If your auto lease is about to expire, you should consider whether buying the car from the leasing company at the buyout price is a good option for you. In this article, Executive Vice President of United Car Care Rory Angold discusses the factors you should consider.
Consider the Information You Have at the End of the Lease
You are in a completely different position at the end of your auto lease term than you were at the beginning. The buyout price for your vehicle was determined at the beginning of the lease term, based on assumptions about the expected value of your car at the end of the term. Now that you are close to the end of the term, you can reevaluate those assumptions based on how things have gone during the term.
You are in the best position to know the actual condition of the vehicle. You have been driving it daily and also have been responsible for ordinary maintenance.
If you have been careful in keeping the vehicle in good shape, you will know more about the quality of its condition than any used car driven by someone else.
It is also possible that you might have knowledge that could cause additional fees when you turn the vehicle in. If you have run up more miles than are allowed under the lease or if you know of mechanical or cosmetic issues, you can factor that information into your decision about a buyout.
The leasing company established the buyout price at the beginning of your lease, and that price is based on several factors. The most important variable is the estimated residual value, that is the best guess at what the car will be worth at the time the lease ends.
Sometimes these estimates are off, as it is impossible to predict market conditions with perfect accuracy. Compare the buyout price from your lease agreement with what the market value of the car would be from a dealer or private party as a standalone sale.
Research both wholesale and retail prices for vehicles like yours by consulting sources such as Kelley Blue Book and sellers like Cars.com and CarMax. Once you have a dollars-to-dollars comparison, you can take into account your individualized knowledge of the car’s condition and mileage.
Get Some Financing Options in Place Before You Talk with the Leasing Company
If you decide to explore a lease buyout, be assured that your leasing company will make a strong sales effort to finance the buyout. Leases have limited profit margins built into the contract, and financing the buyout is a great opportunity for the company to earn additional income on the vehicle.
Before you start negotiating financing terms with your leasing company, do some independent research on financing that you can qualify for with third-party lenders. Having a preapproval for specified rates and fees can give you some significant power in working out a financing arrangement with your leasing company.
Evaluate Whether It’s Worth Your Time to Try Negotiating the Price
Most leasing companies maintain a no-negotiation policy on the buyout price set up in their leasing agreements. Even though it may not be possible to get the company to move on the preset buyout price, you may be able to negotiate some associated expenses, including the purchase-option fee included in many leases. This fee can possibly be negotiated without changing the base buyout price. You may also be able to work out some financing benefits that can reduce your overall out of pocket cost.
About Rory Angold
Rory Angold is a regional manager with over a decade of experience in dealer consulting,
training, and reinsurance within the automotive sector. Currently residing in California, Mr.
Angold led the West Coast sales team for Zurich North America. Rory Angold is now serving as
Executive Vice President at United Car Care, a company that offers vehicle service contracts that provide reliable protection at an affordable cost.