Trading-In Your Lease

Despite being a base model coupe, my ’08 G37 has been by far, the finest vehicle I have ever leased. As I detailed and prepared it for an appraisal last night, I found myself wanting to keep it just a little longer. However, the needs of the family supersede my desire for a “fun-car”, so what needed to be done, had to be done.

This afternoon, I took some time out during my lunch break to get my car appraised at Carmax and to my surprise, I am getting a sizable chunk of change in return. Before I break down the numbers, I would like to point out key reasons as to why I was able to do this.

  1. My car is in pristine condition. Not even a scratch (not since that little bumper incident anyway) and the paint is silky smooth.
  2. I am almost 5,000 miles under my mileage allowance (at 31,000 when I should be at around 36000).
  3. I detailed my car the night before. No, not just a car wash. I mean DETAIL! Every nook and cranny.
  4. I rotate my tires every 6000 miles to wear out the tires evenly.
  5. I still have over 3-months left on my lease.
  6. I suspect that the value of Infinitis has probably gone up a slightly due to disaster in Japan.

Bundle these six reasons together and here’s how the numbers look like:

IFS Payoff Quote: $23,370.20
CarMax Offer:  $24,500.00

Difference: $1129.80

Other than my need to get into a more “practical” car, I felt the urgency to do something because by May 17th I would have to pay my DMV registration again. I wanted to avoid paying a full year’s registration to drive my car another three months, so the most logical choice was to trade it in.

What I am getting into next is still up in the air, but it is nice to know that I can sell this car soon in order to get some nice equity out of it. Further proof that if you take care of your car and don’t put too many miles on it, you can get some money by selling a leased vehicle.

118 thoughts on “Trading-In Your Lease

  1. I have 2008 Audi A6 and I tried to do same as what you did but found out Audi gave different price quote to dealer.

    My price quote from CarMax = $24000
    Price quote from Audi to me = $22800

    I was very excited to get $1200 but when CarMax called Audi to get quote, Audi quoted them $27000 which is $3000 more than my CarMax quote. I called the Audi finance and they said when they transfer leased car directly to dealer, they have to charge dealer a fair market value which is $27000…..

    I was wondering if you were able to do this transaction. Thanks.

    By the way, I love your website. Thanks for running great site.

    • That is quite odd. Generally, the dealer payoff is lower than a customer’s payoff amount. I guess I should check with IFS to see if that’s going to be the case. This would seriously put a damper in my plans if it the dealer payoff ends up higher than mine.

  2. I am in a similar situation with my Audi Q5 lease. I still have 16 months but the car is amazingly worth several thousand more than my payoff, apparently due to shortages. Anybody with Q5 or Q7 leases should look into this to see if they can pocket some dough.

    Carmax quote: $37,000
    My payoff: about $32,000

    I never pursued it to see if payoff to dealer is more. I would jump on this but I have my eyes on the new X3 35i and the leases on those look pretty bad… Not to mention it’s one of the hardest cars to find right now so dealers don’t budge much.

    Thinking of trying private party to sell my car since I have time, though I’ve been reading it gets a little complicated with the buyer paying the lease company, then they send me the title, then I must sign it over to the buyer in 10 days or else face the wrath of California sales tax.

    Thanks G for giving us the info to get the best leases possible!

    • Private sale is the way to go for sure. I only have about 4 months left, so that is probably not a good option for me. Just called IFS to double check the payoff on my vehicle and they are closed due to the holidays. RATS!

      • The only disadvantage with private party sale, is the double sales tax that needs to be paid. Once for paying of the car, and then again for transferring the title. Unless the leasing company accepts a direct payoff from a 3rd party to release the title under the new name, there is no easy workaround to this challenge.

        The only thing that can be done is to have a dealer pay off the car (tax-free) and then resell at the same price to the new owner (taxed once). Now finding a dealer to help out with no incentive is another story.

  3. Can’t you transfer your license plates to a new vehicle if they aren’t expired? Here in Wisconsin, I pay $69/year for tags… If I sell that car, trade it in, or turn it in on the lease, I can transfer my existing plates (as long as they aren’t expired) to my new vehicle thus avoiding paying for new plates that I don’t need.

  4. Carmax is typically the king of the lowball offer. However, in the current automotive market, good used cars are in high demand. From what I’ve read there is a huge shortage of quality used cars. I’m sure this is contributing to Carmax’s attractive offer. If Carmax can offer that number, just think what you could probably get selling it yourself.

  5. A year a go, I would have looked at Paul’s post and thought that he’s confused, but the same happened to me this year when turning in my CX-9. Not only did the Mazda dealer say he would have to pay $2k – $3k more than my $20,629 buyout figure if he wanted to buy the car, the Honda dealer said Mazda would not let them even consider buying the car. Crazy financing out there, for sure,

    • I am currently in the process to get CarMax to buy out my lease. They called the automated system and they got the same payoff as what I was quoted. However, they needed to talk to a rep in order to answer additional questions. Since it is Good Friday, the bank was closed. We’ll see what happens Monday.
      If what Paul says it’s true, think this practice should be illegal. We paid for those miles, therefore as long as we are making payments, we should be able to cash out unused miles by selling the car.

      • It is not illegal, lessee’s have no rights to the car except for what is stated in the long lease agreement that they sign. Thats why you cant even modify the vehicle when its leased because the car is not yours, youre just renting it long term. When you lease a car, the bank buys it from the dealer, thereby making them the owners and who they want to sell the car to for what amount is totally up to the bank. A lot of bank use this practice but some dont care who buys it, so long as they unload the car (usually domestic manufacturers).

        • True. It isn’t legal. But it isn’t exactly fair either. Then again, leasing a car isn’t about fairness. Nevertheless, it is yet another way banks can screw with people for money.

  6. Good News! I sold the car to CarMax on Monday!!! I got a big fat check for $1129.80. They called IFS for a payoff and it was right in line with what I owed. It was a painful process, but not in the way you’d expect. I was trying to do this on Friday, but the banks were closed due to the holiday. So that got delayed until Monday. On Monday, IFS wouldn’t release my information to CarMax unless I called in to authorize it. So after hours of back and forth, the payoff was approved and I sold the car to CarMax. The selling process took less than 20 minutes. If you think your car has some equity, I highly recommend that you take it to CarMax for an appraisal at least three months before you lease expires.

