21 Years Old Driver: Renting VS Buying a Car

Old Sep 27th, 2020, 12:26 PM
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21 Years Old Driver: Renting VS Buying a Car

Hi all,
I am planning a 4.5 months road trip in the states and have been struggling with the question of whether to buy or rent a car.
I am 21 years old, not a US resident, traveling with a friend my age.

Searching the site Cartrawler.com I was able to find a Nissan Versa from Alamo that will cost me 6,400$ (including coverage, second driver, young driver fee, tax, drop fee - since I pick it in San Francisco and returning in Seattle - etc).

On the other hand, when I was looking for a car to buy, I found at some dealer in San Francisco a 2013 Kia Rio . The vehicle looks in excellent condition, 130,000 miles, passed a smog test and general inspection. The car costs 5,500$ - and including tax, insurance, registration fees at DMV etc: the total becomes roughly 7,000$. And that's before I sold the car. I believe the car will be easy to sell after just three months (need it just for 3 months and not for the rest 1.5 month), because it comes from a professional dealer and is in good condition. Suppose I can sell the car for 1,000$-1,500$ less than its original price (5,500$), I will save a lot of money - eventually, after I sold it, I will have spent 3,000$ (buying for 7,000$ and selling for 4,000$) on the car, compared to renting the car, which will, as said, cost me 6,400$. That should help me save a lot of money, even if it requires some effort and research.

What are your thoughts? Would it be more lucrative? It does have some risk - no one assures me that I will manage to sell the car for 4,000$. Plus, rental car is much more safe - the cars are newer, and the coverage is overall better.
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Old Sep 27th, 2020, 01:07 PM
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My thoughts? There isn't any way in the world I would buy a car just to take a road trip in order to save a thousand dollars (potentially). DO you know how much trouble this would be, buying it, getting it registered, buying insurance and then trying to sell it? Coming from a professional dealer is irrelevant in terms of selling a car. However, I have read now that used cars are in strong demand, so mayb e you can sell it but it's still a lot of trouble.

Now to be honest, I don't know how legally you could do this, but I don't know the details on that, but I'm sure others will. I just don't know how a non-resident can register a car and buy insurance in the US, I've never heard of such a thing and don't see how that is possible. Especially the registration and licensing of the car. And it's not only that you are a non-resident of the state, you aren't even a resident of the US.

I think I've heard of people buying cars in Europe though for long vacations, so who knows, I might be wrong. Some kind of a deal where they lease/own but then I think the company actually buys it back, that's part of the deal.

I could, of course, be wrong, maybe foreigners own and register cars in the US all the time without even living there part-time, just seems unlikely to me given all the paperwork you need to do it, including your legal residence of a certain state where it is registered. On top of that, many states have inspection requirements, mine does and I imagine California might also. So that's more time to do that.
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Old Sep 27th, 2020, 01:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Christina View Post
My thoughts? There isn't any way in the world I would buy a car just to take a road trip in order to save a thousand dollars (potentially). DO you know how much trouble this would be, buying it, getting it registered, buying insurance and then trying to sell it? Coming from a professional dealer is irrelevant in terms of selling a car. However, I have read now that used cars are in strong demand, so mayb e you can sell it but it's still a lot of trouble.

Now to be honest, I don't know how legally you could do this, but I don't know the details on that, but I'm sure others will. I just don't know how a non-resident can register a car and buy insurance in the US, I've never heard of such a thing and don't see how that is possible. Especially the registration and licensing of the car. And it's not only that you are a non-resident of the state, you aren't even a resident of the US.

I think I've heard of people buying cars in Europe though for long vacations, so who knows, I might be wrong. Some kind of a deal where they lease/own but then I think the company actually buys it back, that's part of the deal.

I could, of course, be wrong, maybe foreigners own and register cars in the US all the time without even living there part-time, just seems unlikely to me given all the paperwork you need to do it, including your legal residence of a certain state where it is registered. On top of that, many states have inspection requirements, mine does and I imagine California might also. So that's more time to do that.
Thanks man, but I have already made a research and asked a bunch of people - I can buy a car in the US. I have family in the states that will allow me to use their address for the registration. I am not asking about the procedure, I merely think whether this is more profitable.
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Old Sep 27th, 2020, 02:36 PM
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I can't imagine spending vacation time trying to sell a car. Way more potential trouble than it's worth & definitely cancels out any possible financial benefit. There are easier ways to save money if you must.
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Old Sep 27th, 2020, 03:25 PM
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" I can buy a car in the US. I have family in the states that will allow me to use their address for the registration."

