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Buying a second hand car privately - specific question

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The Ref
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Buying a second hand car privately - specific question

Postby The Ref » Sun, 24 Mar 2013 4:18 pm

I have a friend leaving the island on Saturday and we have agreed on a price for me to buy his car.

Specific issue:
I have been here > 3 years so my home license is not currently valid for me to drive here, but is still valid at home. I have my Basic Theory Test booked for Thursday night, and Friday is a holiday. This means I cant get my Singapore License until (I think) Saturday but we want to do the transaction on Thursday.

Will this cause any issues with the transaction?

I know for the transaction I need third party insurance but I can organise comprehensive insurance later.

Will there be anyother issues around by license not being valid when I do the transaction? I dont plan on driving until the license is converted.

Thanks.

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Postby Strong Eagle » Mon, 25 Mar 2013 2:56 am

a) Since you have been here more than 3 years without doing a license conversion to a Singapore license, taking a Basic Theory Test will NOT get you a Singapore license. You will have to take the entire driver training course which will take at least 3 months, closer to 6 months for most new drivers. The only way you might get around this would be to demonstrate that you have been out of the country a lot during those 3 years and ask for an exemption... I know of one person who was able to do this.

b) In theory, anybody can buy the insurance for a car. In reality, if you are to be the insurance holder, the insurance company may require that you be licensed to drive before issuing the policy. You need to call and find out, and be prepared to find a licensed driver willing to take the insurance on the car.

c) Unless you get around taking the whole driving course, you won't be able to drive your car at all for 3 to 6 months. Where are you going to put it up for this period of time, and given the outrageous costs of the COE, do you really want to waste 3 to 6 months of COE?

d) I was able to sell my car in 24 hours with an ad at SG Carmart. Dealers came out of the woodwork. Probably not quite as much as I could have made as a private sale but it was quick and painless. At least your friend will have a quick out if you don't buy.

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Postby zzm9980 » Mon, 25 Mar 2013 8:12 am

Strong Eagle wrote:d) I was able to sell my car in 24 hours with an ad at SG Carmart. Dealers came out of the woodwork. Probably not quite as much as I could have made as a private sale but it was quick and painless. At least your friend will have a quick out if you don't buy.


This may not be the case anymore with the newer MAS regulations on car loans. Lots of stories recently on used car dealers all going belly-up.

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Postby offshoreoildude » Mon, 25 Mar 2013 8:13 am

The second hand car market has cratered with the changes in Loan regulatons. You might want to hold off and see if you can get a better deal from a car dealer once you have your D/L in hand.
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Postby QRM » Mon, 25 Mar 2013 8:19 am

Strong Eagle wrote:a) Since you have been here more than 3 years without doing a license conversion to a Singapore license, taking a Basic Theory Test will NOT get you a Singapore license. You will have to take the entire driver training course which will take at least 3 months, closer to 6 months for most new drivers. The only way you might get around this would be to demonstrate that you have been out of the country a lot during those 3 years and ask for an exemption... I know of one person who was able to do this.



My wife did not do the licence conversion for many years, there was no problems with just the Basic Test.

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Postby x9200 » Mon, 25 Mar 2013 8:42 am

Many many people have done it after few years without a slightest hassle or questioning but what they say on the SPF web pages and while calling them and asking directly is <12 months. This probably means it's up to them to decide on spot.

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Re: Buying a second hand car privately - specific question

Postby taxico » Mon, 25 Mar 2013 9:18 am

The Ref wrote:This means I cant get my Singapore License until (I think) Saturday but we want to do the transaction on Thursday.

Will this cause any issues with the transaction?


ask your insurance company to provide short term cover without a licensed driver (for storage purposes). they have those and it's not expensive BUT you'll probably need to be living in private property (condo, landed home, etc)

that insurance cover is enough to complete an LTA vehicle ownership transfer in person.

when you get your license, change it to the regular sort insurance and you're good to go.

CAVEAT: if it's financed, your bank might have their own T&Cs though.

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Postby Strong Eagle » Mon, 25 Mar 2013 12:21 pm

x9200 wrote:Many many people have done it after few years without a slightest hassle or questioning but what they say on the SPF web pages and while calling them and asking directly is <12 months. This probably means it's up to them to decide on spot.


Interesting... more "shades of gray" in the application of Singapore law.

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Postby nutnut » Mon, 25 Mar 2013 3:27 pm

I also know a couple of people who transferred licenses after as many as 4 years in SG with only completing the basic test. I was under the impression that if you don't do it then you simply cannot drive until you do, nothing about having to do the full test
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Postby x9200 » Mon, 25 Mar 2013 4:00 pm

I rechecked some gov sites (namely eCitizen and SPF) and both only say, that after the 12th month you have to obtain a local DL and in separate paragraphs, to convert you need to pass BTT.

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Wow, my most commented on post ever :D

Postby The Ref » Mon, 25 Mar 2013 8:43 pm

I checked months ago about the conversion process. The Police told me that you can legally drive on a foreign license for up to 12 months, however after that you must have a local license to legally drive.

The BTT is all that is needed to convert a license (plus paying the fee) although I would not be surprised if there were situations where this was not enough. The information posted is a little vague or badly worded, but I did check with the SPF before embarking on this.

Anyway, I have entered into an agreement to buy the car so eggs are already in the basket.

Wish me luck :-|

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Postby JR8 » Tue, 26 Mar 2013 12:38 am

x9200 wrote:I rechecked some gov sites (namely eCitizen and SPF) and both only say, that after the 12th month you have to obtain a local DL and in separate paragraphs, to convert you need to pass BTT.


AIRC it is very similar in the US. You can drive on your original license for 12 months, after which you need to take the local test.

It seems counter-intuitive as it is on day #1 you need the local knowledge the most (how to drive on the wrong side* of the road and so on), and yet after a year you're soundly bedded in, and the requirement is just a PITA.

So in the US where I lived for 1.5yrs IIRC, I drove on my national license for a year, and then 'forgot' about the test thereafter as I knew i was heading home. Probably not the smartest thing to do, as if you have a bad crash and your insurer finds you're not 100% legal, you're finished.


* The Americans drive on the right due to Napoleonic law. In the UK we drive on the left. This dates back to travelling on horse-back, and as most people are right handed you would meet an on-comer to your right, the same hand in which you could wield a sword if you found you needed to draw it in self-defence.

Napoleon not only had a famously small penis (about 2" long allegedly, oh, and it was removed and mummified after his death!), but he was left-handed. So many countries in Europe and where Napoleonic France had influence (incl: USA) drive on the right.

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Postby x9200 » Tue, 26 Mar 2013 8:23 am

The 12 month is common because it comes from the Vienna Treaty, Singapore is also a part of. What was left to the agreeing countries was how they were going to arrange the conversion. Around 2002-2003 what SE described above was in place. Around 2005 a colleague of mine was very surprised when I told him about this as his friends from PRC just converted (with BTT only) their DLs after living here for 3 years or so but I contributed it to the flexibility of the police rather than any policy change.

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Postby zzm9980 » Tue, 26 Mar 2013 8:38 am

JR8 wrote:AIRC it is very similar in the US. You can drive on your original license for 12 months, after which you need to take the local test.


This varies state by state. In California, you have 10 days from when you permanently arrive to convert your license, even from just another state. If you're late converting you won't have any problems at the DMV (as of a few years ago, but they might have turned this into another money maker recently), but police will give you a citation for it if they pull you over for anything else.


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