The process of buying a car in Victoria is relatively easy, in fact even for those that really purchase vehicles it is very straightforward. Last week I purchased a new car, actually a late model Volvo C30 at quite a reduced price compared with many of the other Volvos being offered for sale on the market. This article will deal with by a car in Victoria and you will see how easy the processes when you finish reading.
The car I purchased was a straightout purchase with no trade involved as I have another car which I will be selling and maybe I should write an article following this with the title: selling a car in Victoria. When you don’t have to deal with going around used-car yards and having to muck around with a used car dealers then things become a lot easier although for some, dealing with tyre kickers may also be frustrating when selling the car.
The first step is knowing exactly what you want: this is where buying a used car becomes a whole lot easier when you know your budget, even down to the mileage, the make and model of vehicle that you want (range give or take), even the colour – I always think to save any hassles it’s always good to get realistically specific and collate everything in terms of needs and once into a group. That way if you have a family with three kids you won’t be sidetracked by two-door vehicles for example. In my case the C 30 model is a two-door vehicle and that’s what I wanted in the colour black. I’ve always driven Volvos and therefore the purchase decision based on a clear specification of needs and wants etc e.g. price, make and model, year, even colour and engine size such as turbo option versus manual versus automatic etc makes life a whole lot easier sifting through advertising.
This article will set out the process of buying a car in Victoria, it does not apply to going to a dealer which involves a different set of processes and obligations to Vic roads.
Step one: know exactly what you’re looking for: as mentioned above, create a shortlist exactly of the needs and wants that you require, know your budget and the of vehicle that you want to buy two reduce time mucking around looking for that new vehicle that you want and to focus on the criteria: price, colour, mileage range desired etc – this will save a huge amount of time. The cream on the cake is negotiation and getting the car at a good price especially knowing where you can knock off the price a bit more such as when the car goes in for a buyer check and the mechanic reveals that it may need certain work done to the motor etc.
Step two: get some idea of values for the vehicle that you want to buy.
This can be obtained by scanning online resources such as vehicles for sale on gumtree, car point, car sales, drive.com.au to try and keep the analysis range to a minimum otherwise you’ll go mad at simply the mountain of cars out there on the various websites. Be aware of the specs of the vehicles by comparing apples with apples i.e you count compared turbo pricing to non-turbo pricing for example but it will be a gauge – you should be trying to get as close to the vehicle you want to buy as possible to establish the pricing point at which you going to negotiate. If you’re looking for Volvo cars the width of makes and models on the marketplace is quite simple to get up to speed with and the price ranges of those vehicles. There are other makes that offer a multitude of classes within the year models as well as designs and styles and these can drive one crazy. I’m familiar with the Volvo car range, there is very limited depth in terms of models S40, S60, S80, C30, cross country, V series etc it’s quite easy to understand. I found it quite easy to get a price point to determine whether the car being advertised is too high or too low relative to the kilometres for the vehicle that I bought. There are services such as Redbook online these prices that they were quoting from the same vehicles I was looking at or just simply too high and were more distraction and inaccuracy and anything so I would not bother checking that personally as a pricing guide. You want to get a bargain.
Step three: get out then start test driving vehicles.
Those buyers that aren’t familiar with the model of their choosing maybe could ring a mechanic and ask about any obvious faults, recalls, opinions from actual people that service vehicles day in day out. You might glean some things to look out for when buying the car. Any of the major mechanics for Volvo – see here as a casing example are willing to answer your questions over the phone.
Basically….. just get out and hit the road, start test driving vehicles from a shortlist of vehicles for sale that you found on a website and start becoming familiar with them. If you have always driven Holden’s or Fords for example then it will be quite easy because you are familiar with the brand of vehicle and will be able to start driving and know whether you are interested in buying or not. I’d been driving one for many years I felt that the car I had been test driving was a one I wanted to buy, you just know it. That should be a indicator the field test dislike buying clothes shouldn’t be any doubt you just know it fits and looks good, I always work on if there is any doubt or question marks then the car is not for you. But really, if you’ve established a good set of buying criteria then all boxes so far should have been ticked. It’s not like you jumping from a two-door four-cylinder to a four-door six cylinder.
Step four: if you’re interested in the vehicle ask for some logbooks or some service history. Many owners will keep a log book I have found a server schedule which is a good thing but usually there are gaps in the logbooks. I usually take the car if I want to buy to have it tested at a dealership or have a professional sight the vehicle and go over it is wih a diagnostic test. The owners have to provide a roadworthy certificate anyway and normally some niggling points will be revealed at the time the roadworthy certificate is done. There is nothing wrong with going back to the company where the owner had the vehicle serviced and getting some opinion what needed doing from the last service. This is what I did and got a full list of things the owner needed to get done from last service as advised by their mechanic (and which hadn’t been done) and actually negotiated the cost of this work AGAIN off the price!
In this case, go to the dealership brand itself (as they have the latest diagnostic testing equipment that even may not be available in aftermarket format) but remember with Volvo say, you might end up paying exhorbitant amounts eg. $190/hr labor charge vs $120/hr labour charge. I’d normally get my Volvos serviced at companies such as Voldat, Swedish prestige, Cox Auto at South Melbourne but in this case I took the car to Volvo itself because they have the latest diagnostics for the year model (given that it was a late year model) in question but for early makes of models of Volvo cars then you will take it to just a run-of-the-mill Volvo service technician who would use may be aftermarket diagnostic equipment.
Step five: if any faults are found in the vehicle there should be a case for having more money deducted as you will be lumped with the repair costs (now or in 6 months) and needs to be priced into the vehicle purchase in a negotiation strategy – That $12,000 car may seem cheaper than the other ads eg. $13,000-$14,000 being the norm but if it needs $3,000 worth of repairs then you start looking at the car being an expensive buy. The owners to get a roadworthy certificate at their cost.
Step six: so you want to buy the car, what happens next, go to the VicRoads website, there is a heap of information there for you to check about buying car in Victoria. There are downloadable forms and I downloaded a transfer form which there are to be printed and completed in triplicate – a section where you fill out one for the owner, fill out one for VicRoads and one for the buyer to keep.
Step seven: the car is back from the service centre and the owner has a roadworthy certificate in hand. The validity of this certificate lasts around 30 days. Price has been reached and agreed to. The next process to our steps to buying a car in Victoria is where you hand over a bank cheque or cash to the owner in return they provide you with the keys, roadworthy certificate, signed sections of the form mentioned in step six above (which I’ve linked). They keep their section of the vehicle transfer form that you printed and you have two sections one of which you take to Vic roads. When you hand over the payment for the car you get a buyers receipt (or can provide) which has a set standard of criteria. I used a NRMA receipt (the seller even questioned but its ok) the receipt here on this page if you scroll down satisfies the requirements of a valid receipt.
In filling out the form above you can find information here – which is an online database which lists the motor vehicle then number, when the registration is due, make, model etc etc
Step eight: before you even drive the car you should get a cover note for the vehicle. You need to know salient details to pass on to the insurer which may differ from each insurance company but get some coverage for the vehicle form of cover note insurance. You can get the VIN, etc here.
Step nine: your in possession of the vehicle and you have 14 days in which to transfer the ownership (ie. take the papers above mentioned that were to be signed in triplicate) to Vicroads. You can post in the transfer papers includes a credit card authority or take the transfer papers to VicRoads office in person and pay there. The form has the method of calculating the money that you are required to pay which comprises two sets of motor transfer charges when buying a car in Victoria.
After that, everything is settled and ownership of the car is transferred.