Unless your relatives live in California you most certainly cannot buy a car using their address to register it. And then you want to sell a car registered in California in another state. Plus insurance might be an issue since a big part of the cost (besides your very young age and not having a local driver's license) depends on the registered address.

But from past history - you'll have an answer for this too

(Your budget is only $27000 and you want to spend $7000 of that on a car?? )
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Old Sep 27th, 2020, 03:32 PM
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to clarify -- I mentioned California because you talked about a car dealer in SF. If that is where your family lives -- OK -- but be prepared for very high insurance costs.
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Old Sep 27th, 2020, 03:33 PM
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If you are ok that you have everything in order then go for it.
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Old Sep 27th, 2020, 03:48 PM
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Rent a car. If it breaks down, the rental company will replace it. No wasting time for repairs with an owned car. Plus if you buy a car from a dealer, figure getting back maybe half of what you paid for it.
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Old Sep 27th, 2020, 10:35 PM
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Originally Posted by janisj View Post
" I can buy a car in the US. I have family in the states that will allow me to use their address for the registration."

Unless your relatives live in California you most certainly cannot buy a car using their address to register it. And then you want to sell a car registered in California in another state. Plus insurance might be an issue since a big part of the cost (besides your very young age and not having a local driver's license) depends on the registered address.

But from past history - you'll have an answer for this too >

(Your budget is only $27000 and you want to spend $7000 of that on a car?? )
I really appreciate your worries, but as I said - I have checked everything, and I can totally do it: My family lives in CA, I have checked the insurance price, Iíve contacted dealers, Iíve read extremely exhausting documents on the DMV website, Iíve even called local dealerships in order to estimate the price of the car when I return it in Seattle, and I assure you - it is all included in the price I mentioned before.
So yes, I do have an answer for every little detail in your comment, because well, I did check everything, plus I asked one thing and you answer on another. I am on it, I really am. I am merely asking you whether you think this is more profitable, and if you think it has a risk (maybe you heard from other people who have done it / have done it yourself).
Thanks
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Old Sep 27th, 2020, 10:37 PM
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Originally Posted by MichelleY View Post
Rent a car. If it breaks down, the rental company will replace it. No wasting time for repairs with an owned car. Plus if you buy a car from a dealer, figure getting back maybe half of what you paid for it.
Thanks man.
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Old Sep 27th, 2020, 10:40 PM
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Originally Posted by janisj View Post
" I can buy a car in the US. I have family in the states that will allow me to use their address for the registration."

Unless your relatives live in California you most certainly cannot buy a car using their address to register it. And then you want to sell a car registered in California in another state. Plus insurance might be an issue since a big part of the cost (besides your very young age and not having a local driver's license) depends on the registered address.

But from past history - you'll have an answer for this too >

(Your budget is only $27000 and you want to spend $7000 of that on a car?? )
Oh, and yes. I have no choice. I really donít want to shorten the itinerary, so a car for us will cost $7,000. Unless, as said, I will manage to sell it, hence saving a decent amount of money (a few thousand dollars).
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Old Sep 28th, 2020, 05:46 AM
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While I think buying a car for 3 months is nuts, I would have the family buy the car and insure it, and have you included as an eligible driver on their insurance. You reimburse them. This way (a) the registration details are moot, and (b) if you can't sell it easily at the end of the trip, you can fly home and have them sell it locally, thereby removing the time crunch.

If - God forbid - you're in a shunt with an "address of convenience" on the insurance and registration, the other party's insurance company will blow through that cover in a heartbeat, and it will be you looking down the barrel of a very expensive legal gun, and in the event anybody is hurt, there could even be criminal liability. I'm not making this up.

I'd reexamine the rental options, but with the car being returned where you got it. If you're planning to start in SF and end in Seattle, just add a couple of days (roughly 14 driving hours) to the end of your trip and return it where you got it. This will save thousands of dollars in "one way" fees.
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Old Sep 28th, 2020, 07:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Travelboy007 View Post
I really appreciate your worries, but as I said - I have checked everything, and I can totally do it: My family lives in CA, I have checked the insurance price, Iíve contacted dealers, Iíve read extremely exhausting documents on the DMV website, Iíve even called local dealerships in order to estimate the price of the car when I return it in Seattle, and I assure you - it is all included in the price I mentioned before.
So yes, I do have an answer for every little detail in your comment, because well, I did check everything, plus I asked one thing and you answer on another. I am on it, I really am. I am merely asking you whether you think this is more profitable, and if you think it has a risk (maybe you heard from other people who have done it / have done it yourself).
Thanks
Well. if you've done the research and have made up your mind why are you asking others for advice???

