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How to Decide Whether to Purchase Your Vehicle at Lease-End

CarMan@EdmundsCarMan@Edmunds Member Posts: 38,514
The following guide will help you decide whether to purchase your vehicle at the end of your lease or just walk away from it.

Step 1: Find Out Your Vehicle's Purchase Price

Your vehicle's end of term purchase price should be listed on the contract that you signed when you originally leased it. Having said this, you should always place a call to the bank that you are leasing your car or truck through just to make sure that you have the correct figure. When you do so, it never hurts to try to haggle with them. Some banks will negotiate the lease-end purchase prices of vehicles. If your initial contact at your bank is not willing to lower your vehicle's purchase price, you may have better luck if you work your way up the ladder to a manager. There is a good chance that they will not lower your vehicle's price, more often than not they will not, but you don't have anything to lose by asking.

Step 2: Find Out Your Vehicle's Current Market Value

Now that you know exactly how much money it is going to cost you to buy your leased vehicle you need to compare that figure to its current value on the open market. You can find out approximately what your vehicle is worth by looking up its Edmunds.com True Market Value using the Edmunds.com Used Vehicle Appraiser. You also may want to stop by the "Real-World Trade-In Values" discussion that resides on Edmunds.com's Smart Shopper Forum. The knowledgeable community members who frequent that discussion are often kind enough to give their opinion on vehicles' values.

Step 3: Compare the Purchase Price to the Real World Value

Now it's time to compare how much your car is worth in the real world to its value on the open market. If it will cost you less than or around the same price to purchase your leased car or truck as it would cost you to purchase a similar used one, you may want to consider buying it.

Step 4: Make Your Decision

If your vehicle's current purchase option price is reasonable, you have to consider if you want to purchase it. If you enjoy driving your vehicle and it has never given you any major mechanical problems and has never been in any major accidents you may want to consider buying it. It almost never makes sense to purchase a vehicle that has been in an accident because of the diminished value that accidents cause vehicles to have. If on the other hand, your car or truck's purchase price is a little on the high side, just turn it in and walk away from it free of charge (provided you don't have to pay an excess mileage or excess wear and tear penalty).

Prices Paid: Buying & Leasing Experiences Forum


  • mehrishismehrishis Member Posts: 13
    My lease is getting over in march of 2011 (toyota highlander limited 2008). Residual value is 24 K and change. Total price , at the time I negotiated down to approx 35K. I want to buy the car. How much should I pay or negotiate with the bank? I live in NY. I guess if the market is down, the negotiation leverage for the buyer is more.......Please advise
  • chigirlintexaschigirlintexas Member Posts: 73
    I'm nearing the end of my lease of my 08 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland. It is worth slightly more than I owe, perhaps $700-800. I am currently working with a few Jeep dealers to purchase (not lease) an 2011 Grand Cherokee Overland. My question is, rather than just turning in my current Jeep, can I bargain with the dealer to get some money for it on the deal? I know if it were worth less, I would be able to turn the car in at the end of the lease (in March), but since it is worth more, shouldn't I be able to negotiate for that little bit extra? This includes the residual value and the couple payments I still owe-- it is still worth more than what I owe.

    Never have been in this situation before, so would like your opinion. Thanks.
  • CarMan@EdmundsCarMan@Edmunds Member Posts: 38,514
    Hi chigirlintexas. Chances are that you won't be able to use the fact that your current truck is worth slightly more than its purchase option price to your advantage on your new deal. You'll probably just end up having to walk away from your current lease.

    Prices Paid: Buying & Leasing Experiences Forum
  • chigirlintexaschigirlintexas Member Posts: 73
    You are correct, Car_man, although I did end up getting a phenomenal deal on my 2011 Grand Cherokee Overland. They treated my 08 Overland as a wash, though I still owed about $900 on it, so that worked out well, and I got my $1000 loyalty cash as well.

    Love the new ride. I loved the old one, but this one is even better!

