help me buy a car
May 3, 2006 2:27 PM   Subscribe

help me buy a used car in new york city(brooklyn)

I'm trying to buy a car for around 8K. I'm leaning towards an older nicer car (versus a newer crappier car).
I would prefer to buy from a private seller.
My plan is to find one that i like, then bring it to my mechanic for a diagnostic, then make an offer based on what he says.
Basically just looking for any advice on this process and my general plan. I've never bought a car before. Bonus points for new york specific advice.
posted by alkupe to Shopping (11 answers total)
I hate to say this, because you really don't need a car if you live in the City, but your best bet is to find an individual selling his car in the burbs. Avoid paying NYC Sales tax and get a car that's had an easy suburban 'lifestyle'.

even though we love the internets and all, it's probably worth your time to buy some local papers and check the 'for sale' section.
posted by pinto at 2:41 PM on May 3, 2006

Seconding "you probably don't need a car", but:

Decent place to start.
posted by Mikey-San at 2:58 PM on May 3, 2006

Response by poster: thanks people, but i do indeed need a car.
If i buy from a private seller, do i pay nyc sales tax?
posted by alkupe at 3:21 PM on May 3, 2006

You might want to try too. You'll have to know what kind of car you're looking for before you do a search, but the listings are pretty comprehensive. I bought my car from a private seller who listed their vehicle on there.
posted by MsMolly at 3:42 PM on May 3, 2006

um, I'm moving to Brooklyn at the end of this month and can sell you a car for significantly cheaper than that. Can you drive a stick shift?
posted by mookieproof at 4:31 PM on May 3, 2006

You WILL have to pay sales tax on the selling price of the car when you go to register it.

It is possible to write up a contract between two individuals and bring it to the DMV that says you bought the car for $100.
posted by jellicle at 4:55 PM on May 3, 2006

Response by poster: sorry mookie, i can drive stick but my wife vetos stick. says there's more lurching and she's prone to carsickness (and she'd have to learn stick)
I guess my main question is about the mechanic's diagnostic and logistics. If i follow some advice here, for example or buying in the burbs, how would i manage to bring it to my mechanic in brooklyn? that seems logistically unfeasible and terribly annoying. on the other hand a mechanics' advice is the only thing btwn me and a lemon, as far as i can tell.
jellicle--any more info on this contract idea? seems like everyone would do that.
posted by alkupe at 5:10 PM on May 3, 2006

On sales taxes -- NY DMV gives you some scary warnings about falsifying the selling price of a car; they want the signature of buyer and seller on the form they provide in order to complete your registration, and said form has warnings about big penalties to both parties if they catch you lying. If I was the seller, why would I do this?

Now, maybe you'll find a seller who will, but we didn't.

On the general issue, I'll admit it's a tough one. If you're going to be buying from a private seller, and you think that you might find better vehicles in the burbs, maybe hunt up a reliable mechanic in the area you're thinking of buying? We had trouble with this issue ourselves, and wound up putting off buying until we found someone we knew personally who was selling a car, so the trust issues were very different. Otherwise, I would wait until you found someone who seemed legit to you, who is close enough by that they will let you go to your own mechanic.

Good luck.
posted by BT at 6:02 PM on May 3, 2006

I second (3rd?) the idea of not buying a car that has lived its entire life in the city. My city driven cars have take a real beating over the years. City streets and potholes are hard on cars. (Though I wouldn't be surprised if city cars have less mileage on them than suburban cars.) Plus, check out Carfax .
posted by R. Mutt at 7:05 PM on May 3, 2006

Response by poster: follow up question: any advice on how to handle payment with a private seller? cashier's check? escrow seems like its overdoing it. anything to look out for in this?
posted by alkupe at 6:03 AM on May 4, 2006

Gawd you trolls, he says he needs a car, not "tell me about the wisdom of driving in NYC".

But you should check out Zipcar and get an assortment of newer cars that have all been well-maintained and will continue to be maintained.
posted by xueexueg at 6:08 AM on May 4, 2006

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