How to buy a car interstate

July 14, 2022

Nowadays buying a car interstate is a lot simpler than it used to be. Essentially you’ve got 6 key steps:

  1. Find the right car & agree on the price
  2. Check the vehicle history
  3. Have the car inspected by professionals
  4. Pay for it
  5. Transport it
  6. Register it


1. Find the right car & agree on the price

Hardest part of the entire process is to find the right car.

Don’t fret if the right car isn’t available straight away, sometimes a little patience goes a long way. Searching across the entire country will widen your range significantly and you might find interstate cars cheaper than your local ones.

Luckily there are plenty of awesome platforms out to search through: if you are after a racecar, otherwise, or FB marketplace (don’t forget to search through each capital city as FB’s max search radius is 500km from your location) will cover just about every car available.

Negotiate with the seller directly or you can use iPayd’s direct messaging. Do not be shy to ask for a lower price, it’s a free market, the worst that can happen is you’ll pay the asking price.

2. Check the vehicle history

Once you’ve found the car, ask for the VIN and check it through PPSR directly or you can do it as part of your iPayd transaction. Trust us, it’s the best $2 you’ll ever spend.

The last thing you want to happen is to find our that the car was stolen or has money owing on it. You can loose both the car and the money you've paid for it.

3. Have the car inspected by professionals

Now that you’ve found the right car and you know its history, we recommend having a pre-purchase inspection done even if you are picking up the car yourself. Having an inspection done will pick up far more than you would, unless of course you happen to be a professional car inspector yourself. Some of the providers can even issue you with roadworthy certificate, as an additional service.

As tempting as it might be to buy a car sight unseen, no matter how much you trust the seller, the extra expense of a pre-purchase inspection is a fraction of repair costs you might end up with if it happens to be a lemon.

Here is a list of some providers that we’ve come across, but there are many more.

(Please note: we are not affiliated with any of the providers and do not guarantee their level of service.)


New South Wales


South Australia

Western Australia




4. Pay for it

Somehow payment seems the easiest part of the process to most involved, but when asked, payment part is described as the most "awkward or uneasy" part of any transaction. This is especially so when buying interstate or over considerable distance locally. Payment can become a showstopper for a lot of people.

How do you pay if you can’t physically show up with a bank cheque or a stack of cash? In fact, do you really want to show up with cash?

Trust is the key factor. Very few brave souls will simply transfer tens of thousands of dollars to someone they have never met, in fact it’s entirely possible that the person on the other end of the transaction is not who they say they are.

We are biased of course, but we would insist on iPayd. The buyer can be assured that their money is safe within the iPayd Vault until the car is handed over, whilst the seller can see that the money is in iPayd Vault, ready and available, all they need to do is deliver the vehicle. Did we mention that all payments are instant, so long as your bank plays ball?

5. Transport

Transporting a vehicle from a different state is easy these days..

To ensure a smooth transaction, we have partnered up with a national carrier transporting cars, bikes, caravans, and everything else that can roll basically. We are able to transport your car by road or sea (depending on origin and destination). Please email us at to get a quote.

If iPayd’s transport option does not suit your situation, there are other well reputed transport companies that you could approach or you could drive the car yourself.

6. Register it

According to VicRoads “In Australia, a vehicle must be registered in the state or territory where the operator of that vehicle lives and where the vehicle is garaged”. Basically this means that if you want to be able to use a car on public roads, it needs to be registered in your home state within 30 days of purchase.

Let’s say you live in Victoria and buy a car from QLD with 5 months of valid registration period remaining. As much as we’d love to say that you can do that, it is against the law.

Most often in case of interstate transactions, the buyer would cancel the current registration and sell the car unregistered.

Just remember that once the car is unregistered, you can’t drive it on the road without “unregistered vehicle permit”. These permits are great as they give you statutory insurance from TAC (Transport Accident Commission) in case of Victoria, or similar authorities in other states.

Also worth keeping in mind that any unregistered car will need to have a certificate of compliance to vehicle safety standards issued (RWC in Vic or blue slip in NSW) issued before being re-registered again. This insures we don’t put unsafe lemons back on the road. You could negotiate the cost of RWC to be discounted from the price as most sellers intend to sell the car with RWC anyway.

Links to state authorities and their interstate registration procedures:

Victoria - VicRoads:

NSW – Services NSW:

QLD – Queensland Government

South Australia –

Western Australia –

Tasmania – Transport Services

Northern Territory –

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How to buy a car interstate

Nowadays buying a car interstate is a lot simpler than it used to be. Here's what you need to do.

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