If you’ve recently leased a car and want to hang onto it once the lease is up, then a lease buyout might be a good option for you. Of course, this depends on the condition your car is in, your current financial situation, and the payment terms you receive.

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This article will explain how the process works, things to consider first, and the steps you can take to move forward.

What is a Car Lease Buyout?

Once you’re nearing the end of your lease, you may have the option to return the car, lease the car again, or buy it outright. You’ll have to check your lease contract because some lenders won’t give you the option to buy it.

If you do have the option to purchase the car, you can either pay cash for it or finance the remainder of the balance. Because you’re buying out the manufacturer, this is known as a lease buyout.

If you need to finance the balance, you can do this through a bank, online lender, or credit union. The downside to leasing the vehicle is that you will end up paying additional interest and taxes.

Can I Buyout My Car Before My Lease is Up?

Most leases will require that you wait until the end of your contract to purchase the car. However, some lenders will let you buy the vehicle early. But you should proceed with caution because there are some big disadvantages to this.

First of all, most lenders will charge you early termination fees if you end the leasing contract early. Depending on your lender, these fees could end up being pretty high.

And many people choose to lease a vehicle because the payments tend to be lower. If you purchase the car early, your payments will go up since the car will be worth more. Waiting until the end of your lease will keep these payments as low as possible.

Finally, anyone who leases a car still has to pay taxes and registration fees just like if you were buying the car outright. And when you purchase a vehicle you were previously leasing, you have to pay these fees all over again. But if you wait until your lease is up, they’ll be lower because the car will be worth less money.

6 Things to Consider About Car Lease Buyouts

So considering the previous information, when does it make sense to purchase a leased car? Here are six questions you should ask yourself first.

  • Does your lender offer lease buyout loans? Not all lenders offer lease buyout options so you’ll need to do some shopping around to find one that does.
  • Does it make financial sense? The fees will be higher if you choose a lease buyout so you should make sure you can afford it. Use an auto loan calculator to run the numbers, figure out what your monthly payments will be, and whether it fits in your budget.
  • Does the car fit your lifestyle? The kind of car you need will change throughout your life. You should spend some time thinking about your current lifestyle and whether your leased vehicle still fits.
  • Will you take good care of the car? Buying or leasing a used car is always a gamble because you don’t know what you’re going to get. But if you’ve taken excellent care of your current car and it’s in good shape, it may make sense to just hang onto it.
  • Will you incur high fees for turning it in? One of the downsides to leasing a car is that you can quickly rack up high fees. If you’ve exceeded the mileage limit or the car is damaged somehow you could get hit with hefty fines. In that case, it may make sense to just keep the car.
  • Is it a good deal? And finally, you should determine whether or not it’s a good deal for you to purchase the car. Is the car worth more than what you and the lender originally agreed to? If it is, then buying it is probably a good deal for you.

3 Steps to Getting Started

If you decided that a car lease buyout is the right choice for you, here are three steps you can take to get the process rolling.

1. Contact your lender

If you want to purchase the car, don’t wait until the last minute to contact your lender. Ideally, you should contact them at least two to three months before your lease is up.

Tell your lender you’ve decided to purchase the car and they can walk you through how you can get started. Make sure you ask the following questions:

  • What is the car’s original agreed-upon value?
  • How much is the car currently worth?
  • What fees or taxes will I be responsible for?

2. Decide how you’ll purchase the car

Once you know how much you’ll have to pay for the vehicle, you need to decide whether you’ll pay cash or finance the remaining amount. Paying cash is the simplest route you can take. You’ll transfer the funds to the leasing company and then they’ll mail you the title and registration.

If you need to finance the vehicle, you’ll need to shop around so you can find the best deal possible. Make sure they understand you want a car lease buyout loan, not a regular auto loan.

Once you find several good options, you should apply with multiple lenders and see what they offer you. Most lenders will do a soft pull on your credit so this won’t damage your credit score. You should choose the lender that offers the lowest APR and most favorable repayment terms.

3. Close on the loan

Once you’ve worked out the payment details, you’re ready to close on your loan. Your lender and local DMV can advise you on how to have the title transferred. But if you take out a loan the title will remain in the lender’s name until its paid off.

Summary

Depending on your financial situation, a car lease buyout could be a good option for you. The best way to find out is to run the numbers and explore your options. You may find that it makes more sense to lease a different vehicle.

Keep in mind that lease buyouts do tend to come with higher fees and taxes. Make sure you do your homework and negotiate on pricing and terms whenever possible.