You adore your leased car, but now it's time to say adios. Your lease is expiring and you've got some decisions to make. If you've pampered it like a baby and kept the mileage low, you might want to consider buying it. Or, perhaps you're bored with it and hope to find a good deal on another lease-end vehicle. While it's pretty easy to buy a leased car at the end of its term, you must consider the many variables before you take the plunge.
Research the residual value of the lease buy-out and its true market value on auto evaluation sites such as Edmunds.com, Kelley Blue Book or Autobytel. Consider buying the car if you know the history of the vehicle, it has low miles or if this is your own lease-end vehicle and you've driven way over your mileage allotment. You could owe a lot of money in excess wear-and-tear charges.
Call the leasing agent's number listed on the payment slips of your coupon book. If you reach an automated recording, select "lease end" or "lease buy-out." Tell the leasing agent you want to buy your lease.
Negotiate on the residual price of the car. Don't reveal the car's condition to the leasing agent, according to Edmunds.com. If you don't buy your lease-end car, it could be shipped off for auction, where it's unlikely to get full market value. This gives you some leverage when making an offer on the car. Keep in mind that some leasing agents won't budge on the residual price, while others might.
Shop around for financing if you don't have the cash to buy it outright. Look for loan rates that are competitive. At the end of the lease, send the agreed-upon residual price and pay off the lease.
Register the car, pay tax on the sales price and you're finito.
Elle Smith has been an advertising professional for more than 25 years. Her work for ABC, CBS and Sony Pictures Television has appeared on radio, on air, in print and outdoors. In addition, Smith has more than 20 years experience in marketing, graphic arts, commercial photography and print production, and is a licensed real estate agent with property management certification in California.