car lease
Saving Money

My Car Lease Ended. What Should I Do Now?

Shopping for a new car was once an exciting time in a driver’s life. Picking out quality trims. Adding top-of-the-line safety features. Choosing durable upholstery for your furry friend. These were the things drivers looked forward to. However, due to the ongoing chip shortage and global inflation, the days of blissful car buying are well behind us. Today, drivers are at odds with what to do. Do you keep your car for longer? Should you buy new and accept the high MSRPs? Do you buy out your current car lease? The struggle is far from over. The question is, what’s the best way to move forward?

Dive in to our advice guide on saving money after your car lease has ended. Unravel the right answer to your purchasing decision.

Does your car lease end in 2022? Here’s what you should do

In general, most off-lease models become Certified Pre-Owned cars at some point in time. What this means is a dealership will make a profit off the same vehicle once and again. In normal circumstances, this indicated instant gains for dealerships. But now that inventories are so low, automakers are starting to restrict how and where you can sell your leased vehicle to (particularly outside the same automotive brand). While this is a relatively new condition to car leasing, it’s worth looking into. Since most lease agreements last 24 to 48 months, you’ll need to read the fine print to see if this restriction applies to you.

Of course, this is only a concern if you plan to part ways with your leased vehicle. Now that used cars are in high demand, automakers want back as much inventory as possible to resell previously leased vehicles. The majority of drivers are looking for models that are under three years old and equipped with standard safety features. The spike in car prices means car buyers are expecting quality, more than ever before. In contrast to years past, drivers are not willing to overspend without some reward.

Let’s say you want to buy out your car lease

We sympathize with drivers who have no interest in paying top dollar in 2022. Which means, you probably aren’t in the market for a brand new model this year. In that case, a popular option would be to buy out your current lease. Each lease contract has a fixed residual which is the amount the automaker estimates your vehicle will be worth after the duration of the lease. Being that, lessees will not be impacted by the outrageous car prices that currently control the market.

Or…get another lease

Option B would be to trade in your current lease. Because dealers are desperate for used inventory, a number of automakers are even permitting early trade-ins.  While most lease contracts last for 36 months, a few automakers are encouraging lessees to exit their agreement early to get behind the wheel of something new. This option is specifically attractive for drivers that value a certain brand or model. In addition, you have the option to drive a brand new car with limited financial obligation.

Final thoughts

If you’re in the business of saving money, we recommend buying out your lease in 2022. This is by far the best choice if you still enjoy driving your car. On top of that, if you made your lease agreement prior to the pandemic, it’s likely you were sold an undervalued version of what exists today. This can benefit you greatly when it comes to making a savvy car buying decision. Although it’s certainly less “exciting” and doesn’t involve any fun new features to test out, buying out your lease is the better way to go.

Now it’s time to hear your thoughts. Comment below and tell us what you think drivers should do when their lease comes to an end.

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Linzi Martin
Linzi Martin has worked as a content manager, consultant, and writer for the past six years. She's handled everything from blogs and articles to e-books and social media content. Her work has been featured in various publications including Apartment Guide, The Startup, and Voyage Magazine. Outside of work, Linzi enjoys staying active, frequenting new restaurants around South Florida, and spending time with her family.

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