Should you buy a Registered or Unregistered bus? What if you’re buying interstate?

Should you buy a Registered or Unregistered bus? What if you’re buying interstate?

There are many things to consider when you purchase a bus!

Is it better to purchase a registered bus or an unregistered bus? What if I am buying the bus interstate? I’ve purchased a bus…now what? How do I get on the road legally for my scenario?

General things to consider & general tips before buying a bus:

  • You should get an idea of the conversion to motorhome rules for your state (use National rules from NHVR in QLD, NSW, VIC, SA, TAS, and ACT)
  • Find out what type of licence you will need prior.
  • Enquire into how much your licencing test weekend will cost – (ie: In Victoria, about $2000 for heavy rigid, $1500 for medium rigid, $1200 for light rigid).
  • Make sure you study the Heavy Vehicle Manual (For Victoria it’s this one HERE).
  • Once it is converted you must get it inspected (before it is registered) by an Accredited Vehicle Examiner (AVE). They will check if your vehicle is safe and up to the conversion standards then give you a certificate you take to the Registration Office. To Contact an AVE check out our contact list HERE.
  • For passenger seats, you need to have as many passenger seats in the vehicle as there are beds.
  • The door has to open OUTWARDS for safety reasons (so if you buy a city bus you have to change the bifold door).
  • Any LPG gas appliances or uses & and all 240V electrical systems need to be inspected by a professional and you must get a certificate for those two things, and bring those two and the AVE certificate to the Registration Office.
  • Call and ask, or look up the registration rules for your state for motorhomes — Get an approximate estimate of how much registration will cost in your state (not always accurate on the Vehicle Registration company’s website. Call them and ask – you may need a previous rego number from the vehicle to get accurate quote) (they’re really bad at giving good answers but registering it as *motorhome’s* it’s generally under $1500 a year)
  • Search for a bus online and meet with people who sell buses and talk with them, ASK HEAPS OF QUESTIONS BEFORE STARTING.
  • Our recommendation is to purchase an unregistered bus… our reasoning is in this post HERE
  • START and buy a bus, yay!

We’ve compiled a list of many of the scenarios one might encounter when trying to plan for buying a bus…

Let’s start with the most typical scenario…

If you buy an UNREGISTERED BUS and need to drive it home [or even interstate] before converting it or registering it:

  • You can purchase the bus without having your licence. Although, you’d have to get the seller to drive the bus to you. Alternatively, wait to pick it up when you have your licence. (Do not drive it without a licence, obviously… it’s SUPER difficult to do and just plain dumb).
  • To drive it while unregistered to where you need it to go (home or to get it inspected), you can purchase a PERMIT and drive it legally with that. You can get a permit from VicRoads or your state’s equivalent office.
  • Once you have it where you are going to do the conversion, then you convert it [we recommend you call the Accredited Vehicle Examiner (AVE) before you start your conversion for them to clarify what you need to do], then get it inspected by the AVE when you’re finished.
  • Also get your LPG and electrical certified by a plumber and a electrician, if relevant to your conversion.
  • Take the above listed 3 certificates and a Roadworthy Certificate from a Heavy Rigid Mechanic to the registration office and pay your relevant fees.
  • **Get a permit for EACH of those trips (if you have to take the bus anywhere before it is registered).

If you buy an UNREGISTERED BUS and need to register it BEFORE CONVERTING it:

This may be the scenario if you don’t have time to convert it yet because you want to do a round trip of the country first, for example: in a bus full of seats still or a bus with some seats missing and a mattress on the floor [that’s how I’d do it at least lol].

  • In this case you would need to register it as a BUS…NOT a motorhome. Bus registration is more costly in most states but many states have said that the bus registration you have leftover (that you’ve already paid for a year for) will be deducted from the motorhome registration. It will be more of a change in registration. So it’s not too bad, just a bit more costly upfront.
  • So you can then drive it around registered as a bus… then you convert it [we recommend you call the Accredited Vehicle Examiner (AVE) before you start your conversion for them to clarify what you need to do], then get it inspected by the AVE when you’re finished.
  • Also get your LPG and electrical certified by a plumber and a electrician, if relevant to your conversion.
  • Take the above listed 3 certificates and a Roadworthy Certificate from a Heavy Rigid Mechanic to the registration office and pay your relevant fees.

If you buy a REGISTERED BUS and are not moving interstate:

Most buses are de-registered while sitting on a lot waiting to be sold. If a bus is still registered when you purchase it…

You simply treat it like purchasing a car. You will likely need to get a Roadworthy Certificate of your own from a heavy vehicle mechanic. Then transfer the vehicle to your name at VicRoads/RMS etc. So you usually pay stamp duty, transfer fees and registration.

  • In this scenario, when you buy the bus, it would be registered as a BUS already by the seller (assuming you’re buying an un-converted bus). So when you transfer it, it would still be registered as a bus.
  • Then you would convert it [we recommend you call the Accredited Vehicle Examiner (AVE) before you start your conversion for them to clarify what you need to do], then get it inspected by the AVE when you’re finished.
  • Also get your LPG and electrical certified by a plumber and a electrician, if relevant to your conversion.
  • Take the above listed 3 certificates and a Roadworthy Certificate from a Heavy Rigid Mechanic to the registration office and pay your relevant fees.

If you have any further questions feel free to contact us!

We will try our best to help you out with your unique scenario!

badassadults@outlook.com.au

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