Early Lease Termination: Sell, Swap, or Buy

Black Lamborghini

Black Lamborghini

When leasing a car, the contract specifies the length of the lease agreement, and it is expected that the lessee will maintain the lease for the agreed-upon period. However, life is unpredictable, and circumstances may arise that require the lessee to terminate the lease early. In such situations, there are typically three options: selling the car, swapping the lease with another person, or buying out the lease. Each of these options has its advantages and disadvantages, and it is crucial to consider the factors involved to make the best decision. This article explores the details of each option, including the benefits and drawbacks of selling, swapping, or buying out a car lease early. It also discusses important factors that must be considered to help readers make an informed choice.

Option 1: Sell your car to a dealer

When it comes to early lease termination, selling your car to a dealer is one of the most common options. This involves selling the car back to the dealership from which it was leased. The dealership will then pay off the remaining lease balance and deduct the value of the car from the amount owed. This option can be an attractive choice for many lessees who are looking for a quick and easy way out of their lease agreement.

One of the advantages of selling your car to a dealer is that it can be a hassle-free process. Since the dealership is already familiar with the car, it can quickly assess its condition and value. This means that the transaction can be completed relatively quickly, and you can move on to other things.

Another advantage of selling your car to a dealer is that it can help you avoid some of the fees associated with early lease termination. These fees can add up quickly and significantly increase the cost of terminating your lease early. By selling your car to a dealer, you can avoid many of these fees, and in some cases, the dealership may even offer incentives to make the process more attractive.

However, there are also some disadvantages to consider. One of the main disadvantages is that you may not get the best value for your car. Dealerships will often offer a lower price than what you could get by selling the car yourself, as they need to make a profit when they resell it. This means that you may not get the best return on your investment.

Another disadvantage is that you may be limited in your options when selling your car to a dealer. You will be limited to the dealerships that are willing to buy back your lease, which could be limited depending on your location and the make and model of your car.

Option 2: Buy your car, sell it yourself

If you’re considering ending your lease early, you may have the option to buy out the lease and keep the car. This early buyout price is predetermined in most lease contracts and can be paid either with ready cash or by taking out a loan.

When considering lease buyout options, it’s important to consider the potential benefits and drawbacks of each option. Many auto refinancing lenders offer lease buyout loans, which may allow you to borrow more than the car’s book value.

While selling your car to a private party may bring in a higher price than trading it in or selling it to a dealer, it can take time and require some investment in advertising to find a buyer. Ultimately, the decision to buy out your lease will depend on your financial situation and whether owning the car is the best option for you in the long term.

Option 3: Buy your car and keep it

If you’re looking to lower your monthly payments on a leased car, a lease buyout loan may be an option worth considering. However, it’s important to keep in mind that taking out a loan to lower your payments means extending your financial commitment.

While your leasing company may offer lease buyout financing, you can also explore options with auto refinancing lenders. Some lenders may be willing to loan you more than the car’s value if your buyout price exceeds its worth. It’s important to carefully consider the terms and interest rates of any loan before making a decision, as it will impact your financial situation in the long run. Ultimately, the decision to use a lease buyout loan should be based on what is best for your individual circumstances and financial goals.

Option 2: Swap your lease

According to Scot Hall, the executive vice president of Swapalease, a popular lease-trading site, most lease contracts allow you to transfer the remainder of the lease period to another person. These sites, including Swapalease and its competitor LeaseTrader, help you find someone who is willing to assume the remaining payments on your lease.

As Hall explains, these sites act like dating services for car leases, matching up people who want to exit their lease with those looking to take over a lease. For a fee of around $75 to $100, you can post the terms of your vehicle’s lease on these sites, and experts from the site will ensure that the paperwork is completed accurately. However, before you pursue this option, it’s crucial to check your lease contract to confirm whether it allows for transfer to another party.

To make your offer more attractive to potential lease-takers, you may need to offer incentives or put up some cash of your own. Incentives can range from a few months of payments to several thousand dollars for higher-end models with larger payments. Ultimately, the decision to offer incentives should be based on your financial situation and whether it makes sense to pay cash upfront to get out of the lease.

Alternatively, you could consider asking a trusted family member or friend to take over the monthly payments on your lease. It’s important to ensure that auto insurance still covers the vehicle and to have a clear understanding of who will pay for any excess wear and tear at the end of the lease.


In conclusion, when circumstances arise that require an early termination of a car lease, there are three options: selling the car to a dealer, buying out the lease and selling the car yourself, or swapping the lease with another person. Selling to a dealer can be quick and hassle-free, but may not get you the best value. Buying out the lease and selling the car yourself can bring in a higher price, but requires investment in advertising and time. Swapping the lease with another person can be an option, but incentives may need to be offered to make the offer more attractive. Whipflip.com can be a useful platform to facilitate lease swapping or even buying a used car. Ultimately, the decision should be based on your individual circumstances and financial goals. [you can check the value of your at Edmunds check their website for more details]