    As for what I replaced it with…the two finalists were the CrossTour EX-L AWD and the Sonata Turbo SE. The other candidates just didn’t cut it and I wasn’t about to lease anything with a RWG rating less than 90. I move into my home this weekend, so once I get a little bit more settle and get my internet up and running, I will go snap some pictures and post my new ride on The Wall.

    • Congrats~!!

      I envy you. I guess only Audi does such a no sense deal… Next time I should ask this before I sign the paper.. Thanks~ G

      • I think Audi might be one of the few banks that does this. This sort of explains the terrible residual values they use for leases. I think they purposely undervalue their cars in leases so your payments are higher. This is why Audi’s are not great leases nowadays. This is all hypothetical, but I think I may be onto something here…

    • Interesting. Almost 4 weeks later and I haven’t seen pix of the new ride. Also, interesting that the two finalists are so different. FWD versus AWD (even though the Cross Tour is available with FWD). Top trim on the Cross Tour vs. middle of the road on the Sonata. Fuels Costs: Edmunds says the Cross Tour will cost you $37/month more. Cargo Capacity (all seats up): 25.7 for the Cross Tour vs. 16.4 for the Sonata, that’s significant.

      Any chance of going off-road? Surprisingly, the Cross-Tour’s ground clearance is only 1/2″ higher.

      So, in addition to carrying big things from the Home Improvement and Furniture stores some other capacity considerations:

      Have kids? If not, any in the plans for the next 3 years? If so, see how difficult it is to put in and take out a car seat.

      How about a dog? If so, would he sit on the seat or in a kennel? I actually brought our dog’s travel kennel along on visits to the various car dealers to see if it fit and how much space was available afterwards.

      Just some thoughts. Let us know what you decide.

      • Haahaa. Sorry, I’ve been so busy unpacking and fixing my new place so I haven’t had the chance to take pictures. Plus the car has been very dirty so have been holding off on the photo taking. Its coming though!
        Valid arguments on the AWD vs FWD. No kids yet and not dog. But yes on the kids in the next 3 years (at least thats the plan anyway). I’ll try to get some pics this week for sure!!

  7. Based on the above, plus my own experiences, it appears that the banks have gotten a whole lot smarter about buyout versus trade-in versus courtesy trades, etc. They know how much your car is really worth and while they will honor to the buyout terms of the lease, they will make sure if anyone is going to make money on your car, it will be them, not you.

    And, as Oscar pointed out, even if you have a buyer, each of you would have to pay sales tax since “courtesy trades” are also disallowed. That means you might be able to get something out of the deal if you live in a state that doesn’t have sales tax like Delaware or New Hampshire.

    • Your experience definitely varies depending on who you finance through. Courtesy trades don’t happen often, but I know BouncewithB managed to pull one off when he tried to sell his wife’s Jetta and lease her an Infiniti. I believe Sewell Infiniti helped with the transaction. CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS. Buying out the car and then selling definitely not a good idea. Dealers are exempt from paying sales taxes on purchases, so the best way to unload a lease is to trade it in or find a buyer and work with your bank to arrange the purchase.

  8. WHOAH!!!! I just noticed this post in the banner on the homepage. I had no idea this could be done. So let me get this straight, before my lease is up I can trade in my car depending on manufacturer and “possibly” get some cash back?

    Do I have to buy the car first then sell it to carmax to get this deal or am I able to receive the cash back on a leased/rented vehicle without having to buy it first?

    If so I just don’t see how this works. I never knew you could trade in a leased vehicle, I thought that was for financed vehicles only.

    • Yes. Selling a lease is almost the same as selling a financed vehicle. The dealer will make a “wholesale” offer on your car and if it happens to be higher than your payoff amount, you typically get some money back. I already cashed my check so I know for a fact IFS will allow this. Audi lessees on the other hand seem to be out of luck because Audi seems to undervalue their cars on leases, so when a dealer wants to buy them back, their payoff ends up being more.
      And no. you do not need to buy the car first. Just take it to a dealer and have it appraised as a trade-in. Per my experience with Carmax’s appraisal, it looks like you can get a pretty accurate estimate online by going to KBB and appraising your car in “GOOD” condition. It seems a car in “EXCELLENT” condition appraises at the “GOOD” condition value. If you have noticeable wear-and-tear, you may have to appraise it at “FAIR/AVERAGE” condition instead.

      Now the biggest difference between financed vehicles and leased vehicles is how the banks handle the payoff. Like it was stated previously, your pay-off may be different than a dealer’s payoff. What a dealer like Carmax does is call your bank, find out what a dealer’s payoff on the vehicle will be and they pay the bank so they will release the title and free you from your financial obligation. Since leasing is technically rent-to-own, all the money you put into a lease is considered “equity” (I use this term loosely by the way), so if the car is valued higher than the payoff, you get some of that “equity” back. Hope this makes sense, since I am not a finance guy, my terminology may be off, but the concept is pretty much there.

  9. Could you also do this, say, 12 months into a lease or is it restricted to near the end of the lease?

    • As far as I know, with most leases you can pay it off at any time during the lease. It’s usually not practical since typical leases leave you under water throughout, but if you maintain your car well and supply and demand favor your car (fuel efficient cars are very desirable these days), you might be surprised to see it worth more than your current payoff even if only halfway into your lease. This gives you the flexibility to recoup some of the costs you paid up front to lease or move to something else you have your eyes on.

      Just call the leasing company or login to their website and get a payoff quote. Then checkout kbb/nadaguides to get an idea how much your car is worth. You can either sell it to a private party or trade it in to a dealer like carmax. If carmax gives you a quote higher than your payoff, then the difference will be money in your pocket (although it seems some companies like audi may give a higher payoff quote to dealers). Carmax will call up your leasing company, handle the payoff, and give you the difference, allowing you to get a new lease on life!

    • You can do it at any time. However, a car depreciates fastest within the first 12 months, so I wouldn’t recommend doing this until maybe 6 months before your lease ends.

    • Right on the money there Omeed. Market conditions definitely make a huge difference, but so does keeping your car in great shape. This is my third trade-in on a lease and the first one with positive equity. My first was my 325i, which I drove too much and went over my miles, which I sold 2 years into my 3 year lease. I ended up paying about $1000 on that one. Then I sold my wife’s Mazda3, which was beat to hell and suffered frame damage in a car accident. Ended up owing about $600-700 bucks on that but US Bank refunded me about $500 bucks in sales taxes (no idea why but I don’t question free money). And of course with the G37, I got $1100 bucks back, which covers almost all of my drive-off costs when I leased the car. Gotta love it.

