Tips to save money at the end of a car lease

May 13, 2013 8:27:47 AM PDT
Leasing is a popular option for people who want low monthly payments and the option of getting a new car every few years. So how do you get the best deal? Here are some things you can do at the end of your lease to save yourself some cash.

Rob Mesarchik of San Anselmo always bought used cars for cash. But, a few years ago he decided to lease a car for the first time.

"I wanted the flexibility of getting a different car at the end of the lease, there might be better cars available, electric cars," said Mesarchik.

And he liked the price of the Subaru he had is eye on.

"I negotiated the price even though it was a lease," said Mesarchik.

But what many people don't know is that you can negotiate at the end of the lease too.

"They don't have to just turn in the car and walk away," said Kelley Blue Book Editor Jack Nerad.

Many leased cars today are holding their value beyond what the car companies had predicted. That means when it is time to turn in your car you might be able to buy the car and sell it on the open market for more than you pay. But, the dealers know this too and you might be able to get a similar deal from the dealership.

Kristin Pedersen has leased a few cars over the years.

"I bought it and then I sold it two weeks later for like $2,000 more. I wish I'd known I could have negotiated with the dealership for a better price. They might not have paid it but they might have," said Pedersen.

The hassle of selling your car on your own can be a turn off. Also, new car dealers tend to end up with a lot of used cars.

"They are in the new vehicle business so they want to move those into the consumer's hands," said Mesarchik.

This gives them an incentive to negotiate.

"There is the likelihood a consumer could save hundreds of dollars, maybe thousands of dollars, depending on how expensive the car was to begin with," said Mesarchik.

Nerad says it's a good idea to negotiate with the dealer or the bank directly.

"Another option though is to lease that car again. This time you are leasing a used vehicle," said Mesarchik.

And now you'll be paying far less.

"Because that vehicle is worth less at that point than it was when you first leased it," said Mesarchik.

It ended up that Mesarchik liked his Subaru so much he plans to buy his car at the end of the lease.

Nerad says that there are some really good deals on leases right now, especially on all-electric vehicles like the Ford Focus and the Nissan Leaf. If you are looking for a more conventional car the Chevy Malibu and the Honda Civic, both have very low-priced lease deals right now.


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