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My wife has a leased vehicle that is reaching the end of lease in a couple of months. She is planning on getting a lease on a new vehicle, but is over a substantial amount on the mileage (I think they should have given her the 15000 miles/year instead of 12000 miles/year). However, in researching the value of the vehicle on Edmunds, I found that the lease buyout value is less than the "trade-in" value even before accounting for the $350 trade in fee. The private sale value is listed around $2,000 more than the lease buyout, in addition to the $350 that would be saved from not having to pay the trade-in fee, and well over $1500 in over-mileage fees.

I am wondering if it makes sense to borrow money to buy out the lease, and then turn around and sell the car. From a personal finance point of view it's over $3,500 of extra money in pocket, even after accounting for a month or two of interest. But on the down side, there is some amount of work required to get the loan, and I don't know if there is even such a thing as a "lease buyout to sell the vehicle" type loan available which would be easier or less hassle on the old credit score to get. Then, there is a bit of work listing it in the usual places, and having to deal with potential buyers / scammers and the time to show the car and deal with closing the transaction. My wife and I have both sold previous vehicles we have owned in private transactions, but it has been several years. She doesn't want to do it again. I am uncertain, if for no other reason than concern whether it is as "easy" (relatively speaking) these days given the proliferation of scammers even when trying to sell low value items. Somewhere there is a risk/reward line below which I just wouldn't fool with trying to sell anything myself. But, I'm not sure where that line is, and am trying to gather more information to help me decide.

From personal finance point of view and only considering the objective facts regarding the state of private car sales these days, is the potential of a $3500 gain something I should pursue? Are there any other options I am not realizing exist which I could pursue instead to get a substantial portion of this?

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Are there any other options I am not realizing exist which I could pursue instead to get a substantial portion of this?

There are used car sellers that would allow you to bypass a lot of the hassle. They will do the paperwork and handle buying out your lease and cut you a check. The most well-known is probably CarMax but there are certainly others like them. This route seems like a good option as you can get an offer without having to secure financing or buying out your lease up-front.

If they don't make a compelling offer and you're debating your proposed approach, it's pretty much impossible for anyone but you to decide if it is worth the hassle. I'd guess private sales haven't changed much in the last several years, but if you think it might take a while to sell and/or the debt will cause stress while the vehicle is up for sale, then it might not be worth it.

  • I know if I sell to a private buyer, I can't deduct from sales tax on a new vehicle... but if I sell to a used car "lot" company does it count as a private sale for tax purposes since I'm not immediately buying a new vehicle in the same transaction (that may come before or after)? – Michael May 16 at 19:18
  • @Michael I'm not sure how that works would vary by state. – Hart CO May 16 at 19:23

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