  10. I’m in the same boat with hubby’s 2008 Ford Edge SEL. We anticipated 15K miles/year, but he has only driven about 12K/yr. Lease is up in July. Payoff is currently about $16K, but the Ford dealer is practically begging us to sell it to them for $18,500. Now we’re trying to decide whether to just go ahead & buy it or lease something else. If we buy it & keep making the same payment we’re used to paying now, it will be paid for in 3 years. We’ve always leased both cars since the late 1990’s, but I have to admit that having a 6 year old car in very good condition with 70K miles or less and having NO PAYMENT sounds a lot nicer than leasing again for 3 years & having nothing to show for it at the end of another 3 year lease. This is only the 2nd time we’ve kept a leased vehicle til the end & didn’t trade in early (with negative equity that we had to roll into the next one). So we’re thrilled to have some equity, especially with a Ford, which have historically had very low resale values.

    • Jen,

      You are right about that concept of savings, but an even less expensive method would be to buy the car with 0% financing over 5 or 6 years.

      Perhaps a lower consideration, but still an advantage to a lease is it allows to adjust your car to changing situations. In 2008, we leased a Mazda CX-9 for a combination of reasons including cargo capacity. Now, our son can drive his own car to college so we don’t need as much capacity as during his freshman year. When the lease was up on the CX-9, we downsized to a Honda CR-V and got much better fuel economy.

  11. Does anyone know if the Audi inflated buy out prices appy to VW as well.(vw audi credit)? I want to sell my 2008 autobahn gti lease.I’m 20,000 mi under in my lease.I have 3 more payments. Thanks

    • I don’t think so, but I would probably have your trade-in dealer call the bank to make sure. BouncewithB trade-in his wife’s VW Jetta GLI a year or two ago and didn’t have any problems with that.

      • Called VW/Audi . There is a different buy out price for 3rd party dealers(carmax,ect).I haven’t taken the GTI in yet, but I have a feeling it’s not going to be pretty!

        • Please keep me posted on this. I was thinking about getting an appraisal on my wife’s Jetta as well. But if the buyouts are going to be different, I probably won’t bother.

  12. Have you considered the Kia Optima Turbo? I also wanted to your first picks at wagons from vw and audi but your two options now look great. I still have 8 months remaining on my jetta lease.

  13. I have been to many dealerships (Ford) to purchase a new Focus. My domestic partner has much, much better credit and can get a much better deal, important these days. We are Registered Domestic Partners in California. My car that we want to trade in towards the new Focus has a negative equity, all dealerships said no problem, we just could not work out a deal/payment, etc. Now I have a dealer that says it is illegal to trade my car for my “friend” to purchase a new one. Is this true in CA? No other dealer ever said anything like that. Thanks all!

    • Hi Scot, I don’t have any evidence on the following nor should you consider this actual legal advice. With that said, I think most dealers are assuming you will be a co-signer on that vehicle. I don’t think you are allowed to transfer debt from one person to another, regardless of whether you are married or registered domestic partners. You may want to consult with an accountant or a lawyer on the legalities.

  14. Hi –

    1st time post, long time lurker.

    I wanted to share the fact that i recently traded out of a mazda credit lease successfully for a 2012 Focus, at a ford dealership that was not a mazda dealer. i am not sure how, but i think it may be because ford/mazda banks use to be affiliated (both chase now).

    It was a pleasant surprise because i thought i was stuck with only being able to trade at a certified mazda dealer. So if a dealership is a combination dealer (e.g. smith volvo/mazda, or GO hyundai/mazda) or a Ford dealer, AND you are outside of 90 days till the end of your lease, you do have options.

    Now for the fun stuff: I had hammered out a very good lease on a 2011 honda crv EX, but with its outdated tech, poor mileage and frumpy reputation i just couldn’t get excited about it. I discovered the 2012 focus hatch by chance and was very impressed. After unprecedented sleeziness by the dealer’s finance department (adding +4% to the sales tax, basing the residual on invoice, lying about the lease rates, etc.), all of which i had to call them on, I got a fair deal, as these vehicles have a solid 3 year residual @ 59%. The money factor is so-so, but if you really want a vehicle, sometime you must compromise & follow your heart. 40mpg highway, good pep and handling, voice activated everything, loaded up (minus leather) for $0 drive-off. $340 a month (MSRP $23,500). I am inwise in that i always wrap aquisition and everything else into the deal for a zero drive-off. SO a decent but not great deal on a car that i am very pleased with.

    This site has been invaluable to me as I have worked 11 leases in thre last 11 years, and I consider it a hobby following trends and working the numbers.

    Hope this is of some use and I look forward to the continued success of this site.

    The mind virus that leases are always bad drives me nuts and i like to educate people that leases can be good for certain people. I have a streal of 4 consecutive break-even(or damn near) trades.

    Regards, -John

  15. As far as I remember, Ford is the top shareholder in Mazda and they’ve had a partnership for over 30 years.

  16. First off, thanks for running such a great site. It has helped me a lot so far.

    I have a question though. I am in the exact same situation. I have a 08 g35 with residual of 23k. I was thinking about buying it off contract then selling it, but dont you have to pay sales tax on top of the 23k (IFS payoff quote)?

    In my contract is 23k and through the IFS online, it says the same. tax will bring it up to $25k, which would kill the deal for me.

    • @jason. if you buy off the lease, then you have to pay taxes on it. It doesn’t make sense to do that. Better to have someone buy it off you and they pay the sales taxes. But you would have to arrange that with IFS, assuming they will allow that. IFS is good about not jacking up the payoff for 3rd parties. You are probably better off selling it as a trade-in in my opinion. See how much a dealer is willing to give you for it and then weigh your options.

  17. Sorry it took me so long to let you know about my third party trade and VW/Audi credit.I did not get to go to Carmax, instead I traded in my lease at a VW dealer.I got exactly what I figured out for carmax. I am picking up my new GTI today and saying goodby to my old GTI.(kin’da sad, she was awsome) (she was in pristine cond and way under miles). Thanks to the knowledge I gained on your site I think I got a great deal.I called out the salesman various times on his mf’s and residuals. I could have gotten a check for my trade seperate from the new lease deal, but I decided to just do a car for a car. I owe no tax,no fees no1st payment ect today, just the keys to my 08 GTI. I will pick up a 2011 4 dr GTI w sunroof and nav+ matt package for $ 350 a mo , 10,000 mi per yr.(got 12per last time, drove 6 per yr). I think 75% of VW dealers suck but LASH VW in White Plains NY did right by me, I would recommend them. They got me exact leasing company figures(after a little work) and I got to use my trade. The trade payed for all my taxes fees ect, plus I did not have to deal with the VW/Audi 3rd partty buyout BS!!!! Thanks again for running this great site. Joe

  18. My neighbor did this on my advice. Got a $6k check from Carmax for his Infiniti fx. Felt like he was getting away with something!

    • @edoog. trying to talk my wife in to getting her Jetta appraised. I hope VW Credit doesn’t pull an Audi on her car though.

  19. Wow, I am in the process of trying to “de-brainwash” my wife’s archaic belief that if you can’t purchase the car, then you can’t afford the car….We currently have a 2011 Honda Accord that is financed & a 2000 Nissan Pathfinder that is owned free & clear, but we are expecting our first baby in March & I want to get my wife a new car….With the current payment on the Honda, we can only afford about $250/mo payment, however if we trade in both vehicles & lease 2 vehicles, we will be able to upgrade her SUV & I can get in something a little more fun than a baseline Honda Accord…I have spent the last week or so researching & educating myself on leases and how to negotiate a lease and what to look for to keep from getting ripped off, then today I stumbled across your site & all I can say is thank you!! I had no idea you could trade in a leased vehicle and actually have positive equity (by the way, I am a finance guy & your use of the term equity was correct, it’s just a matter of whether that equity is positive or negative). I have built a spreadsheet that compares the value of leasing to the value of buying & until I learned about the potential to trade in or have the lease bought out before expiration it was looking like buying was the right way to go because the intrinsic value (in this case the intrinsic value is the positive equity in a purchased vehicle @ the time of lease expiration minus the amt of money saved in lease payments over the course of the lease) always seemed to lean towards purchasing a vehicle. Now I can do away with my intrinsic value calc & just focus on bottom line savings….

    Anyway, I look forward to reading your blogs from here on out & hope I can glean some good savings tips!

    • @cking. Thank you for your comments! I think that the Pathfinder probably needs to be upgraded. I’m not sure I would recommend trading in the Accord since you are financing it and it’s a 2011 model. Year 1 and 2 of your lease/loan typically incur the highest depreciation, so trade/selling the Accord now would probably incur a loss. I would say about 2.5 years into your lease/financed purchase, you may be able to break even or get a little bit of positive equity. It all depends on how many miles your car has, what car it is and what condition it’s in.
      I can’t say your wife is wrong, although, it is just a more conservative look at auto ownership. My view regarding cars is simple: Buy what appreciates, lease what depreciates. However, this is a lifestyle decision. Some folks are perfectly happy buying pre-owned and driving the car until the repairs become intolerable. I For my wife and I, we both only have 1 car, therefore, we don’t have the flexibility to be “carless”. We need to have a car running at all times, so having bumper-to-bumper warranty makes sense. Plus we do not like having “unexpected” repair costs. I don’t think that leasing saves you money in the long run, unless you operate your own business. However, there are intangibles that simply outweigh buying a car (piece of mind, latest tech & safety, predictable auto costs, etc…) for me.
      From a financial perspective, there are other things other than payments to consider. Such as registration & insurance (older cars typically have lower registration costs). Another thing about insurance is that leases require higher insurance coverage, although, if you own a home, you probably want to go no lower than 100/300/50 coverage. Anyway, I will probably need to do an insurance blog post pertaining to leases because that’s generally overlooked when assessing overall cost of a lease.

      Thanks again for your comments! It’s always great to hear folks turning to leasing.

  20. I called VW credit today about trading in the wife’s Tiguan to CarMax. I was told that the residual price (buyout) if I purchased it would remain the same as stated in the contract ONLY if I purchased it fro VW Credit. If I were to trade it in to CarMax they would do a “market adjustment” for the current condition of the car. In other words… it looks like you can’t profit from VW leases.

  21. G,
    I’m gonna say first that you have a great website. My parents have always bought their cars and just started leasing after our last car ended up being a money pit. Anyway car dealerships are always appalled at how much I (a 19 year old college student) know about leasing cars. In fact, I got my dad such a great deal with his car, his friends started asking me to go around with them and negotiate deals.

    Anyway, here is the dilemma
    I have a 2010 Acura TSX base and take GREAT care of it. I got it detailed a few months ago and I rotate the tires every 5,000 miles, use synthetic oil, and use only premium 93 gas. I have 19k miles on it right now with minor scratches on the trunk lid and one missing key. The payout is 22k and all the calculators i’ve been using suggest I could break-even by trading in.

    The reason I want to trade in is because my lease term was for 10k miles and i’m going way over – I started my lease in April 2010.

    Do you think I could break even at a dealership? Acura/Honda does not let you transfer leases without getting your name off a lease… so that option is off the list.

    I am shopping around for a
    1. VW CC 2.0T
    2. Audi A4 2.0T premium plus (prob. off the list horrible lease deals)
    3. BMW 328xi
    4. Acura TSX again
    (I saw your wife was shopping for some similar cars) so could you recommend a good car to go test drive and a good way to break even or maybe profit a little off my lease?

    • @AJ. Thanks AJ. Glad you like the site. It’s always great to hear folks getting killer deals with the info on this site.
      I think the best way to find out if your TSX is worth at least the payoff is to take it in for an appraisal. Go to Carmax if you have one nearby. Otherwise, go to and appraise your car in “GOOD” condition. That will probably come close to what Carmax would give you. That should be the ballpark you can use to negotiate with your dealer. Remember, keep your deals separate. Makes it easier to know what you’re getting.

      As for what car to get, I would be extremely cautious with VW and Audi. Word is that VW credit doesn’t seem to like it when people trade-in their cars to terminate leases. So they charge the buying bank “market value” for the car you are trading in. Seems unfair, but that’s been a common problem for a lot of Audi/VW lessees lately.

      Of the bunch, I’d take the TSX again. A4 is underpowered and overpriced. The CC is cheap to lease but the trade-in issue is a concern. The BMW is nice, but you will pay a premium. Folks say that the “free maintenance” is worth the extra money, but I don’t really see it that way. I probably spend no more than $100 a year on maintenance on each car, so that’s really not much money.

