VIN in advance. I also wasn't aware that Carfax might be that expensive so that I would have to think twice before using them.

The only issue now is the order of things.

Can it be this:
1. Buy a Used Car
2. Register with DMV
3. Get Car Insurance
4. Change Driving License to US ones

And yes, regarding the insurance, I've tried a few online quotes with various insurance websites, and the price for a used car that I'm thinking of getting comes to about $150/month. That's a bit more than I expected, but I guess that's what you get when you moved here just a week ago...
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Old Jun 18th 2013, 6:32 pm
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Default Re: Buying a Used Car in Minneapolis

In Virginia you need insurance to before the DMV will give you the tags.
If anyone will not give you a VIN number walk away
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Old Jun 18th 2013, 6:41 pm
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Default Re: Buying a Used Car in Minneapolis

A car is expensive over here, get used to it.

Buy car, insure car, then register car is usually how it goes as often they require insurance to register it, certainly in ME/MA.

Get license ASAP.

Expect insurance to be $1K per six month and be happy is it is less.

Online quotes will mean shit all. You've got no US driving history, no US credit history nor a US drivers license at the moment.
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Old Jun 18th 2013, 9:10 pm
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Default Re: Buying a Used Car in Minneapolis

As a practical matter get your new state driver's license before trying to do any of this (or almost anything else for that matter) - not having it will just make some things unnecesarily difficult.
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Old Jun 18th 2013, 11:45 pm
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Default Re: Buying a Used Car in Minneapolis

Originally Posted by Bob View Post
A car is expensive over here, get used to it. .....


I don't know of anywhere in the industrialized world where buying a car is cheaper. Certainly insurance is relatively expensive, but fuel is cheaper than almost any country that doesn't subsidize it, servicing in my experience for both domestic and "import" cars is cheap, certainly less than I paid in the UK. And annual registrations PLUS personal property tax combined, is less than the vehicle tax in the UK. Even the annual vehicle inspection is a fraction of the cost of the MOT. So, aside from insurance, what is expensive?
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Old Jun 18th 2013, 11:55 pm
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Default Re: Buying a Used Car in Minneapolis

Thanks a lot for your responses everybody!

Originally Posted by Pulaski View Post


I don't know of anywhere in the industrialized world where buying a car is cheaper. Certainly insurance is relatively expensive, but fuel is cheaper than almost any country that doesn't subsidize it, servicing in my experience for both domestic and "import" cars is cheap, certainly less than I paid in the UK. And annual registrations PLUS personal property tax combined, is less than the vehicle tax in the UK. Even the annual vehicle inspection is a fraction of the cost of the MOT. So, aside from insurance, what is expensive?
In Eastern Europe cars itself cost very similar, but the fuel cost is more expensive than in the US (same prices as UK), however, insurance is about three times cheaper if not more than in the US (could be as low as $25/month). And you also don't need to pay any additional taxes or parking permits, etc, after you've registered your vehicle.

In the end all things considered, a car in US is cheaper than in UK, but it's more expensive than in Eastern Europe.
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Old Jun 18th 2013, 11:58 pm
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Default Re: Buying a Used Car in Minneapolis

Originally Posted by Pulaski View Post


I don't know of anywhere in the industrialized world where buying a car is cheaper. Certainly insurance is relatively expensive, but fuel is cheaper than almost any country that doesn't subsidize it, servicing in my experience for both domestic and "import" cars is cheap, certainly less than I paid in the UK. And annual registrations PLUS personal property tax combined, is less than the vehicle tax in the UK. Even the annual vehicle inspection is a fraction of the cost of the MOT. So, aside from insurance, what is expensive?
Second hand cars aren't cheaper, cost of insurance isn't cheaper.

It's not any cheaper running a car here and the tax is much higher here. My mother was paying pretty much nothing on her car because it's a low emissions car whilst where I am, it doesn't get lower than mint blue book value at 10 years old and that's only if that's if it were an older car.

MOT's I'll grant you have gone up since I last had to pay for one, they're now £50 odd and it's only $35 here, but a mate paid $150 for his in PA and it's $12 up in Maine, so hard to generalise on that one.
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Old Jun 18th 2013, 11:59 pm
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Default Re: Buying a Used Car in Minneapolis

Originally Posted by Powka View Post

In the end all things considered, a car in US is cheaper than in UK, but it's more expensive than in Eastern Europe.
Not been my experience, by a mile.

I obviously need to be buying a new marque car :/
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Old Jun 19th 2013, 12:05 am
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Default Re: Buying a Used Car in Minneapolis

Originally Posted by Powka View Post
.... In Eastern Europe cars itself cost very similar, ....
Is that a like-for-like comparison? I had the impression that a lot of cars in Eastern Europe are small Fiats, Daewoos, Skodas, etc. or the smallest Fords and GMs ..... vehicles that don't exist in the US.
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