The consensus here is that buying a used car w/ 130,000 miles on the odometer for a short term, hoping you'll be able to drive t worry free with no repairs and quickly sell it when you are finished has too many unknowns to make it worth the hassle and potential savings you think you'll achieve. But what do the contributors here know other than most of us have shelled out money for unanticipated repairs on older vehicles we've owned (they are almost always more costly than we'd like) and then waited weeks, if not months while we've to tried selling a car only to get offers for much less than we wanted. You asked for advice, you received answers you do not like. It's now up to you. Heed the advice or ignore it. Your choice.
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Old Sep 28th, 2020, 12:20 PM
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If I was going to buy a used car as an overseas visitor, I would strongly consider you look into certified pre-owned cars or else CarMax. You will pay more with CarMax but they offer an extended warranty and a wide selection of various makes and models of cars. Best part is no haggling (US used car dealers have a terrible reputation for a reason). You will pay a bit more but to me, reliability and peace of mind is worth it. Whatever you do, avoid Craigslist for buying cars.
In the past, it took up to two weeks or more to get your plates and title from the DMV. I also just checked the DMV website and they are still not offering new appointments with the sole exception of behind the wheel driver tests for new drivers and commercial truck drivers.
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Old Sep 28th, 2020, 12:32 PM
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When is your trip? Hertz is currently offering no underage fee for 21 year old

Last edited by clarkgriswold; Sep 28th, 2020 at 12:51 PM.
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Old Sep 28th, 2020, 02:09 PM
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Originally Posted by clarkgriswold View Post
When is your trip? Hertz is currently offering no underage fee for 21 year old

The trip is next May to Sept (from his other thread)

Hopefully Hertz will survive until next summer. It is likely but definitely not guaranteed that they will come out of bankruptcy.
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Old Sep 29th, 2020, 04:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Gardyloo View Post
While I think buying a car for 3 months is nuts, I would have the family buy the car and insure it, and have you included as an eligible driver on their insurance. You reimburse them. This way (a) the registration details are moot, and (b) if you can't sell it easily at the end of the trip, you can fly home and have them sell it locally, thereby removing the time crunch.

If - God forbid - you're in a shunt with an "address of convenience" on the insurance and registration, the other party's insurance company will blow through that cover in a heartbeat, and it will be you looking down the barrel of a very expensive legal gun, and in the event anybody is hurt, there could even be criminal liability. I'm not making this up.

I'd reexamine the rental options, but with the car being returned where you got it. If you're planning to start in SF and end in Seattle, just add a couple of days (roughly 14 driving hours) to the end of your trip and return it where you got it. This will save thousands of dollars in "one way" fees.
I don't want to bother my relatives in the states too much haha... We are not that close
I checked and returning the car in SF is still the same price.
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Old Sep 29th, 2020, 04:49 AM
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Originally Posted by jamie99 View Post
If I was going to buy a used car as an overseas visitor, I would strongly consider you look into certified pre-owned cars or else CarMax. You will pay more with CarMax but they offer an extended warranty and a wide selection of various makes and models of cars. Best part is no haggling (US used car dealers have a terrible reputation for a reason). You will pay a bit more but to me, reliability and peace of mind is worth it. Whatever you do, avoid Craigslist for buying cars.
In the past, it took up to two weeks or more to get your plates and title from the DMV. I also just checked the DMV website and they are still not offering new appointments with the sole exception of behind the wheel driver tests for new drivers and commercial truck drivers.
Thanks man. I think that if I choose to purchase a car I will do it from a dealership. They are definitely more credible and leave your mind quite.
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Old Sep 29th, 2020, 04:50 AM
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Originally Posted by janisj View Post
the trip is next may to sept (from his other thread)

hopefully hertz will survive until next summer. It is likely but definitely not guaranteed that they will come out of bankruptcy.
lol
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Old Sep 29th, 2020, 06:17 AM
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Well I think you've pretty well exhausted the range of opinions and suggestions that we can offer here (and have dismissed most of them.) Your call, but let me recommend you consult the "road trips" board at Tripadvisor - https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowForu...oad_Trips.html - where your situation has come up numerous times. Maybe you can find the answers you want to get there. Check out the "top questions" listing (not visible on most mobile devices) where this issue occupies the no. 3 spot.

Last edited by Gardyloo; Sep 29th, 2020 at 06:20 AM.
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