  22. G-Love the site. Always come here when i need a lease question answered. Thanks for all the info!

    I have a lease that I structured as a 1-pay or “pre-paid” with MB financial, to avoid paying all of the interest. I’m about 18 mos in on a 36 mo lease, and based on the KBB value of my car, less my payoff, i have about $15k of equity in it. I’m growing bored of my car and given that I seem to be in a position where i wouldn’t lose any money (comparing proposed monthly payments to actual based on the unrecoverable portion of the pre-payment), I’d like to take my equity off the table and start a new lease with another company. The key things i want to accomplish are:

    1. I don’t want to roll my equity into the new lease. I just want a check for $15k.
    2. i want to get into a new lease at market terms, as if it is a separate transaction.
    3. I’d like to get a credit for the NY sales tax i paid on the $15k of equity that i am recovering…is there any way to roll that into the next deal?

    Any thoughts on this would be greatly appreciated.

    • @JM. Always glad to have you!
      Here is what I know:

      1) That’s not going to be a problem. When you sell your car, the dealer will always give you an option to either cut you a check or roll it into the new lease. I would personally opt to spend some of that money to pay for drive-off costs and pocket the rest. But that all depends on the interest rate you are being charged.

      2) That’s not going to be a problem either. It is always wiser to keep the trade-in and the new lease as separate deals. I do recommend negotiating the new lease first THEN deal with the trade-in.

      3) This part is a bit tricky because I don’t know how NY handles sales taxes that are prepaid (I live in CA and we pay ours monthly). Speak to your dealer’s finance guy about this. He/she might know. Otherwise, call DMV to see if they can give you an answer. I know some states do give you a credit, just not sure if NY is one of them.

  23. Hi,

    I have a 2009 G37x Sedan @ 22500 miles. I’m in my 24th month of my 36 months lease with 10k/year.

    I quoted IFS and they gave me $29k payoff price.
    I went to KBB and it gave me $25k for private party and $23k for trade-in value.

    Does KBB usually spot on with the estimate?

    I would love to go to Carmax but they do not have a store located in NYC area.

    Is it the best time to do this trade-in near the end of the lease term?

  24. @jimmy. If you are going to trade in the car, you cannot use “Private Party” as the estimate. You have to use “Trade-In” and “Good” condition. No car is considered “EXCELLENT” as a trade-in.

    I personally use the estimator at It has proven to be accurate within $500 if appraised as I suggested (see above).

    The best time to go is about three months before you lease expires. If you go too late, the bank may not allow you to trade it in. If you go too soon, the depreciation may be too much that your payoff will far exceed your trade-in value. I think 24 months may be a bit too early. I recommend waiting another 6-months and then start getting some appraisals from dealers.

    Lastly, if you notice what I wrote about the trade-in, you have to be under your average miles. The car has to be detailed, with little to no signs of excessive wear-n-tear. Not everyone can get equity on their cars, so don’t count on it. As long as you can unload the car early while only taking on a reasonable loss (say, around what you owe at lease-end in disposition fees and possible wear-n-tear costs) then it’s worth doing it.

  25. G,

    Question here: I’m trying to get into a new Volvo S60 T5. I have two months left now on my 2009 Audi A3 lease and my A3 is worth about $21,000. My lease payoff amount is $16,220. The Volvo dealer was going to take the car on trade and was giving me $3495 towards the new Volvo as the difference between the payoff and the value of the car. This was fine by me for convenience sake but now Audi Financial is claiming a payoff amount of $23,000 for the A3 if it’s the Volvo dealer that attempts to payoff the difference. They’ll only let me pay it off at $16,220. Would my best bet be to get a bank loan for the A3 and then use it as a trade in at the Volvo dealer, take the value they give me for the car to pay off the new loan and then apply what’s left to the new lease? Any other way around this?

    • @nick. The only way I know of is by buying the car then selling it. But you will be liable for the taxes. VW Credit and AFS are a pain to deal with when it comes to early termination trade-ins. I’m facing the same issue right now with my wife’s Jetta. It is likely that this will be our last Audi/VW. Not very fond of their methods.

  26. Nick,

    I just traded in the wife’s Tiguan to VW and got $1500 in equity towards a new VW along with gettinganother $500 loyalty and waiving the $350 termination fee. As G said VW/Audi won’t let you get equity in a lease without going through them. You’re stuck paying off the car/registering/taxes and reselling it. It might be worth the hassle if you have the patience to do it. I didn’t. I leased a VW Golf 4dr w/convenience for $285 month including all taxes/fees and window tint and no first month payment. Funny I saw the $399 Volvo sign and drive lease deal and was tempted too.


    I checked out Honda and the dealer told me VW/Audi, Mazda and Ford are the only ones that are tightwads with lease equity. I can only vouch for VW though. Never heard about Mazda or Ford doing this but it is possible. Be sure to check Volvo to see if they pull this stunt. i think they are still part of Ford so be sure to check this out before signing anything.

    Happy New Year all!

  27. I am so glad I found this site. I have a question that I can’t seem to get an answer to. In December, I leased a 2012 Lexus RX Hybrid. I like it well enough, except for the way it handled in snow. We didn’t have a lot of snow this year, but I am wondering if I went to a Volvo dealer with such a new lease (or Acura) and tried to get out of the Lexus would the dealer assist me in getting out of the Lexus lease, or am I stuck with this car till the lease is older?

    • @Mary. Welcome to the site. Regarding your new lease, there are only two ways you can really unload the car:
      1) Find someone who is willing to buy it from the bank.
      2) Trade it in to a dealer.
      3) Use a 3rd party Lease Trading service to find someone to assume your lease.

      Option #1 is tough because you would have to find a buyer and that could take some time. Since the car is so new, you will probably take a huge hit financially.

      Option #2 is a quicker way out of the lease, but you will lose even more money money due to depreciation (it’s highest in the 1st year), not to mention the fact that trade-ins usually net a LOWER sale price than private sales.

      Option #3 has proven to work for some, but it may require that you give some cash incentives to entice people to assume your lease.

      I think your best bet is Option #3 OR keep the car for about two and a half years, then look at a trade in. I think because you have a hybrid, resale value should be fairly reasonable 2 years down the road.

      If you have more questions, don’t hesitate to post them.

  28. I have a question- I’m thinking of getting an Audi but I see you can’t sell it out of the lease. So my question is how can Audi inflate the residual when it’s already in the contract? If your maturity date is less than a month away why won’t Audi let you sell it to say Carmax?

    • @bryan. the residual is in the contract assuming that you buy it. If it’s a dealer buying it, then it doesn’t apply. I have heard different reasons for this, but the most logical one is that Audi wants to retain your leased vehicle and sell it as a “certified preowned” since that’s a booming market nowadays.

  29. I’m getting conflicting information. When trading in my lease (obviously with a payoff), does the dealer pay the payoff quote given to me as the leaseholder or does he pay a lesser amount (perhaps minus sales tax)? Thanks. Great site!!

    • @dantanna. Dealer-bank transactions usually don’t involve takes. They simply take what you owe, minus what they are willing give your for your trade in. If there’s negative equity, you would have to pay for the difference to the dealer. If there’s positive equity, the dealer will simply cut you a check. There are instances where the dealer’s payoff is actually lower than your payoff. They would then pocket the difference between what they pay the bank and what you actually owe. Of course, if you have VW/Audi as your lender, the non-Audi/VW dealer would need to pay a premium to get you off the lease.

  30. Interesting… I still have about 5 months on my lease and couple of weeks ago I called VW Finance for a payoff quote on my 2010 CC. I seriously considered leasing or buying a Volvo S60 T5. I did mention that I may trade the car to a non-VW dealer and was told that payoff amount would be the same for any dealer. They actually told me that if I were to buy the car, it would cost me a few hundred more, than selling it to a dealer. Go figure. But I think don’t really have any equity in the car based on a trade-in value which exactly matches my payoff quote.

    I did, however, got around $900 equity on my wife’ 2009 Subaru Forester even though the residual was very high – 62% after 3 years. We bought another one for her from the same dealer.

    • Really? I checked my wife’s VW account and it does say the payoff for non-vw dealer is much higher than our own payoff. Actually if you can break even, its okay too. VW has a disposition fee of around $350 or so.

      • Hm… Just called again and asked specifically about non-VW dealers. Rep told me the payoff would be the same for a Toyota dealer and VW dealer. She said that non-VW dealers call her all the time and she gives out the same quote. I think that dealers might be playing games to not take the car or just low ball the buyers. Kind of “we have to pay more for your car to VW, so you don’t get any cash back”. If there is not at least $3-4K to be made on the trade-in, they won’t do it.
        I checked my VW account and did not see anything about higher payoff. Where did you find it?
        Yeah, I’d be happy to break even on VW. Doesn’t hold value like a Subaru.

        • I’ll double check with my wife. I forgot her password and she’s in Pittsburgh for the week. I do think you should try to unload the VW though, specially if you break even. Have you thought about what to get next?

          • I said it in my original post 🙂 Volvo S60 T5. The lease is attractive now, so as financing. But I had to put it on hold and don’t know what the deals will be in a few months. My current lease is up at the end of October and it’s a bad timing. There won’t many 2012’s to choose from and few 2013 with no incentives and/or low MF.
            Second choice is Passat 3.6, but again – leases will be bad in October.

          • G, I finally was able to figure this issue out. Called VW Finance for a quote again and was told what you guys were talking about here: that I can’t get dealer’s payoff quote and that the dealer needs to call and NEGOTIATE payoff with them. I then told the rep what I posted here before – that I was given a payoff quote for a non-VW dealer. She put me on hold and then said that originally I was given the correct info based on my state which happens to be the state of VW’s US headquarters. So, I’m in luck and my Volvo dealer’s payoff = my payoff minus $350 purchase fee.

          • You sir, are VERY lucky! That really gives you a lot better options at lease end. I pretty much I have to tough it out until February and still play that stupid disposition fee. Bleh.

        • Oh yeah that’s right. I actually like that car. I haven’t gotten Volvo numbers in a few months, but they were looking pretty darn good. I think Oct isn’t too bad for 2012s. Is your last payment in Oct? or is that when you turn in the lease? If your last payment is in Sept, then you could technically start shopping early.

          • My last payment in the beginning of October, lease technically ends on Nov 2nd, so I’ll need to turn it in (or trade it to skip disposition fee) by the end of October. VW will probably waive if I get a Passat.
            From what I know on S60 T5 – MF .00017 and residual 57%/10K miles. There is also $1K conquest or loyalty on top of possible $1K under invoice. On a $36-37K MSRP it would’ve been around $380-390 including tax and acquisition fee. I may just order 2013 and see what kind of deals will be available.

          • I think the Passat is a bigger car, but the S60 is much sportier. If I had to pick, I’d go with the S60. I would definitely try to order one a few months in advance, you can get special combinations of options that you normally can’t get with a car that’s on the lot. Check out Nick’s S60 on the Wall.

          • Taking CC to my Volvo dealer this weekend for a $400-500 equity and getting a loaner until my “black stone/black, climate, premium, port installed sport appearance package, dealer installed 17″ Njord wheels” S60 gets off the boat at the end of the month. 36 months/12K miles lease should be just under $400 including tax and acquisition fee (agreed on $995 in exchange for no charge wheels I wanted).

          • Jealous! Send me picks of your S60 when you pick it up!

          • Will do. But how? 🙂 You should have my email. Or is there another way?

  31. Loaded Passat 3.6 SEL Premium is under $34K and yes, it’s bigger. But VW doesn’t offer great deals on residuals and MF. In October 2009 my 2010 CC just came out and had only 54% for 10K miles and MF corresponding to 2.9%, I believe. So, now I’m paying on my CC Sport about the same as I could pay now for a $36K S60. And I do like Volvo’s – before CC I only had Volvo’s. Sportier? 🙂 Well, Geely wants you think this way, but it’s not. Definitely a great looking car though.

    I read about Nick’s S60 a while ago.

  32. G,

    Leasing Strategy Question…. I lease a Honda and a Nissan… both car companies always want to put me into a new lease before my current lease is over…. usually with 18-12 months to go..

    If I know beforehand that I am going to get into a new lease before my current lease ends, doesn’t it make sense to just setup my leases for the 10k miles/year? This would keep my payment lower and I don;t have to worry about paying for over mileage because I will be in a new lease anyway always around the 2 year mark. To me it makes more sense than paying for extra miles.


    • Jon, it depends on what they plan to do to get you out of your existing lease. The fine print is typically “negative equity may be applied”. Most “pull-ahead” programs do not waive leases that still have over 12 payments left.

  33. My current case is a little different so I’m looking for your advice. I leased a 2009 Subaru Impreza Outback Sport for 36 mos/45,000 miles. Our plans changed so Subaru let me keep the car 2 extra months by continuing the same payment. During those 2 months, we had tire issues and ended up buying 4 new tires. Also, mileage is 34,000. AutoTrader gave me a 48-hour price of almost $15,000. My buyout is $12,600 plus $350 disposition fee. I do not plan to replace the car so I can’t trade it in.

