The Dealer Survey

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When negotiating with car dealers over your lease price, don’t forget about one of the most valuable weapons in your arsenal, the “dealer survey.”

Once you and the dealer iron out a car lease payment (yes, car leases are negotiable), they will most likely bring up the “dealer survey.”

The dealer survey is actually a huge deal to the salesperson, so if you give them a bad score, it could affect their bottom line, and their wallet.

That said, use it against them.

It is their Achilles’ heel, and one you must exploit to ensure you get a good price on your car lease.

If they give you the runaround or aren’t upfront with anything, call them on it (before you sign the paperwork).

Mention the dealer survey – tell them you wouldn’t want to give them poor marks and they’ll quickly change their tune.

Ideally, save this trick for the end of negotiating, at the point when the dealer says he/she can’t go any lower.

This tactic should help you eek out a few more bucks on your car lease payment.

Remember, car dealers will lie to you all day long to get the sale, so you’ve got to use whatever you have to fight back and get the deal you deserve.

Obviously you have to be tactful, but let it be known that you are aware of the survey and will speak your mind if treated unfairly!

Selling Your Car to Carmax

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One great way to get out of your car lease early without having to do anything super fancy is selling your car to Carmax.

The used car superstore will gladly appraise your car for free without an appointment in a matter of minutes.

And they’ll give you a written offer the same day, valid for 7 days – that way you can mull it over before committing to anything.

If the appraisal is above your lease payoff, you’ll stand to make some money. And you can use that money for a down payment on your next lease, or to cover drive-off charges like license and registration.

How does Carmax Appraise Your Car?

Carmax appraises your car by looking at the year, make, model, mileage, interior and exterior conditions, and more (yes, you need to take your car in, no online or over the phone appraisals).

They may also test drive the vehicle to determine any mechanical issues and will run a Carfax-type report to see if there is any history of accidents or damage to the vehicle.

Obviously cars with better residual values will do better at Carmax, and if you took good care of your car and kept the miles relatively low, you could make some money above your lease payoff.

However, you’ll probably make more money selling your car to a private party, so it’s recommended that you try to sell it that way first.

Then try Carmax as a back-up.

Selling Your Car to Carmax Has Advantages

Selling your car to Carmax has some serious advantages, with the primary ones being convenience and speed.

If you do accept their offer, it only takes about 30 minutes to actually sell your car to Carmax, whereas a private party sale would probably take days if not weeks to iron out.

So yes, you could potentially sell your car to Carmax in about an hour, though the check would take a few additional days to clear, depending upon on your bank.

Just be sure to speak with your leasing company first to ensure the payoff is what you think it is, and that there won’t be any fees or penalties for selling your car.

In summary, if you’re selling your car, it’s certainly worth paying a visit to Carmax to see what they’ll offer.

It sure beats taking it back to the dealer at the end of your lease, only to find that you owe the company money for various odds and ends, such as over-mileage or dents and dings.