Alternatives to selling my car
November 24, 2009 3:58 PM   Subscribe

SuperDumbIdeaFilter: Alternatives to selling my car... like leasing it?

I'm moving to an urban area and will not be needing my car in the foreseeable future (save the occasional use that a car-sharing service would make sense for). I will be a bit poor during the transition period, which just underscores the fact that it does not make economic sense to keep my car: car payments + insurance + maintenance + gas + parking = ditch it!

Problems with this plan: I love my car. I don't want to get rid of it. I want to use it occasionally, at least down the road. In I'll be much more willing and able to afford the costs associated with it.

Is it really, really dumb to consider anything other than 'sell it'? I know just letting the car sit in a lot/driveway rotting and uninsured is a bad idea. A family member does need a car long-term temporarily (i.e. the mirror of when I need to not have a car). Could I lease it to them? Is that legally feasible (reasonably feasible, not just possible)? Is it a really horrible idea? Most likely they would pay less than I owe monthly, but I'm not averse to paying some of the monthly payment if I don't have to pay for all the rest of the associated costs (and eventually get the car back and paid off).

How ridiculously bad of an idea is all this?

(Please: no "don't mix family and money" -- I'm not ignoring that, but that's not what I'm asking about.)

posted by anonymous to Travel & Transportation (14 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I don't think it's a terrible idea, if you trust the family member. If you don't, it's a long road of pain. I have a friend who had a lease option setup on a car that he was selling, and it was way more trouble than it was worth.
posted by craven_morhead at 4:22 PM on November 24, 2009

Sell it now. Buy it back later for cheaper when you're ready. Win/win. Except in extreme cases, cars depreciate in value. Why hold on to a depreciating 'asset'?
posted by Geckwoistmeinauto at 4:25 PM on November 24, 2009

I am not a car owner, so I don't have any experience here, but it seems like you're making this too complicated.

1. Get some insurance for the car that allows others to drive, or specifically names family member X as a driver.

2. Agree on a monthly payment for family member X to have the car, and when you'll get it back (probably write this stuff down & give them a copy if you're uneasy about arguments about details later).

3. Give family member X the car.

Why/how would this be illegal? This would probably be a dumb idea if you were doing it with a stranger, as you would be very vulnerable to theft/scams/etc. But seeing as it's family, I don't think it needs to be super complicated.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 4:25 PM on November 24, 2009

You would probably come out ahead if you just sold it and then bought another one just like it when you return.
posted by The World Famous at 4:29 PM on November 24, 2009

You would probably come out ahead if you just sold it and then bought another one just like it when you return.

If it were an older car that was in unusually great condition, he may not want to have to deal with the perils involved in attempting to replicate the vehicle later.
posted by floam at 5:14 PM on November 24, 2009

1. Get some insurance for the car that allows others to drive, or specifically names family member X as a driver.

Have the family member pay for this, too, as part of any agreement you make with him/her. In addition to liability coverage, get comprehensive, collision and uninsured motorist coverage. You know, for when he/she wraps the car around a tree.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 5:23 PM on November 24, 2009

If it were an older car that was in unusually great condition, he may not want to have to deal with the perils involved in attempting to replicate the vehicle later.

True. But since he's willing to lease it to a family member, I just assumed that it is not an older car in unusually great condition. If it is, though, then leasing it to a family member is a bad idea, as it is unlikely to be in unusually great condition at the end of the lease period.
posted by The World Famous at 5:23 PM on November 24, 2009

Where I live, the owner of the car is liable for any accident. If you lease/loan/lend this car and it is still titled to you, were the driver to have an accident, YOU would be sued. Confirm this with a lawyer.

Sell it or store it...
posted by HuronBob at 5:27 PM on November 24, 2009

How many car payments do you have left? I'd have a different reaction if you had only 2 payments left, versus having like 30 remaining.

Can you put a window on "eventually"? Did you move to the city for a job, in which case how long do you plan to have the job? How much do you like the city? Do you think you'll be ready to move in a year, five years, ten years, fifteen?

If you didn't have that emotional attachment to the car, how would your answer be different? If it was just an appliance like a toaster, would it make sense for you to sell it?