    Thanks for the response.
    Happy new year!
  • jayk4jayk4 Member Posts: 1
    I had a 39-month lease on a 2007 SAAB 93 Aero. I leased the vehicle on Oahu, HI and opted for the 10,000 mile yearly allowance, which would have been more than enough there. A year into the lease I moved to Texas, bringing my car with me and realizing most likely I would incur mileage penalties at lease end. The scheduled lease end date was October 31st, 2010. Turning the car in now meant milege penalties of $3,750.00. I really liked the car and kept it in like new condition. So when the lease was near the end I decided to weigh my options: buying the car or turning it in and paying the excessive mileage fee. I called Ally Financial (used to be GMAC) and told them I was considering buying my leased vehicle and wanted to know what my options were. They informed me that the end lease purchase price was $22350.00 (plus official fees and taxes of course). They informed me that if I purchased the car through them I would have to put money down (~$2,000) and the monthly payment would be ~$400.00/month for 48 months. My lease payments were only $295.00/month. (Which I thought was an incredible deal with the intention of turning the car in at lease end in Hawaii with no mileage fees. Not such a great deal now, living in Texas and driving much more.). Ally's lease end buyout option did not make financial sense to me so I asked them if they would consider lowering the residual. They would not budge. I even mentioned that I new that they had insurance to cover the difference between residual and selling price and I would save them money by not having to auction the car off. They still would not budge. They informed me that if I could get a better deal on loan terms to consider that option. I though I was going to get a great deal on terms at a credit union but here was the dilema: they would only give me a loan on the TMV of the 2007 Saab Aero which was ~$14,000.00. Ally had me and they knew it. It was looking like I was going to turn in my Saab and pay the mileage penalty after all. My last resort was going to my local Saab Dealership (Roger Beasley) and seeing what they could do. They informed me that they could work something out with Ally. I told them that if they could get me a payment close to what I was currently paying I would keep the car. By keeping the car, I assumed that would prevent me from having to pay the $3700 in mileage fees. Roger Beasley called me and said they got everything taken care of with Ally and that my monthly would be very reasonable (through another finance company), however the only way they could get the residual lowered was to put the car in my wife's name. (red flag). I never questioned this and should have. My wife came in and signed the sales contract and I thought this was done. To my amazement, the end of November I received a letter from Ally stating that I had turned in my car and owed the $3700. I thought this was a mistake. I called Ally and they basically stated Roger Beasely bought the car from them (for about $14,000.00 - the TMV), after I supposedly turned it in, and they (Roger Beasley) resold it to my wife for ~$16,000.00. I went to Roger Beasley and they basically said that is what happened and there is basically nothing they can do and that I was still responsible for the $3700.00. From the beginning I informed them that was the reason I was keeping the car was to keep my monthly car payments low and to not have to pay the $3700.00. If they (Roger Beasley) would have notified me upfront that is what they were doing, could have we rolled the $3700 into the loan? (making the payments roughly 30 more per month) Does anybody have any other suggestions/options on how I can get out of paying the $3700.00 or am I obligated to pay it.? I even went back to Ally and they basically said the car deal was between you and the dealership and you still owe us the mileage fee because you technically turned the car in at the end of the lease; even though it is still owned by someone in your family.
    Safe to say I will never do business with Ally Financial or Roger Beasley again.
  • jun2jun2 Member Posts: 12
    Hi Everyone, My question is, my BMW 328i Lease is up in 3months. Before I lease or buy new new car, how much you think they will charge me with a dent in front Bumper below the headlight?. Dent is like as big as your fist. I dont remember where I got it from, it is under the front headlight. I didnt have it fixed. Any advice is greatly appreciated!
    Thank you!

  • bspzbspz Member Posts: 35
    Why not get a free estimate or two from local body shops? It will more than likely be cheaper than what BMW would charge you at turn-in.
  • ddobbs1ddobbs1 Member Posts: 2
    My auto lease company has in their contract that my lease payoff is the greater of the residual value or fair market value (Blue Book). The residual value is $10,000 and the FMV is $16,250. The car was in an accident and needed major repairs so I don't believe the true value to be close to the FMV.

    Is there any way to negotiate the payoff to be the residual with the leasing company or the lessor (Wells Fargo)? Also, I have excess mileage and will end up paying about $3000 if I turn in the lease. 2008 Toyota Prius with 78,000 miles.

    What is my best option...turn-in, pay the $3000, and just get another car OR payoff and hope that I can sell to try and breakeven with a dealer OR try to find a dealer that will payoff the lease??
  • wonkauwonkau Member Posts: 2
    I am two months before the end of my lease, my 2008 GMC Acadia but I am over mileage to the tune of $5000, if I trade my car towards the purchase of another car other than GMC and they give me what is owed on the car then would I still have to pay that mileage?

    I am just trying to figure out what options other than purchasing the vehicle myself will get me away from paying the mileage?
  • merniemernie Member Posts: 1
    We intend to buy our 2011 VW Jetta TDI at the end of our lease in January. Our dealer requires that we do a safety check and a Drive Clean test (an Ontario Canada requirement) at our cost. Our question is - should we try to refuse, since it is normally the seller who incurs that cost (in this case it's our dealer)?. Also, under the normal Drive Clean rules, this car wouldn't be due for a test until 3 years old. Thanks for any advice you can give me.
  • omahahahaomahahaha Member Posts: 6
    Hi Jayk4. I just read this (very old) post. How did your lease situation turn out?
  • artwheelsartwheels Member Posts: 6

    I leased a Prius II in 2010, for three years. The lease is up in 2 weeks. According to your used car appraisal, the car is worth the same or slightly more than the option to buy amount listed in my lease of $15,504. As the car has worked well for me, has 28k miles on it, and hasn’t been in any accidents, I’m considering purchasing it, and have some questions. First, is the amount listed in my current lease ($15,504), the total amount I would pay, or would there be additional fees, taxes, etc? If so, how do I find out what those fees and amounts would be ahead of time? Two, as Toyota is advertising 0% financing for 5 years for purchasing a new car; can I get 0% financing for purchasing my used/leased car?

    Many thanks, I appreciate your assistance with this!
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