5 Ways to Get a Great Deal on a Car Lease
Leasing a car doesn't have to be difficult. Whether it's negotiating yourself or hiring a broker, you can get a good deal on your next lease.
While I've only had positive experiences with brokers because they do save time, money and lots of energy, I also know that it is possible to get the same deal, if not a little bit better, if you can invest some time into it. Here are some easy tips to consider when negotiating your next lease deal:
Research, especially online.
Start thinking like a broker. Research and negotiating skills are essential tools that help brokers make their money. During the research process, you can look at the dealer specials and incentives, but you can also find out what your local brokers are offering as well. I also found that the Edmunds.com discussion board is helpful in comparing what other customers have gotten on their leases for similar cars or even asking for advice. Having a baseline for negotiation will work in your favor.
You can even use the discussion forums, located at forums.edmunds.com, to ask your own questions. You just have to set up an account to start posting.
Once you've done your research, you should know what model, make, trim and options you want on your next vehicle. Locate that vehicle in your area. To save some time, you can go to Edmunds.com and search inventory under the year, make and model of the car. You can set the search to find anywhere from a 50 to 200 mile radius. Once you find the car you're looking for, you can start to ask questions of the dealer over the Internet or by phone. Ideally, you'll find more than one car that you like, so you can compare your prices and options.
Make an appointment with an Internet fleet manager.
If you've ever worked with a broker, the Internet fleet manager is the one they negotiate with. In most cases, you've already pre-negotiated over the phone with one or more dealers. Once you have an offer that's right around the ballpark figure you're looking at, it's time to pay them a visit.
Continue to negotiate.
Just think of your pre-negotiated price as a number that is very close to what you want to pay, but still not close enough. You can use many factors to negotiate. First, check if the car's been sitting on the lot longer than 90 days. You can do that by checking the manufacturer's date on the car. If it has, more than likely the dealer will be aggressive in trying to move the car. Sometime during your negotiating process, you may want to mention that you also worked with a broker in the past and you would like the pre-negotiated fee as a savings passed onto you for not going through a broker. It doesn't hurt to ask.
I've dealt with dealers who've ripped me off when I was pregnant with my first child, so I get when people automatically assume the worse when they enter a dealership. Many stereotypes and movie clips come to mind. Having said that, dealers also deal with customers who probably aren't the nicest people in the world, either.
Remember, dealers are people, too. If you've already pre-negotiated an offer, you should have a good sense of what type of person you're dealing with. Come with an open mind and if you're really close to getting the deal that you want, it doesn't hurt to tell them the perfect magic number that will close the deal. Hiding it and making them guess while wasting hours on end isn't productive for you or the dealer.
Just in case your in-person negotiations take longer than expected and you're stuck at the dealership for several hours, try to pack snacks, as well as toys for any kids you have along. If you don't feel rushed, then you can take your time and make the best choice for you and your budget.
Susan Yoo-Lee is a mother of two and will be launching her new money-savings blog, Minus the Price, later this year. You can find her on Twitter @SusanYooLee.