How to Buy a Car at the End of a Lease

October 14, 2013

There are many reasons why you may want to purchase your previously leased car, and many end of lease offers only serve to sweeten the deal. Whether you choose to buy because you know the car's mechanical history and you've been offered a deal you can't pass up, or because you have exceeded the lease term's mileage limits or wear and tear amounts and simply want a way to avoid many of the subsequent penalties, the fact remains that you sometimes need a helping hand in finding out how exactly to go about the process of purchasing.

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Step 1. Find Your Buyout Amount

Before you can purchase your car, you have to figure out what the buyout amount on the vehicle is, or the amount the lease company will sell the vehicle for. To find out this amount, simply call the phone number listed on your monthly payment slip. You will most likely reach an automated help line, so you will need to continue until you reach an actual person, and tell them you would like the buyout amount for your lease vehicle.

Step 2. Compare Value and Buyout Price

Once you have a buyout amount, do a little research to find out what your car is really worth on the used market. Most lease companies would prefer not to have to take the car back at the end of its lease, and may be willing to negotiate on pricing, so knowing how much the car is truly worth can be invaluable. Keep in mind that should you not purchase the vehicle, the lease company will either have to sell the car to a dealership as a used vehicle, or ship it out to an auto auction. Shipping to an auction will incur transportation charges and may only receive wholesale pricing, so its in their best interest to do what they can to make a sale.

Step 3. Set a Negotiation Starting Point

Once you've compared your vehicle's value to the vehicle's buyout price, come up with a figure you would be comfortable paying. Submit this figure to the leasing company along with your phone number and contact information and they will either give a counter offer or ignore your offer entirely. It may take several weeks to come to a figure that is agreeable to both parties, so make sure to start negotiations early and allow plenty of time for things to conclude before your lease term is up.

It's common for lease companies to encourage buying car lease returns, and more often than not making a sale will benefit both the buyer and the seller a great deal. While it may be tempting to simply purchase from the beginning, waiting to buy a car until after the lease term has expired can open up deals and potential savings not found in any other situation.

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