For years, I always had the car combo favored by David Fialkow, among other locals – an older Porsche 994 C4 Cabriolet (911 to the layman) and a relatively new jeep for the winter. But Michael Bronner’s passion for lowering all of our carbon footprint lead me to ditch the jeep a year ago (I kept trying to get the higway MPG above 16, but just couldn’t do it). I tried a Lexus 400 H, but the plastic covering of the roof racks broke off under the weight of a couple of kayaks, so I it became Patty’s car.
I was interested in the BMW X3 (27 MPG highway, as fast as my Porsche and great in the snow), but felt certain that new hybrid’s and diesels would hit the dealers with 12 months and didn’t want to lock into a 2 or 3 year lease, but no-one would offer me a one year deal. In frustration, I called BMW finance and ask if they had people trying to get out of their leases. The very nice lady on the phone told me something like “I can’t tell you where to go, but if you Google “lease assumptions” you might find something that will help you. Her kind advice led me to LeaseTrader.com, now one of my favorite sites.
Lease trader is a market maker that brings people trying to get out of their leases and people looking for a short term lease together. You can search for any vehicle, any price, monthly mileage, payments, months remaining, and distance from you zip code. For free, you can find cars you are interested in, with options and pictures. But in order to communicate with the seller, you have to be pre-approved for a lease which costs something like $45 (a great business model and very good way to qualify leads). I found a fully loaded 2005 X3 in Sudbury for only $450 a month. The seller had put down a big down payment on a three year lease and his wife was about to deliver twins when I found him. To give you an idea of how good a deal this is, my lease is coming to an end and I called BMW finance to ask what it would cost to extend the lease for another year or two – $800/month! Here’s a screen shot: