Make a form like the one used by dealer in LH Calculator

First of all, thanks for making the calculator, which is great and very helpful.
I was using the calculator the evaluate deal and discuss with dealers. I think one feature will be very helpful: Make a form including more details, such as Net cap cost, cap cost reduction, lease charge (interest), with similar format as the dealers use.
So that (1) It can educate user, to let us understand meaning of each table from the dealer; (2) this can help negotiate with dealer. It is not convenient to show the Calculator to dealer directly, but may be easier to show them a form with similar format as they proposed (but with numbers we want).

I hope I explain the idea clear enough. Just my two cents. And thanks again for making the Calculator. :slight_smile:

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I think that would have a lot less utility than you’re thinking. First off, showing the dealer your calculator/form from here never goes well.

From there, what your cap cost/cap cost reduction is will vary depending on how a dealer structures the lease. There isn’t necessarily a right way.

For example, dealer A may structure a deal with all of the fees capitalized and then all your due at sale applied as a cap cost reduction. Dealer B may structure the deal by paying all the fees upfront rather than capitalizing them. These two deals would have very different gross caps and cap cost reductions displayed, but would be essentially identical.

There’s another part of this which is if you’re going to dive that far into the details of the calculations, you really need to understand what is going into the calculations. If you do, it’s easy to get all those values. If you don’t, having those values without understanding the context behind them could lead you to walk in with dealer A’s structure, be faced with dealer B’s, and think you’re getting taken for a ride.

I do think having the calculator output total rent charge could have a little more value as a quick way to check for a hidden mf mark up.

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I agree with “showing the dealer your calculator/form from here never goes well.”. That’s the same thing I am worried about too :slight_smile:

For “it vary depending on how a dealer structures”, that’s totally right. But as we have options like “Pay dealer fees upfront” or “Capitalize upfront tax” in the calculator, I think it can be handled when making the form.

Anyway, thanks for your reply. That’s just my thoughts and may be not very helpful for other people.

Like to make a fake offer sheet?


This assume you know ahead of time how they structure their lease.

So what’s the point? If the total cost of their offer matches the total cost of your calculations, does it matter how they get there?

I’m all for educating the consumer, which is why the “how to calculate a lease by hand” should be required reading. Having the calculator output that information out of context really only allows someone to skip the education part.

Yes, a fake offer sheet. Not the same but something like the form in this post.
Deal Check: 2021 Bolt Premium $7500 with $9k incentives - Ask the Hackrs - Leasehackr Forum

This is from my experiences. I have leased two cars and read a lot of posts here. However, sometimes I am still confused about some details, especially when dealer agrees with all the parameters (MF, residual, selling price …) but said his estimation for monthly payment is much higher than my calculation. So that’s why I proposed this idea to: (1) educate users like me (who has some knowledge but not many) to understand all the details; (2) May or may not show this fake offer sheet to dealer. But can use it to compare with dealer’s numbers to help negotiate with them.

You’d be infinitely better off working through the “how to calculate a lease payment by hand” section in the leasing 101 if trying to understand all the details.

RULE #1: Dont ever mention Leasehackr Calculator
RULE #2: See Rule #1


Showing the breakdown would be a useful tool for hackrs, but I do agree that for regular users, the breakdown won’t help much in dissecting the dealer’s quote if the user doesn’t understand the definitions (and the underlying math, but that’s the easy part). For example, the biggest challenge for users isn’t how the net cap cost is calculated, but what goes into each net cap cost input (e.g. which incentives are taxed and which are untaxed? Are the incentives included in the selling price? How do I categorize all the different fees?). Comparing the calculator’s Net Cap Cost to the dealer’s Net Cap Cost would be helpful to reverse calculate what the dealer has capitalized – provided that you already have a good understanding of what generally goes into net cap cost and how to input the figures.

I think it’s a good suggestion nonetheless; we would definitely look into it. My only reservation with showing the nitty-gritty of the monthly payment calculation is that it would introduce more confusion.

It will most definitely introduce more confusion and make life harder for mods and also create more threads asking for #s to be explained.

I agree with the above that folks need to understand the calculator and make their offers based on the output. Let the dealer find a way to get there.

No one needs to be concerned with how the sausage is made as long as the right sausage comes out at the end.

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I believe that putting in big bold text next to the output would help:

If your monthly payment does not match the dealer, your inputs are wrong

Personally it annoys me when people post about how a dealers calculation is wrong, they argued with them, bla bla bla. Literally every single time they have incorrect inputs. And it goes back to a basic misunderstanding of how a lease is calculated and what the inputs are. THAT, IMO, is the problem. Adding more outputs and more complexity is not going to fix that. If you can’t calculate rent charge by hand, you haven’t learned enough to make all of these outputs actually useful.

That said, I would like to see a basic breakdown of the payment in the calculator. E.g. base payment $X, rent charge $X, taxes $X. I think this would be useful. Just like how the DAS is broken out.

I don’t understand how or why people think that a calculator will give the “right answer” if they type the wrong numbers into it, but this seems to be a common issue :man_facepalming:

We already have a Leasing 101 guide for how to read a lease contract. My opinion is that if you don’t understand how the numbers are calculated in a contract or even what they are and cannot double check them, you shouldn’t be signing it in the first place.


Having a program similar to what dealerships use, that would allow you to create model deals, and learn how deals get structured, would be awesome. Seems like it would be different, or out of scope, for the calculator.

For the calculator a simple “information” button next to the number showing how the calculator got there, would the trick. I would consider expanding on the information buttons, and maybe add a few more. So, under the pretax monthly for instance, you could put an information button showing the calculation detail, and also link it to the calculate by hand page detail. Helpful, interactive learning for the non finance peeps. :slight_smile:

There is nothing needed that the current calculator doesn’t show to put together a target deal with all the information required to communicate it.

The issue that I have here is that the value added by this information to someone that can’t already get it is negative. The only thing it will serve to do is further confuse and complicate things.


Agreed. That is why I mentioned it as “out of scope” and “different”. However, personally, I would not mind having access to something like that, as a modeling tool, or for interactive learning. I think it could have some value. Again though different than the calculator here, and I would not confuse, or intermingle the two.

With the understanding that everyone doesn’t learn things the same way (wife is visual, and gets lost in text, preferring video, for example), I think a well-thought,produced video presenting the info Matt and Chris have already collated (bang-up job to you both!) would go a long way to demystifying the contract, and could be linked in the Calc page.

TBH probably the most common mistake is assuming the dealer is using buyrate.

Second is taking the advertised price off their website and not taking any embedded purchase-only incentives out.

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  • Assuming buyrate
  • Not understanding das vs down
  • Double counting incentives/including wrong incentives
  • Not adding the correct fees
  • Wrong tax scheme

This covers easily 99.9% of mismatched calculators. None of these are helped by having more details, except maybe having the expected rent charge to compare.


@michael is the pretty face of LH videos :laughing: but yes that’s a good idea. He already did a calculator video.

The problem I see is that people misuse the calculator due to not really understanding how a lease is calculated, and instead of understanding/learning/asking - they insist that their incorrect calculation is right and the dealer is wrong. This issue is 100% avoidable by just entering the simple info correctly.


Agree on all counts. Just that ‘watch this vid’ may be more effective than ‘read How To Use LH Calc’ and ‘read Leasing 101’ as endless copypasta responses. The two topics are intertwined enough that I think (optimist) a well-crafted vid would be a knockout punch to a lot of the recurring issues.

You need to be able to calculate the lease payment you want and the lease payment the dealer gives you. Once you call the dealer out on their lies, it can go either way.