Negative Equity Nightmare

Currently owe ~$13k on a 2010 Volkswagen CC which is rapidly imploding. It’s been valued at $6,700 by the dealerships I’ve taken it to. Want to get out of the car sooner rather than later.

I’ve been going around trying to find a 36-month lease on ANY car for ~$400 total (including the negative equity). Thought I had something worked out with a Subaru dealership to get into a '16 Crosstrek, but AFTER running my credit they decided to tell me that their lendor (Chase) wouldn’t allow me to go above 110% of MSRP on a lease. Conveniently tried to force me into buying the car though! Won’t be going back.

So, first off, is this “110% of MSRP” thing an actual thing? Will I run into the same thing at every dealer, i.e. have all of them so far been lying to me? I understand that my negative equity is basically an extra $200/month on any 36-month term.

If this 110% of MSRP thing is real, guessing the best move is to move into just buying a ~$18k car, which, with the negative equity and a ~2% credit union auto loan, has me in the low $400’s a month for 60 months.


Well yes, banks have limits and such placed for their loans. That does not sound like a made up limit to me. Maybe they can get you to buy the car through another bank and that is why the offer. Your idea sounds a lot better than leasing.

Well the issue was they offered 140% of MSRP for buying, but only 110% of MSRP for leasing. I just don’t see how EVERY dealership we’ve been to has made it sound like they could roll the ~$6.5k of negative equity into a 36-month lease, and then all of a sudden when we actually run the credit this “rule” magically pops up.

What tier are you? Again, maybe they can do it only for tier 1s?

FICO is 787, impeccable credit history

just lease a car where you get enough discount off MSRP with rebates etc like the equinox…rolling $6000 into a car where you got $8000 off incl rebates etc should solve the problem

Ok then yes they are bsing you or they just try to bring you in at any cost and switch it. Welcome to car buying. Equinox deal sounds good and search forum to see what deal people are getting in other cars. However, the 5 year loan can allow you to build equity once you pay it off.

I would get an appraisal from CarMax ASAP.

See if they can buy out your negative equity.

CarMax always seems to gloss over nightmare scenarios.

I helped a guy erase over $7,000 using this method.

Try it. It takes about 30 minutes. You have nothing to lose but some time.


it’s news to me that you get different carmax quotes from different carmax locations because the first thing they ask you if you had it appraised and when they put the vin in their computer it will show that it’s just been appraised by another carmax.

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I can get you out on a MINI cooper easily


Thanks for this. I got bad info from my client then.

To be on the safe side, I removed that line.

@dodachacha, if @loberant is offering his help to get you out i’d take it if you are not experienced in this and won’t mind driving a mini. He contributes a lot on this forum and works for a large dealership group.

Take the Mini and RUN!

Let’s talk! DM me. MINI is one of my dream brands.

I just did this last Saturday. In a new Ford Escape Titanium and all in shaved off $7k of $9k neg. equity

I want to clarify. Some are saying “shave off” negative equity, others are saying “get you out” and still others are saying take it and run. You are not shaving, getting out of or running from any negative equity. The equity is being rolled into the new loan. For your new lease or loan, you will pay 7k more + interest than somebody with no negative equity. Eg mini could lease for $150 a month with no negative equity. Instead they will write you a $350 a month for 39 months lease. So you are not really running, shaving, gettting out, you are just paying it off in a new refinanced loan. Just hope that is clear.

Always always always get an appraisal at CarMax.

It takes about 30 minutes.

It is good for 7 days.

And they take care of all the messy paperwork. (And no, NEVER EVER buy a car at CarMax.)

You might get lucky and “shave off” (yes, I said shave off) that negative equity, because they really want your kind of car.

CarMax uses their own appraisal system. On the other hand, most dealerships use NADA. At the end of the day, getting appraisals from many different places will give you many differnet prices.

With that said, CarMax tends to overpay for cars that have lots of options…

And they underpay for bare bones cars.

