Check your expiring lease for value
If your car lease expires soon, there might be some equity in it, especially if you’ve rolled up fewer miles than expected due to the pandemic. Finance companies are good at predicting what a vehicle will be worth at the end of a lease in normal circumstances, but no one could foresee today’s rising used vehicle values.
So it’s worth appraising your leased car to see if you get an offer greater than the residual value on your lease contract, minus any remaining payments. The process can seem complicated because the vehicle technically belongs to the finance company. But essentially the dealership is buying the vehicle on your behalf, keeping the vehicle to sell later, and then handing you a check for the difference it had appraised for. The dealership will still be able to make money on your car later, so it’s a win-win situation. But not all lease companies allow this type of transaction, so make sure you check before proceeding.
Keep the trade-in negotiations separate
A vehicle purchase involves many moving parts, and overlooking the value of your trade-in is a mistake that’s easy to make. In the heat of the moment you might be so focused on the selling price of the vehicle you want to buy that you fail to give the trade-in offer a proper assessment.
Handling the trade-in aspect separately can help ensure that you are getting the best overall deal. Edmunds also recommends ignoring the outdated advice of mentioning your trade-in at the last minute. Instead, make sure you get a firm trade-in offer before you even set foot in the dealership.