With online car auctions on the rise, it’s more and more common for people to find used and repairable cars for sale out of state to fix up for themselves, resell, or for used auto parts. Purchasing a car from out of state has some different intricacies around it than buying one from a dealership near you, though. From California salvage yards to NJ State Auto Auctions, you have the whole country at your disposal thanks to companies like AutoBidMaster. We give our members access to the largest online inventory of clean and salvage vehicles in the nation. Here are five things you need to know.

“Title Washing”

“Title Washing” is a scam where people use methods to transfer vehicle titles from state to state where title brands and designations don’t carry over. Individuals will purchase salvage vehicles, register them in states where certain title brandings don’t carry over, and then re-sell it as a clean title vehicle. This is illegal and constitutes fraud, but that doesn’t stop people from doing it. Vehicles with titles branded with “Flood/Water Damage” (among others) don’t always carry over from state to state, so it’s always important to get a vehicle history report from a site like ClearVin.com to make sure you know everything about the vehicle, including any title brands it has ever had applied to it.

Emissions Regulations

You may have to go through a state emissions inspection, especially if you’re buying a car from out of state and registering it in a state like California. California in particular has very specific and strict emissions regulations. For most states, you’ll have to pass inspections before you can register your vehicle. Make sure you get everything together before showing up to the DMV so you don’t have to go back again. Or even worse: get hit with all sorts of late registration fees.

Registration fees

Every state has different fee structures for vehicle registration, and many have additional fees for buying a car out of state. States may also have different requirements for how quickly you need to register a vehicle, some are as little as 30 days. Make sure you check with your local DMV office to find out, so you don’t get hit with fees you weren’t anticipating.

Transportation costs

The rise of online auto auctions give you access to a huge inventory of salvage cars and other vehicles from across the United States, but there’s an added element to purchasing a car out of state from a salvage yard: getting it home. Rather than buying a car out of state and driving it home yourself, you may want to ship it instead. Depending on how far away you are from the auction, it can cost thousands of dollars to ship your vehicle, so make sure you factor that into your budget before bidding. We recommend shipping with EasyHaul.com, a company we’ve partnered with for years. They have a guaranteed quote calculator available on every lot listing page that you can use to find out exactly how much it’ll cost to get your vehicle home.

You can still inspect the vehicle

If you’re too far away to look at the vehicle in person, you can still have the vehicle inspected for you! Auction yards allow third-party inspection services into their facilities to inspect vehicles for potential buyers, so don’t hesitate to find an inspection service to check on the vehicle for you. It’s up to you to do your own research when buying from online salvage auctions, and you need to make sure you know as much as you can about what you’re bidding on. The benefit of third party inspectors is that they’re working directly for you, not the auction yard or broker, so you can count on them to provide a transparent and reliable assessment of the vehicle in question.

Purchasing a car from out of state

So, if you’re thinking about purchasing a car from out of state, from California Salvage yards or anywhere else out of state, you’ve got a few things to consider. Keep the above things in mind to make sure you’re factoring all associated costs into your budget, and make sure you know as much as you can about the vehicle you’re interested in before bidding so you won’t get caught by any hidden surprises. From everything from  your next daily driver to a stockpile of used auto parts for your project, we’ve got what you’re looking for.