Drivers Whose Lease Is Coming Up May Be In An Unexpectedly Advantageous Position

People whose lease is ending in 2022 should do some research before they hand their car back into the dealership, because they may be leaving thousands of dollars on the table, according to Edmunds. That’s because the skyrocketing demand for used vehicles and inflated prices are putting lessees in an unexpectedly advantageous position.

“If you’re one of the four million Americans who leased a vehicle in 2019, you could be in quite a financially advantageous position this year and not even know it,” said Jessica Caldwell, Edmunds’ executive director of insights. “Most consumers likely aren’t aware of the other options they have besides turning in their lease once it’s over, including the ability to make a profit from their vehicle.”

The outlet looked at the estimated residual values for model year 2019 vehicles and compared them to trade-in values. It found that, on average, the 2022 trade-in value for all MY2019 vehicles saw a 33 percent increase over their original estimated values. That’s an increase of $7,208 on average.

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The Lexus IS 300 was the vehicle with the highest percentage increase among luxury vehicles. It generated an average of 46 percent more than its original estimates, or an increase of $9,868. The Ford Mustang, meanwhile, was the best-performing among mainstream vehicles, generating 68 percent more than originally estimated, which amounted to $11,852.

“Unless you’ve driven an exorbitant number of miles or your vehicle has excessive wear and tear, you’re pretty much guaranteed to see an increase in value,” said Ivan Drury, Edmunds’ senior manager of insights. “The one drawback is that you’ll likely have to do a bit more legwork than in the past to take advantage of the equity in your expiring lease given that some auto manufacturers have recently placed more stringent rules on lease purchase options. But taking some extra steps will be well worth it for many, given the financial reward.”

In order to leave the smallest amount of money on the table possible, Edmunds recommends taking four steps. First, it recommends finding out exactly how much your payoff amount is, then finding out what your vehicle is worth, after which you should find out if your financing company allows third-party buyouts (other dealers may want to buy the car off you and could offer you more money to entice you), and finally you should consider buying the lease out yourself and trying to sell the vehicle for a profit.

A list of the top-performing vehicles is available Edmunds’ website and it also offers vehicle appraisals, though other companies offer the same service.

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