You may also want to check with whatever entity owns the car right now to see if they're okay with it. I know that sales agreements sometimes include a clause that you can't sub-let out the car.
posted by ErikaB at 5:34 PM on November 24, 2009

Don't do it unless you can afford to continue the payments if family member stops paying you. Sure, you might be able to create some legal document but that's not going to much help you after the car gets repossessed. Not saying this is likely to happen or anything but all sorts of things could come up and it would be prudent to be able to cover the payment on your own.
posted by 6550 at 5:46 PM on November 24, 2009

Selling the car to your relative, and then buying it back for an agreed-upon price at the end of an agreed-upon period, seems like it would be a safer and less complicated way of achieving the same end. That way you still get your car back later, but your family member is legally responsible for it in the meantime and you don't have to negotiate monthly payments, which are likely to be an enormous hassle logistically. I suppose there's a small risk that the family member will refuse to sell it back, but that seems like a much less complicated problem than some of the ones that people have mentioned with leasing.

(I get where you're coming from with the car love. I got rid of my car recently for similar reasons to yours, and it was like saying goodbye to an old friend.)
posted by fermion at 7:17 PM on November 24, 2009

Sell it to your relative outright. With an understanding that if its in Y condition in X months you'll buy it for fair market value.
This way you avoid any legal troubles if they wrap it around a tree, and you don't have to worry about said relative's friends vomiting all over the back seat (true story).
posted by Redmond Cooper at 8:45 PM on November 24, 2009

This isn't really an acceptable option if you check with your auto insurance agent. As the owner, you are liable and can be the ONLY person to insure the vehicle. Insurance would cover resident relatives only - and they would have to be listed on your policy.

Just another angle to consider.
posted by kiwi-epitome at 6:04 AM on November 25, 2009

I think this is a fine idea, but I'd agree that maybe selling and re-buying would be the simplest thing for liability, though of course it will incur title/license fees, complications with paying off the bank that helped you buy in the first place, etc.

Trying to set up a fully legal lease situation will be tricky. The more likely situation would be a private unenforceable agreement. Sit down with your relative and decide now:
1. Are you still making payments on the car, or are they taking over your payments to the bank? I'd seriously recommend against anything that changes you writing a check every month. You want to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that this is covered and that the car will not be reposessed.
2. Are you adding their name to your current insurance and having them pay you for that bill, or are you canceling your insurance to a car you own? Talk to your insurance company and see how they feel about both those situations.
3. If they get in a wreck and ding up the car, to they pay to get it fixed? If they're on your insurance, do you accept the increase in insurance as a risk of the situation (like all rental places do) or do you try to take it out of them in bills?
4. If they get in a wreck and the thing is totalled, how do you want that situation to get resolved? Do you think the insurance payment will be enough for you financially? Will you hold this death of your beloved car against your relative indefinitely and ruin that relationship?
5. If they get in a wreck and (kill a pedestrian, were DUI, etc) and get sued by the other driver('s family), your name will be involved. What's covered by your insurance? How do you feel about this situation?
6. If they get a buttload of parking and/or speeding tickets and/or get the thing towed, they will "of course" pay for them. What are the chances this person would go deadbeat and do something that has the police tracking down the owner?
7. They're writing you a check every month. For how much? What happens if they don't do that? What if they end up owing you a bunch of money - do you just demand the car back? Are you going to try to make this debt legally enforceable, or is it purely a private thing?
8. What happens when you finish your temporary stint in car-less-land and want your car back but they're not done with it yet? What happens when they're done with it in 6 months and you're in car-less-land for another year after that?
9. There's a certain emotional difference (for me, anyway) when I'm driving "my car" and "someone else's car". I might drive someone else's being extra-careful, not leaving it parked where it's going to get the doors gouged, I'd drive my car after a beer but maybe not theirs, etc. How do you want this relative to act with your car? What do they expect?
10. If something minor happens to the car - a hailstorm, a parking-lot dent, a scrape in the paint - do you expect them to take it to the insurance agency? fix it out of pocket? ignore it? not get it fixed but give you $100?

The key here is laying out every situation you can think of and how you want that to resolve, and deciding whether you trust your relative to make decisions you'll be comfortable with, and whether they feel comfortable taking on all the risks associated. Maybe you really deeply trust your relative, maybe you don't want to sit down and talk over all these points, but thinking this through will help you define all the assumptions you're making about how they're going to act, so that you'll know what you're getting into.
posted by aimedwander at 6:32 AM on November 25, 2009

« Older How to teach myself audio electronics   |   Relocating to Brisbane, Aus. Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.