We've all been there.
You lease a car that seems absolutely perfect for your needs. You can afford the monthly payment, the down payment isn't too high, and you get what seems to be a respectable interest rate. But several months or years down the year, your life changes, the car is no longer what you need, and you're desperate to get out of the lease.
That begs the question: Can you sell a leased vehicle?
The answer is a resounding yes! It's not as easy as selling a car that you own in full, but it's still a viable option and if it doesn't work out, there are alternative options available.
How to Sell Your Leased Car
Every time that you make a monthly payment you can contact the leasing company and request the buyout amount.
The buyout amount is the sum that you need to pay to purchase the car from the leasing company.
Once you make that commitment, the lease contract will end and the car will be yours to sell as you please. If you don't have the cash to clear the lease contract upfront, you can still sell your leased car by getting the money from the buyer.
If they agree to purchase the leased car from you, they just need to give you the cash and you can meet the buyout price and transfer the title to them.
Many car buying services and car dealerships will simplify this process for you and are used to dealing in leased cars.
Can You Turn in a Leased Car Early?
You can return your car to the lender before the lease contract is up, but it will cost you.
You will be hit with a sizeable termination fee as they'll expect you to cover depreciation costs throughout the lease term, as well as the difference between the "realized value” (the amount that the lease company sells the vehicle for) and the buyout price.
That might sound fairly reasonable, but these vehicles are often sold wholesale at auction, so the purchase price is below the market value.
Other Ways to Get Out of a Vehicle Lease
Other than paying the buyout price or ending the lease agreement early, the only other way to get out of your lease contract is to transfer the lease.
Most lease companies will allow you to transfer the lease to another person, but you'll still be partially liable. If the other person stops meeting those monthly payments, you will be the one forced to deal with the consequences.