You can negotiate some aspects of a car lease, but not everything. It’s important you know what you can and can’t negotiate before you head to a dealership.
What You Can Negotiate on a Car Lease
With a lease, there are three things you can negotiate:
- Capitalized cost – This is the amount being financed with a lease. The lower the "cap cost," the lower the monthly payment. This includes the price of the vehicle and any add-ons, fees, or taxes not paid in cash.
- Trade-in – You can apply your trade-in as a cap cost reduction, and negotiate the amount you get for it.
- Documentation fee – A "doc fee" that’s set by the dealer, and covers the cost for processing the paperwork and getting the car ready. This fee shouldn’t be over $100, and you should try to negotiate a lower price if it’s more.
What You Can’t Negotiate on a Car Lease
Not everything is negotiable, and there are seven things you aren’t going to be able to negotiate:
- Money factor – In leasing terms, it’s similar to an interest rate.
- Buyout price – If you know you want to buy the vehicle at the end of the lease term, you may be able to negotiate its buyout price, but not until lease end.
- Mileage cap and charges – You can pay for additional miles if you feel you may go over the set mileage limit, but the cost of these additional miles isn’t negotiable.
- Residual value – The estimated value of the car at the end of the lease term, which is set by the lessor.
- Acquisition fee – A fee charged to arrange the lease, also called a bank or administration fee.
- Disposition fee – Fee charged by the leasing company that covers the cost of cleaning and selling the vehicle after the lease. The lessor may waive this fee if you decide to re-lease with them.
- Registration and taxes – These are set by your state and can’t be negotiated.
How to Negotiate a Car Lease
You don’t have to stick with the price of the three negotiable items listed above. Using negotiating strategies, you can get yourself a better deal. The key is to know what to say and have the numbers ready.
Before you head to a dealership, check out the average selling price by using vehicle valuation sites such as NADAguides. This way, you have an idea on where you can start negotiating the capitalized cost of the car. You should also research average interest rates on leases for consumers that fall within your credit score range.
Once you have the numbers, you can start negotiating. The key is to start low and work your way up, and don’t get stuck with add-ons you don’t need. Remember that nothing is binding, including price, until you sign the lease agreement. So, take your time, and negotiate wisely if you want the best deal possible.
The Bottom Line
Leasing is a great way to get a brand new vehicle every few years. Although it’s generally cheaper in the short run, not everyone is able to lease. Leases are reserved for consumers with the best credit, and bad credit consumers may find themselves getting turned down.
If leasing isn’t in the cards right now, but you want it to be in the future, consider taking on a subprime auto loan and let Auto Credit Express help get you started. We work with a large network of special finance dealers that are experts at getting people in unique credit situations financed for new and used cars. We can help you find a dealership near your local area if you fill out our auto loan request form.