Find A Motivated Seller
The first thing you have to do is to find yourself a motivated seller. Your best bet for achieving this is to find a fellow traveller who is leaving Australia in a matter of days and hasn’t sold their car yet.
The place to go to find such travellers is the Kings Cross Car Market in Sydney. Hostel bulletin boards are another great resource, or the notice boards around Bondi Beach.
Let’s take a look at an example. Say you see a 1990 Ford Falcon station wagon advertised for $2300. Because the seller is flying home in two days time, you manage to buy the station wagon for the round sum of $2000. You happily drive to Perth, Uluru and all around Australia for 6 months and sell the car for $1900 a good 3 weeks before you have to fly home. The net cost of owning a car for 6 months in Australia: $100 ($2000 - $1900). Of course, this doesn’t include petrol or other maintenance costs. However, try renting a car in Australia for $100 for 6 months!
How It Works
This only works because there will be hardly any depreciation in 6 months on such a cheap car. It also relies on you selling the car with plenty of time up your sleeve before you have to fly home. Otherwise you may be the one selling the car for $500 less than its real value!
I also recommend sticking with Toyotas, Holdens (General Motors / Opel) and Fords in case you need spare parts in remote areas.
Get It Checked Out Mechanically
What I will say about this technique is that you need to have the car checked out mechanically before you buy.
There is nothing worse than being stuck with a lemon of a car. The way to do this is to call out the automobile association for the state you are in (you don’t have to be a member) and have them look at the car for you. It costs about $200 AUD to receive a full written report on the car’s health.
Here are some of the automobile associations in Australia:
- New South Wales: NRMA (Phone: 13 11 22)
- Victoria: RACV (Phone: 13 19 55)
- Queensland: RACQ (Phone: 13 1905)
- Western Australia: RAC WA (Phone: 1300 797 078)
Check There Is No Finance Owing
Another important point about this very worthwhile technique is that you should check the car you want to buy has no finance owing on it or is not stolen. Each state has their own Register of Encumbered Vehicles (REVS) except for Victoria which has a Vehicle Securities Register.
- New South Wales: REVS Check (Phone: 13 32 20)
- Victoria: Vehicle Securities Register (Phone: 13 11 71)
- Queensland: REVS (Phone: 1300 658 030)
- Western Australia: REVS (Phone: 1300 304 024)