    Do I just bring it to a few Subaru dealers to see if any of them will give me more than $12,600? If they won’t, can I “sell” the car to one of the Autotrader/CarCash type companies even though I don’t really own the car?

    • Yes you can sell the car to Autotrader. In fact, when answering their questions it asks if your title is free and clear and they handle leases, they willmjust need your payoff info. That’s some nice positive equity… Do you really think a Subaru dealer would give you more?

      • Jon

        Thanks for the reply.

        Some additional: The car has one deep dent in the RF quarter panel. I got a $1300 estimate from a dealer to fix it. However, the car was just inspected and I was given an estimate of $1,100 to repair all dings and dents. My contract allows for $1,000 for “normal” wear and tear, but excludes dents as they are not considered “normal.” I really don’t know what that means.

        The only reason I thought a Subaru dealer might give me more than the Autotrader is Autotrader’s list of buyers includes Subaru dealers. By going directly to them, maybe they wouldn’t have to pay the Autotrader cut.

        Another reason to bring it to a dealer is you can see how much they are asking for similar cars. My local dealer was asking $18,000 for a similar car so I think getting around $14,000 for my car with $1,000 worth of dents is not unreasonable.

        I am pretty sure if you just drop the car off at the dealer, it might be too late for him to buy it.

        I’m posting here because I don’t know if any of my thoughts are correct. I just hate the idea of having to pay for repairs and a disposition fee when I’m 10,000 miles below the allowable.

  34. I have a 2011 Nissan Maxima that is leased through NMAC. I got it appraised at Carmax and was going to sell it to them. While doing the paperwork I was stopped and told we could not proceed as Nissan leases can only be traded in at a NIssan dealership. I contacted Nissan and they confirmed this…..

    Was your Infinity leased through NMAC or another leasing company?
    Any suggestions?

    • My Infiniti was leased through IFS. I find that a bit odd, but the bank is within it’s right to do this. Maybe this is a new trend. VWC and AFS have been doing it for some time, this is actually the first time I have heard NMAC doing this. Unfortunately, I can’t think of an alternative to this other than buying the car out and selling it privately, but that’s not worth the money or the hassle.

  35. Okay, I desperately need some help. I leased a 2011 Honda Civic LX Sedan in February of 2011. My lease is up February 2014. Getting a lease was a BIG mistake considering that I now drive 100 miles a day/four days a week to get back and forth to college. Also, I live high up on a mountain and the snow is ridiculous when it comes around (like now). I am not receiving the great gas mileage that these Civics are praised with. I would like to get out of the lease and rather finance say, a used Volkswagen Jetta TDI from a local dealership. I really do not want to pay mileage fees and wear & tear (even though there isn’t any) and I do realize that I would end up totally upside down if I decided to do anything. I just need a commuter car that gets better mileage than my Civic and drives halfway decent in bad weather (beware of Civic in this case). Once again, I desperately need help considering I’m a college kid who really got stuck in a bind.

    • Sorry sorry to hear that Jeremy. Breaking a lease is usually really difficult to do without losing a good chunk of change. I’d If you still have a decent amount of miles left on your lease, I would recommend going to a lease swapping website to see if you can find someone to assume your lease. The other option to bit the bullet and take a hit and rolled negative equity into the TDI you plan to get. Just makes sure they appraise the civic as a trade in instead of rolling in your unpaid payments into your new loan.

      On a different note, it seems to me you are a more concerned with the excessive miles you are driving and the mpg. You also mention the issues with snow. I have never driven the civic and the tdi in snow so I am not sure how they compare. I do know Jettas drive very well in normal conditions tho. Anyway, since buying out the Civic isn’t an option (to avoid going over your miles), I would recommend the two options I suggested. Try swapping out of the lease. If you can’t or takes too long, then just trade it in and get the TDI. Be sure to shop the civic around to get the best deal.

    • Can’t you just sell the car? All you need to do is payoff Honda Financial Services. I don’t think they have a clause stating you can’t do that – as Nissan does. Keep in mind you may have some negative equity. FYI the newly designed Civic comes out end of the month.

  36. G- my lease is up in a few months, but the car i want won’t be released until late 2013. Have you ever seen a situation where a dealer will give you a short term deal on a car while you wait for the new one to come out?? any other thoughts on how to accomplish this would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

    • JM, it is not uncommon for certain dealers to assist their customers in extending their existing leases if they order their next vehicle through them. If your lease is up in a few months and you need like a 6 month lease or more…that might be tough. But you should check with your dealer for those type of options.

        • That’s probably going to be tough, offers like this are normally extended to existing customers. To be honest, I really don’t see a very good scenario that will allow you to lease a car for 6 months and then dump it for something else by year end. Typically, if there’s a little bit of overlap, you would have the option of trading the old lease in early. But that just doesn’t seem like the case here.

          Anyone else faced this situation before?

          • I am currently in a Sonata lease with hyundai Motor Finance that ends in April. New 2014 Sonata is due out in June/July. Only way they will extend my lease 3-4 months is if i have a confirmed purchase order for the new car. verbal won’t cut it.

          • G, I extended my leases at least twice (maybe 3 times) with Volvo for 3 and 6 month. It was done directly with the lender, without any dealer involvement. The good thing is that even with 6 month extension they allowed to end that extension early with a notice.

          • And also there was no obligation to get another Volvo…

  37. G, I got a dilemma. I am in a 36 month lease for a 2011 g37 convertible. Residual is $32028, trade in is $35320 and I owe about $33k. Problem is I did 9 msd’s that total $5400, so if I want to get that back, I would need to sell the car for $39k. I have about 14 months left to my lease. Any chance I can break even and get my msd’s back. I would run out the lease but really don’t like the new q50 and i love the g37 sedan so want to lease a 2013. Msrp for that is $45k but invoice is $41k. I am afraid if I let my lease run out the 2013’s will be gone and I won’t have any options but looking at another car or buying used.


    • Matt, unless you plan to buy a 2013 G37 sedan, I really don’t see this being worth the hassle. You do have a lot of equity since the car has low miles, but you also have a lot of cash tied up in a lot of MSDs. If you lease the G37 sedan, you will be face with the same dilemma in three years. You are really paying for the luxury to postpone your decision more than anything. If I were in your shoes, I’d finish up the current lease, get the MSDs back and lease something else. Then again, the looks of the Q50 may grow on you when you see it in person and might want to get one. I’d say be patient and see how it works out. The tech in this gen’s G37s is getting a bit out dated anyway, so the Q50 might not be such a horrible thing.

