Terminating a lease early

You may want to terminate your lease early due to a life changing event or the desire for a different car. It can be difficult and it can be expensive. Here’s my advice on how to handle the situation.

The first thing you need to do is determine your lease payoff. Call the lender and ask them what it is. They will probably give you a number that includes sales tax. Ask them if they can also give it to you without sales tax.

Next, determine your vehicle’s market value. Visit one of the websites in our Internet
Resources section or look at the current asking price of similar vehicles in the classifieds, online or offline.

Your Options
1) The most popular option is to pay off the lease and sell the vehicle to someone else. This is the reason you need the market value. In most cases you will find that the payoff is higher than what you can sell it for. This puts you in a negative equity situation where you will have to make up the difference out of your own pocket. I’ve listed some websites in the Internet Resource section that may help you sell your car.

When working with a dealer to get you out of your lease and into another car, know all the numbers and where they come from before signing anything.

2) Another option is to try and find someone to assume your lease. Another person can make your payments and assume the responsibility of the lease agreement. This option is relatively new and not all lenders allow it.

This option works well if your vehicle is under the allotted miles of the lease agreement. You may also have to provide some monetary incentive for someone to consider assuming your lease. Only consider this option if the assumption alleviates you from all liability of the original lease.

There are some websites that assist with this service and I’ve listed them in the Resources Links of this Blog.

3) If you decide to continue the lease you may be able to lower your payment by refinancing it with more favorable terms using a service like LowerMyLease.com.

Something you should absolutely NOT do is drop off your car at the bank or dealer and stop making your payments. It will go against your credit as repossession and it will be years before most good lessors will consider you for another lease or loan.
Again, do NOT do this!

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