Thursday, August 17, 2017

The Time I Thought I Could Just Casually Buy A Car

Being on top of every single thing as an adult is nearly impossible. Every year, we are inundated with new adult things to do like "file taxes" and "have health insurance" and "take our dogs outside for walks." Every new job, we have to fill out W-4 forms and decide how much to contribute to our 401(k). If we're smart, we put money into a flexible spending account, or a commuter account, so we can save tax money on health costs and parking. But I'm not that kind of responsible adult. I choose the easiest routes, live paycheck to paycheck and figure it out as I go along. 

Which is why I'm going to share with you a cautionary tale about the time I attempted to turn in and/or purchase my leased vehicle having done ZERO research on turning in and/or purchasing a leased vehicle. 

Back story: In July 2014, I leased my FIRST (new) car from Honda of Hollywood on the lovely Santa Monica Boulevard. I signed the lease for 36 months and even though that seemed like FOREVER and scared me a little bit, I still drove it off the lot, blasting my music and feeling like a million bucks. Well, it's a Honda... so I felt like a cool couple thousand.

Rhonda (that's her name) has treated me good. In California, she brought me to Vegas (3x 2many), Palm Springs, Malibu... and work every single day. I lived about 10 miles away from my office and it took me 45-50 minutes each way to get to and from there. So, we spent a lot of time together on the back roads of Los Angeles... and the 405. In Massachusetts, she's taken me to Vermont, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Cape Cod and basically all over Massachusetts on my various excursions to escape reality. 

I knew my lease was coming to an end in August. When I first moved back, I thought "Well I'll just turn it in when the lease is up and then lease a new car when I need one." 

Then, as the impending doom of not having a car or a way to take the aforementioned various excursions to escape reality, I thought, "I'll just buy the car and finance it once the lease is up." That seemed like a good idea to me! I liked the car, it was fairly knew, had low mileage still and what did I need a brand new car for?  So, I called Honda Financial and they were like, "Great! Just head to the dealership and they'll work out the paperwork." 

"Easy peasy." I thought out loud in a crowded Target.

Then the end of July popped up on me like a mole from the once popular carnival game, Whack-a-Mole. I realized that I was going to be in Chicago for 3 days and then immediately upon my arrival, my friends were borrowing my car to drive to the Cape until I joined them on Sunday. I had one rainy Monday to head to the dealership and get it all worked out. 

I arrived at the dealership, eager to drive what would soon be 100% my car off the lot. I approached the guy at the front desk, flashed my brightest smile and said, "I'm here to purchase my leased vehicle!" 

He asked when my lease was up, I told him it expired that upcoming weekend. He stared back at me for a few seconds too long and then said, "I'll be right back." 

Except he lied. He didn't come right back. Another man came out to greet the crazy woman who didn't understand how things work. This man was the finance manager, or something along those lines. 

"OK, so you want to buy your leased vehicle? Why's that?" 

"Well, I've only had it for three years and I like it and I've only used 2 out of 3 years mileage wise, so I'd like to finance it and buy the car." 

"Why wouldn't you want to get a new one, or lease a new one?" 

"Because I like my car. It's still in good shape." 

"OK, well... we'd have to do an inspection. Which takes a while to set up. And then once we did the inspection we'd basically have to re-sell the car to you, based on the condition the vehicle is in. So, it's going to cost your more than the pay off amount..." 

And he said other things, but I stopped listening. Ultimately it can best be summarized as "Hahahahahahahahaha, no." 

Apparently there's a process that should start SIX MONTHS in advance of the end of your lease. You should schedule an inspection at least two months before. You should research other cars you might want. You should do anything and everything but show up to a dealer thinking it's EASY. But, just as I was about to freak out (which, let's face it, I still did) he told me that I could extend my lease. 

I went home in my still-leased vehicle and cried and got angry at myself. I even did a yoga video for "letting things go" so I was really in quite a state. Honda Financial was closed, so there was no way that I could figure everything out that night. So, instead, I spent the entire night feeling bad for myself and eating MSG-laden food. 

The next day, as early as I could, I called Honda Financial and asked them what I had to do to extend my lease. I had a pen and paper - and every document I might need - ready to go, assuming it'd be a LONG, ARDUOUS process. 

"OK, how long?" she said. 

"Um, what do you mean?" 

"How long do you want to extend? You can extend up to a year, but you could do less. Some people do 3-6 months. You could also pick 6 months now and extend later if you want, up to 1 year." 

"OK... how about 6 months?" 

"OK great. Done. You'll pay the same amount, the same way, every month. Same mileage. Same everything. Our conversation is done." 


So, basically, I'm an idiot. And I was really upset with myself for being so ignorant, not doing my research and then for getting so upset when it got difficult. There are going to be much, much harder days in my future than that. I was embarrassed. But, you know what? That's how we learn our lessons. Now I know *everything* that needs to be done not only when you near the end of your lease, but I know everything about registering an out-of-state vehicle as well. 

I know that research and planning ahead is your friend, that way you don't need to make any desperate decisions. I know that getting all your ducks in a row gives you peace of mind. And I know that breathing through the hard stuff is going to help me deal with it, not MSG fingers dipped in delicious ginger sauce.

Being an adult is hands down the worst experience I've ever encountered. But damn, does it feel good when you finally master it. Kind of. 

1 comment:

Unknown said...

An outstanding share! I've just forwarded this onto a co-worker who was doing a little research on this. And he actually bought me lunch because I discovered it for him... lol. So allow me to reword this.... Thanks for the meal!! But yeah, thanx for spending time to talk about this topic here on your blog. all of craigslist


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