back to articles | December 31, 2018 | Dale Peterson

Categories: Leasing a Car

Negotiating a Car Lease

How to Negotiate a Car Lease

Car leasing companies are in the business of making money. That doesn't mean they are going to resort to shady leasing practices to do so. Negotiating a car lease is a straight forward process if you are armed with information about leasing and the car you want to lease. The number one rule about negotiating a car lease is to get everything in writing. Once you have something a dealer said in writing there is no going back or changing the deal.

You are in Control of Negotiating Your Car Lease

You are the only person who signs the leasing papers. If you don't understand any portion of your contract then don't sign it. You are the only person who can decide if you are getting a fair lease price, or not. The dealer will be working to make a sell, if you are not happy and walk away from a deal they get nothing. Make sure you are armed with information before dealing with a leasing company. Remember, they negotiate leases all the time so they have an advantage which can only lessened by your knowledge.

Car Lease Negotiating Strategies

Research, research, research! The more knowledge you have about leasing and the car you want, the better position you will be in to negotiate. Study the Kelley Blue Book to get a reasonable purchase price for the car you want before you discuss leasing as an option. It's also beneficial to work with two leasing companies to lease the same kind of car. You will be able to compare each lease for the best deal.

Manufacturers typically offer the same lease program to all dealers for new cars. Ask the dealer about manufacturer rebates and incentives to lease in addition to researching potential rebates yourself. Always get the money factor and residual value of the car you want to lease in writing from the dealer to avoid surprises. Have a complete understanding of leasing terms and be comfortable using them before you begin negotiating.

Car Lease Negotiation Tips

  • If you are uncomfortable with a dealer don't negotiate with them. Ask to speak with someone else. If working your lease online, explore other companies for additional options.
  • Don't negotiate the price for the car down from the sticker price. Always begin negotiating the car price up from the dealer's cost.
  • Become fully comfortable with leasing terminology before negotiating. Let the dealer know you are knowledgeable about the leasing process.
  • The best days to negotiate a lease are weekdays or near the end of the month.
  • Always negotiate the price of the car, not the monthly payment amount. The price of the car directly affects the amount of your monthly payment.
  • All lease prices are negotiable, no matter what the dealer says.
  • Don't discuss how much you like a car during negotiation.
  • Never tell a dealer what kind of monthly payments you hope for, or can afford.
  • Know what your trade in is worth, the dealer price and the invoice price for the car you want.
  • Don't give the dealer the keys to your trade in, any kind of deposit or take a car home before a deal is made and a contract is signed.
  • Don't sign a contract or "agreement" until you are satisfied with the deal and have verified what you agreed to is actually the same as what is outlined in the contract.
  • Double check the dealer's calculations for car price, fees, interest and monthly payment amounts against your own.
  • If you find a discrepancy do not sign anything until you understand why.
  • Don't accept any extended warranties, add on services or credit insurance.
  • If you get tired, confused or feel intimidated during the negotiation, stop immediately.
  • If negotiations aren't going your way, leave or stop the process. You are in control of whether you sign a contract or not.