  38. Forgot to mention my lease is a 15k mi lease per year and has only 16k now when it should have close to 30k. Car is an auto with premium, navigation and sport packages. Black obsidian with stone interior.

  39. Na, won’t like the q50. I think what I will do is put the car up for sale. If I can sell it and break even, then will look at the g sedan. If not, then may hold out and run the lease out and look at getting a used m45 sport.

    • Matt, make sure you talk to IFS about this. IFS will likely need to approve the sale of their property to another non-dealer party. Please refer to this post on how one of my readers was able to sell his lease with the help with his dealer to another private party.

  40. Need advice. Friend bought a new wrx and I fell in love with it and did something I regret a lot. I leased a 2013 Subaru wrx premium for 28k put 3k down for a lease of 3.5yrs.The pay off is around 26k. I have had it for a month and put 700 miles on it and want out. Love to drive it but it is just giving me tons of anxiety. Could I sell it carmax etc And get the payoff being its so new and has no miles on it? Or possibly trade it in for a used Tacoma? It Would suit my needs much better being I work construction and constantly stress getting in my wrx dirty. Any help appreciated,thanks much.

    • Drew, sorry to hear about this. This sucks. Unfortunately, trading in a case this early in the lease means you lose a HUGE chunk of the value right off the bat. Highest level of depreciation typically occurs during the first year, then starts to tail off a bit as you near the 3rd year. You could try Carmax to see what you can get, but I just not so sure you would even break even. Its worth a try to see if its even possible. Trading in cars usually will be a good $2k less than what you could get as a private sale. The problem is that you will need to run it by the bank and arrange a buyer. Then see if the bank is willing to help facilitate the transaction. Give that a try and let me know what the bank says.

  41. HELP!

    I’m hoping that someone can point me in the right direction. I leased a Honda CRV from the dealership about two years ago and I have about 9 months left on my lease. The dealership is hounding me (a call every week and multiple emails) to trade it in and upgrade my car because they are “desperate for preowned CRV’s”. I haven’t responded and truth be told our family really wants to upgrade to an Odyssey. It seems like I have some leverage here but I’m new to leasing and I have no idea what my options are. Any advice is helpful. How does trading in a leased car even work? Should I mention that I want to upgrade? Negotiate the price of the Odyssey first? What should my approach be to keep the cheapest car and the most value?


    • Hi Mike, glad to have you on the site. I get those “we are desperate for your preowned vehicle” calls, emails and flyers every time my lease is within 10 months of it’s maturity. If you want an Odyssey, simply take your CRV to the dealership and have it appraised as a trade-in to see how much it’s worth. Negotiate your Odyssey and the trade-in separately. Don’t mention you want to upgrade. Just say you are not opposed to keeping the CRV (even if you don’t want to keep it). Trading in a lease is the same as trading in any car. They appraise it and give you a value. Then you just have to see if you owe more or less than that value on your loan. If the appraised value is higher, then you get the difference. If you owe more, then you pay the difference. It is always good practice to keep the two transactions separate.

  42. I have a 2012 Hyundai Sonata GLS with a lease that matures at the end of July 2014. I only have 5400 miles on it (with a total 36,000 mileage allowed). I need to get out of the lease because we are having a third baby in October 2013 and 3 car seats won’t fit in this car. I think I have some value in the car above residual with such low mileage. I don’t hear good things about Hyundai Motor Finance with buying out lease early (please correct me if I am wrong) or allowing lease swaps, however. What is my best option to at least not get taken and maybe even take advantage of my equity? And we won’t be getting another Hyundai to trade it in to them.

    • Jocelyn, I can almost guarantee that you will have positive equity if you try to trade the car in (you barely have any miles on it). Lease swaps are a tricky issue and many banks don’t like it, so I would recommend that you try to trade the car in and try to squeeze as much of the positive equity you have on the car. I haven’t hard much about HMF so I can’t comment on whether it can be done or not. I would take it to the dealer you are working with for your next car and see if they would appraise it. Another option is to check with CarMax if you have one near you. They will be able to tell you what their buyout is and cut you a check for the difference between that and the appraisal. Overall, the process is pretty much the same no matter who you go to for the trade in. The main thing to keep in mind is that you want to trade the car in and want an appraisal of the vehicles value. Good luck!

      • Thanks. Those are the steps I thought I should take – thanks for the confirmation so I can stop researching it!

        • Not a problem! please check in with me and let me know how the trade-in went. I’m sure the information can be valuable to others who are looking to do the same. Thanks!

  43. I just got a leased a 2013 audi a week ago. Some rear ended me. It has 290 miles on it. I would like to know whether I can take it ack to the dealer and get into another vehicle without losing so much? The bumper has been damaged.

    • Unfortunately, the saying “a car loses 25% of it’s value as soon as it’s driven off the lot” is true. In your case, the accident probably shaved off more than 25%. Sorry to break the news to you, but you are guaranteed to lose thousands if you try to trade the car in so soon.

  44. I have a 2012 4dr gti vw and the residual says 13500 had the lease for a year but i want to goto a subaru or accura any suggestions what i can do paying 450$ a month on 48month lease need something a little bigger but damn gti is so fun to drive

    • All I know/read about getting out of a lease early …

      is have someone takeover your lease (lease swap or lease trader? not sure)

      or buy out the car from the lease and sell I think.

      I think you have close to 3 years left on your lease, I don’t think it’ll be easy to trade it in for another lease (from what I’ve read).

    • John, if you are only in the 1st year of your lease, you are guaranteed to be upside down. If you where about 6 months into your 2nd year and your miles were low, I think you could sell it at break even or get some equity. it all depends on the condition of the car and how many miles you got. As far as what to go with, I’d go with Acura. I am a big fan of their lease program.

  45. Hello: This question may have been answered, but I didn’t see it. I have a lease that is at the end of its term. Based on Edmunds and KBB, it’s got about 3k in equity. I tried to use the equity at a honda dealership, and that is when I learned the unfortunate news that Honda would have to pay Fair Market Value instead of the residual. ANYWAY, the question is: when I turn my VW in, are they required to give me the equity? Or do I just have to pay them another $350 disposition fee and let them reap the benefits?

    PS I despise VWF.

    • hi mary, sorry took me so long to get back to you. I am told that if you are within 3 months of your lease maturity, any non-VW dealer will have to pay market value for it. This has been a big issue with VW leases. It is probably best to just put as many miles you can on the car before its due and pay the $350 disposition fee. that’s what I did with my wife’s Jetta earlier this year. Time for a road trip!

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