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Discussion Starter #1
I'm investigating buying an Elise in a different state. I've never done this before. I'm not financing the vehicle. How do sellers typically prefer payment? I don't bank with a bank that has a branch in the likely selling location.

I suppose I could get a cashiers check, but since I won't know the exact figure to make it out for, how would that work?
 

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Cashier's check may work if the seller agrees. Some sellers won't accept them though. Cash is king. It is very nerve-racking walking around with that amount of cash, but it's the easiest way. If you bring cash, meet. In. Public... Very. Public.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
gaah. I can't really imagine taking 30k to another city by plane and walking around in areas I'm not familiar with. yikes.
 

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I was in that exact situation. Airlines require you declare any cash in excess of $10,000 that you are carrying. That coupled with the fact I hate airport security I opted to rent a one-way car and make a day of it.

I also shared the Google location of my phone with a couple friends that were informed as to what I was up to. This along with one other security measure, I felt a little better about my cargo.
 

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Depending on the state I would never travel with money, OK for example.

The only way I would want to be paid is wire/cash. And the only way I would pay is wire. Although when I bought my exige the seller insisted on a cashiers check, which I guess is fine, but dumb of the seller.
 

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A bank wire is the only way I would do this. I bank with Fidelity and can initiate a wire online. If you do it before a certain time it's basically instant. You can even do it in front of the seller if it makes them more comfortable. I'm not carrying that much cash on me for any reason in an age of digital banking.
 

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If paying cash, I would recommend completing the transaction in the seller's bank. Besides the safety aspect, deposits of over $10K in cash require a bank form certifying where the funds came from (to fight money laundering). Also the bank will have a notary public in case that is needed. Or meet at your bank branch (which won't work the original poster's case) to withdraw the money and let the seller worry about transporting the cash to his bank. Paypal or Venmo will also work for those who trust apps.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I'll need to look into a wire, which I've never done.

I've never really thought much about it, but it seems like there is a product gap here: I wonder why there isn't some sort of escrow service that would handle taking the keys and title, then waiting for a check to clear and fund their account before handing the keys/title over.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
looking into this more, perhaps a payment/transfer service like Venmo or PayPal might work? Does anyone have experience with this?
 

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Most private sellers won't take electronic money and let the car go before the funds clear. Car insurance will cover the seller in the case of a nefarious scheme, but it would still suck and there's the deductible, police report, etc.

Your solution would be to bring one large cashier check and a smaller amount of cash, or several cashier checks. You can then still negotiate the price and the seller can verify the checks with your bank as long as the transaction takes place during normal business hours.
 

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Wire transfer is the safe way to go. Initiate the transfer from your bank and go with the other party to their bank. Sign the papers after the funds are received by the other bank...maybe half an hour at most.
 

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Agreed on wire transfer. It’s very easy to do (just go to your local bank to give them a heads up and get the specifics on how to do It. I’ve bought and sold a lot of cars and have never waited more than 2 hours for the funds to clear.

NEVER carry that much cash.
 

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Wire transfer is quick and certain. Another option is to hire a third party (an attorney or car dealership) to hold the funds until the physical transfer of the car is complete, but they usually want to charge a fee for their trouble.
 

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Each state is different in handling Escrow services. Some require Notaries or Lawyers to be involved. It gets more complicated if seller does not have clean title to vehicle. AAA might help in some states and be able to handle the DMV transfer as well.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
wire xfer does sound like the best option, though it limits the actual transaction time to bank hours. I'll def need to keep that in mind as get serious.
 

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I never accept a certified check unless the bank is open to confirm its real. I don’t sell cars without the bank being open.
 

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May I suggest a car loan through your bank of choice. You can simply pay off the loan after the title clears? They will handle the details for you and make sure that you arrive with the right "check" or wire transfer amount. This also means they will check the title and have a vested interest in a good transaction. I get many banks won't loan on a vehicle that old but if you had one that would it would mean a professional organization would be helping you. I did this with a 7 year old Exige and the Bank worked out all the details. FYI only.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
May I suggest a car loan through your bank of choice
man, that's not a half-bad idea. If the seller was skittish about other methods, this could work. Sounds like sort of a hassle compared to a wire, but it certainly would be acceptable to nearly every seller.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
follow up for posterity for anyone who might run into this in the future...

I purchased my 2005 Elise in California (I live in Portland) using Escrow.com. I wired funds from my bank to them (you can get money in there other ways which cost more), so the cost for the service was around $275, which I paid.

I investigated getting a loan from my credit union (to just pay off in cash after words), but that has far too many problems: they want to sign in an office after the vehicle is title in Oregon (which requires smogging).... sooooo there is no way I could buy the car in Cali and do the loan paperwork. Using an escrow service became the easiest (and perhaps the only) way for me to conduct the transaction across state lines.

Working with Escrow.com was not a total walk in the park either. It took several days and a trip to my bank to phone up Escrow.com to confirm the wire transfer was legit (Escrow.com didn't like the look of the credit union name for some reason).

After the escrow was funded, the transaction with the seller went smoothly. We both just clicked buttons on the escrow.com website to confirm receipt of the car (this service is typically used when a car is transported to the seller on a truck), then me clicking a button to release the funds.
 
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