I am at the end of my lease, and considering buying it out. The residual price is $14000. I offered $12000. The dealer told me he can't negotiate the residual price because the car belongs to the bank, not the dealership. He explained, he would have to buy it from the bank and then sell it to me, and he could not sell it at a loss because he would have to answer to board members/partners.

Is this really how it works? I can't negotiate my buyout price? It's a 2012 Kia Optima EX with 36,785 miles.

I want to buy it but not at their price. $2000 separates us.

Please advise. Thank you all.

  • 1
    Negotiating the initial price of the car, before you sign a lease, is the important thing to do. Once you've signed the lease, you have no negotiating power (even if they could sell it to you at a different price).
    – Rake36
    Mar 31, 2015 at 16:05
  • 2
    You can't negotiate a price you've already agreed to. The buyout price is in the lease, which you signed.
    – Jesse
    Mar 31, 2015 at 17:11
  • 1
    Are these prior comments really correct? It's true the residual is contractual at the time the lease is signed, but that doesn't mean you can't discuss a different price at the end of the lease. It just means you have less, or different, leverage. The dealer could always agree to a different price if it made sense to him. Under what circumstances could it make sense?
    – davidbak
    Jun 14, 2016 at 23:09
  • No, they are not. You agreed to a price for the takeout - which the bank is bound to. If you walk away, that means they give you THAT for the car. If the car is worth less, they can insist on that (and not sell it), or take a loss (and as well sell it to you then). The market value - which they can sell for on the open market - is not determined by the lease agreement.
    – TomTom
    Sep 17, 2018 at 10:00
  • 1
    @Vality that wouldn't be a lease buyout anymore. A lease buyout is a specific option to purchase in the lease contract at an agreed price. If the OP does not want to pay that, he can simply turn the car in to the dealer and then buy it as a used car at the market price. But if he went over miles or has damage, he would have to satisfy it as part of the turn in. The lease buyout option waives over mileage and damage, but you must purchase at the locked-in lease buyout price.
    – Jesse
    May 21, 2019 at 13:40

1 Answer 1


Yes, it is negotiable, particularly if your residual price is significantly higher than the market price - after all, you can just walk away and the nbuy a similar car at a dealership for less.

In your example, if everyone offers 12k for the car - what you think the bank will do? At some point they have to eat the loss and get rid of the car. The car will not go up in value just standing on a lot.


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