There is a big thread here about this at Reddit. These snippets might inspire you:

Had a 1999 Honda Accord sedan with 140k miles on it back in 2010. Thing was beat to hell. Had a new door which didn’t match, radio didn’t work, bald tires, missing knobs, one window that didn’t go down, a coke exploded in the back seat, missing floor mats, weird stains thoughout and 11 years of fart in the drivers seat. Guy said I’d be lucky to get $500 for it and then Carmax offered $3k. I snapped that up obviously. I’m starting to think I left some gold bars in the trunk or something.

I sold my F150 to them, it was a stripped down work truck with 100k plus miles so they were planning on selling git at Auction. A local dealer offered me $1500 on trade in, KBB and NADA put private party sale at about $3500, Carmax gave me $5000. I kind of felt like I was ripping them off, but I took the money and ran.

I took my 2010 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon to CarMax expecting a lowball offer. I had drilled some holes in it and done some regrettable modifications (cosmetic stuff). It was still running on the original set of tires after 4 years. I was offered $2,000 above the KBB value, so I took it, bought a new car and walked away with some cash. I love CarMax.

I think it’s a hit or miss. My dealership offered me 500 for my 2001 Civic with about 60k on it. Carmax offered me $2000 for it so I took it. It had permanent alignment issues (too expensive to fix) and also had a cracked manifold. EDIT: also had a large dent

I did this with my 2013 Toyota Prius C. It was leased and I was looking to get out of it, and I read somewhere that Carmax would buy you out of your lease by paying the payoff amount. They offered 13K, which was fair, but the buyout price was $14,600 so I decided to look around first for other evaluations. i went to a toyota dealership and they only offered 10K and told me that the carmax offer was fantastic. I ended up paying carmax $1,600 to take the car out of my hands, but it was worth it, since I no longer had to make payments on a car that I wasn’t using at all. Definitely recommend them. The entire process was incredibly easy.

I’ve only had to trade into Carmax once, but had a good experience. Had a 2008 Saturn Astra, about 80k miles. Car had been in 3 accidents, ranging from punching a whole into the back of the body to getting t-boned and having to replace large pieces of the car. It had underlying electrical issues from that large accident (light bulbs kept melting, fuses would blow periodically, etc) and the AC went out (the catalyst for getting rid of it). KBB valued it at 4k, they gave us $4250, even with the busted AC and Saturn no longer existing. I took it, bought a 2 year old car at a surprisingly low price and ran.

I just sold my 2007 Volvo S80 to CarMax hoping to get $2500 (100k miles and side damage because of snowplow hit/run). Ended up walking away with $4500.
Obviously I am thrilled with that and the process taking 45m total makes it entirely worth it.

I had a 2004 malibu maxx with 120k miles on it, and it needed a lot of work, new transmission, new tires, trunk didn’t open (had latch fixed, but broke again after about 3 months) etc, a few dealers offered $1,500-$2,300. Carmax gave me $3,500. KBB says ~$4k. Took that money and ran cause I felt like I ripped them off.

A few years back I had an old car that was overheating and the cost to repair ($2,000) was worth more than the car. I got the car down to Carmax and let it cool off before I got an appraisal. They drove it around the block and it didn’t overheat in that time and they offered me $1,600, they never asked if it had any issues.

Once you have a CarMax appraisal, I would visit several dealerships and ask them for an appraisal. If they are too low, show them the CarMax appraisal and ask if they can beat it.

Rinse. Repeat.

After several appraisals, you will “shave off” that negative equity.

In other words, Car max will pay you 2k more than NADA. Then the other dealer will pay you 2k more than Carmax. Then yet another dealer 2 will pay you another 2k more than dealer 1. Excellent. Who knew it was soooo simple :slight_smile:

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Man, I can tell you are going to have fun with me in the future…

Let me repeat what I quoted from above…

The dealer offered the guy $1,500…

CarMax offered him $5,000.00…

Your (sarcastic) advice is to skip over the potential of getting CarMax to overpay for the truck?

If that is what your sarcastic advice is conveying, your advice would have cost the truck owner $3,500.00 in shaved-off negative equity.

So to be clear. You are saying we should just roll over and take it up the backside? We should just suck up the negative equity mistake and suffer?

A VW CC is the opposite of an F150. OP should definitely go to Carmax, but they’re not going to pay up for his car because nobody wants his car. Everbody wants an F150.