Why You Should Sell Your Leased Car

Laveta Brigham

By Philip Reed That leased car gathering dust in your driveway might have hidden cash in it. Dealers facing tight inventories are scrambling to buy good used cars to resell. They might be willing to purchase your leased car for more than the buyout price in your contract. “I haven’t […]

By Philip Reed

That leased car gathering dust in your driveway might have hidden cash in it.

Dealers facing tight inventories are scrambling to buy good used cars to resell. They might be willing to purchase your leased car for more than the buyout price in your contract.

“I haven’t seen used car prices go up this much in years,” says Oren Weintraub, president of car concierge service Authority Auto. “We are seeing a large percentage of leases with equity in them.”

With the pandemic reshaping the car business, experts recommend extracting that equity by selling the car outright, using it to offset the cost of returning the car or leveraging that value to make a better deal on your next car.

Where Does the Equity Come From?

Your lease payment is based on the residual value of your vehicle. This is a prediction of the car’s value at the end of the lease which, because of the pandemic, is now often too low.

This means you might be able to arrange to sell the car for the higher price, pay off the lease and then pocket the difference. It also means you could dodge over-mileage penalties or end the lease early.

For example, Scot Hall of the lease-trading site Swapalease said his wife has been working from home during the pandemic and decided she didn’t need her leased 2017 GMC Yukon Denali XL. She ended her lease six months early — saving the remaining monthly payments — and sold her SUV to a local dealer, pocketing a check for $2,500.

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