Your dream car will soon be your reality. There's just one problem: It's 1,000 miles away. Buying a car without seeing it may be your only option.

You're in good company. Research shows that 80% of buyers are okay with buying a used car without seeing it if they can access its history and images. They're also open to buying a car sight unseen if they can easily ship it to their homes.

Buying a car online without seeing it can be risky yet rewarding if you do your due diligence. Let's explore how to buy a car remotely in this guide for buying a car online.

Looking to buy a car? We can help you with that.

7 Steps to Buying a Car Sight Unseen

Researching Car Markets Outside Your Region

Search for vehicles outside your region to find better deals than those offered at local car dealerships. Some Colorado and New England residents shop in Texas or Florida for automobiles since they're less likely to be damaged by winter road salt.

Shopping for vehicles hundreds or thousands of miles away may also save you thousands or hundreds of dollars since market values differ by region. CarGurus has a market value feature that considers regions when providing used-car-listing deal ratings.

Researching Specific Vehicle Issues

Conducting extensive research is critical for buying a car sight unseen. This is true whether you're buying cars from car dealers or private sellers.

Use a search engine like Google to look for information about electrical or mechanical issues that surfaced in specific car makes and models in various years before deciding on a certain vehicle. The U.S. Traffic Safety Organization's website can tell you if your target model has an outstanding recall. Ask car sellers with this model if these recalls were addressed.

Suppose you find what appears to be the perfect vehicle. Use the vehicle's identification number (VIN) to get the car's full history report. A detailed report is available through your local Department of Motor Vehicles or a dealership.

Your history report will tell you if the car has experienced accidents. It will also state whether it has sustained flood damage. Avoid buying a vehicle with a significant accident or damage history.

Deciding Where to Shop

Shopping online is the best way to buy a car since you can do this from the convenience of your home. The best websites to buy used cars sight unseen include, CarsDirect, and

Online car buyers can also look for vehicles in online car auctions. Many buyers choose to sell a car online this way since an auction can help a buyer expand their customer base.

The best time to sell a car is in the spring or early summer since the temperate weather encourages more people to buy vehicles for their upcoming vacations. December is the best time to buy a car, though.

Car sellers might be more willing to reduce their prices in December to complete their transactions before New Year's Day. This gives them money to buy cars before the year ends, which may help them save on taxes by deducting their sales tax (more on taxes later). You can also deduct your car loan interest if you finance the vehicle.

Examining the Photos

An essential step in buying a used car out of state without seeing it in-person is to examine pictures of the vehicle. Ask for several photos of the car's interior, including the dashboard, front, and back.

The buyer should also give you exterior photos showing the car's back, front, and sides. Look for marks, dents, or bumps. Mild damage usually isn't a concern, but avoid buying vehicles that appear to have received significant damage.

Financing Your Car Purchase

The payment, registration, and titling process can be tricky if you want to buy a car sight unseen. Use a reliable escrow service (e.g., to help you make the payment without a hassle.

You'll submit your payment to, which will serve as the middleman between the seller and you. will release your payment to the car seller once you've received the vehicle's title. This process helps avoid scams.

Your next step is to secure vehicle insurance. Insurance is required to register a vehicle in most US states.

Registration takes place at a local Department of Motor Vehicles office. This office will also require you to pay state sales tax on your vehicle purchase. You'll receive a brand-new title via snail mail.

Shipping the Car You Buy Online

Suppose your target car is hundreds or thousands of miles away. Auto transport companies can help you ship it to your home.

You have a couple of auto shipping options: enclosed and open transport. Open auto transport involves shipping your car on a hauler with no roof or sides, while enclosed transport uses a carrier with sides and a roof.

An open carrier is more cost-effective, but enclosed ones can help protect vehicles from the elements and road debris. Choose an enclosed carrier if you're shipping a classic or rare car.

Estimating and Budgeting forShipping Costs

Your auto shipping costs when buying a car sight unseen will depend on several factors. These include whether you need cross-country car shipping or plan to ship a car from a nearby state.

Shipping a vehicle a few hundred miles may cost between $600 and $900. Transporting a car over 2,500 miles costs between $1,300 and $1,800. Use a car shipping calculator to determine your shipping price.

How We Can Help Ship Your New Car

Buying a car without seeing it can be complicated. We've discussed several tips in this guide for buying a car to make the process of buying a car sight unseen easier.

Conduct extensive research when buying a used car without seeing it. Another critical step in buying a car online without seeing it is to scrutinize photos of the vehicle. Use to help facilitate your transaction when you buy a car remotely.

Nexus Auto Transport can ship your vehicle after you've purchased it online. Request a free quote and apply our discount code for $50 off your bill!

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