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Legal office makes buying a car in Italy easier

Aviano Air Base, Italy -- Many people will buy a car at some point while stationed here. 

Below are some suggested ways to make the process easier, save money, and, hopefully, ensure that the buyer is happy with the car they bought and the price paid. 

· Leave time for the car buying process - If possible, give yourself several days for the car buying process, if not a few weeks. Don't be pressured to sign a contract at the end of the day. At a minimum, always plan on two trips to a dealer. 

· Investigate the car's history - Every seller has to have the car's title. Ask to see the title and see if it identifies previous owners and how long the current seller has had the car. Some services like www.carfax.com may be available to see how many times the car has been titled, if it was ever branded as salvage and odometer disclosures.
Also ask the seller about the car's history and try to contact prior owners if the dealer does not know its history. 

· Investigate the car's current mechanical condition - Have a mechanic check the car over and ask to see repair orders from the seller. Also, passing the base safety inspection does not necessarily mean the car will start next week. 

· Research the reasonable price for the car - Ask friends or neighbors what they would pay for the car or something similar. Check books like Consumer Reports, an NADA book, or other available materials. Also, check the classified ads or www.cars.com and www.autotrader.com for a similar car, or www.edmunds.com and www.kbb.com for the suggested value of an American car. 

· Shop the credit terms if you finance - Before signing any credit contract, ask for a written copy and take it home to review. Then go to a bank, credit union or other lender and obtain a similar disclosure about the terms for a loan from them to buy the car. Then, compare all the numbers to see which is the better deal. Do not sign any credit contract unless the dealer promises it is a final deal that will not be taken back. Never sign any conditional contract, bailment agreement or delivery agreement. 

· Read all the contract documents - Don't sign anything and don't give a down payment or give possession of a trade-in until you know all the terms of the deal. Carefully review the contract for anything marked as an option and only get it if you actually want it. Remember, buy cars from car dealers and insurance from insurance agents. 

· Check that all numbers and promises are accurate and in writing - Any promise that is not in writing is extremely difficult to enforce. Also, all terms and numbers must be accurate. Especially if you are financing the transaction, every document must be true with no false numbers. Always leave with the contract unsigned to review it elsewhere prior to signing. 

· Be sure the title is signed over to you by the seller - The only way to buy the car is to have the title held by the seller signed over to you. Whether or not a person finances the sale, they must still see the actual title held by the seller and the seller must sign it over to the buyer. Never buy a car from someone if they do not have the title to the car they are selling. Remember there is no lemon law in Italy. If you buy a car, it's yours.