A few months ago the end of my lease was coming up so I began the search for a new car. While at a local dealer I was chatting with the sales manager and he asked me about my lease and said I may have some equity in it. Equity in a lease? I had never heard of that. We usually buy our cars but leased this one. So I’m no expert. He went on to tell me that if the car is worth more than the lease buyout I could get money back. WHAT??? Used car values are high now due to a shortage of used vehicles, a side effect of the pandemic. This was news to me!
So my first step was to find the “payoff amount.” I found that when I logged into my lease account online. The payoff is how much I, or a dealer, would need to pay in order to own the car free and clear. So with that piece of information I began doing my homework.
I looked up the car value on Kelly Blue Book. Then I contacted a dozen third-party dealers that buy used cars like Carvana, Vroom, Auto Nation… there’s a ton of them.
Some are super easy to deal with. You simply email some basic information, the VIN and milage and get an instant quote. Others are a little more time intensive; you have to take the car in person for an inspection. At Car Max the process was simple. When I got there, they looked over the car and made me an offer within 30 minutes. So if I sold the car to them, I would get a check back for the difference. I said thanks, I’ll let you know. The offer was good for 3 days. The hunt for the highest bid was on!
One of the last places I contacted was CarShop (use to be CarSense). Their first offer was low and I said thanks but no thanks. Then they called me back and said they may be able to offer more. So I took the car in for inspection and within 30 minutes they made me an offer I couldn’t refuse!
So, thanks to that nice sales manager who gave me that little tip I made a nice down payment for my next car.
The more you know!