We had 3 cars, but one was a 2020 BMW X3M coming due in May and another was a 16 year old Toyota Sienna 2WD that needed replacing. It’s difficult to get a new AWD hybrid Sienna minivan new, with parts shortages holding up supply and huge markups. So we settled on the new 2023 Honda Pilot Elite.
First, the lease. I leased a 2020 X3M (not Comp) in May of 2020. It was a 36/10 with a 12% discount, so the pre-tax monthly payment was $680/month. It was a decent deal at the time per LH score, but I only ended up putting 11500 miles on it in 34 months. The payoff on the lease pre-tax was about $45k, so there was clearly equity available. We shopped it around and got $58k from Josh at BMW of Seattle, and will pocket $12600. FYI, if you trade your BMW lease back to the dealer with positive equity, you don’t have to pay taxes on the transaction (if you sell elsewhere, you have to buy out the lease yourself, pay taxes, and then get the title and then shop it around). This was seamless, and while there may have been more money to be had, we were happy with it. Carmax/Carvana/etc were offering $51-52k for it.
Next, the Sienna. It was a 2007 Sienna XLE FWD with 150k miles, not top of the line Limited - and the lack of AWD has been a problem in this area during wet/snowy days. We’d seen very different offers for the car. Ideally, we’d trade it in and reduce the cost basis of the new Pilot, but we couldn’t get more than $2k from the dealer. Carvana was offering even less. Carmax was offering $4600, so we took the car there. They looked it over and verified everything worked, so they gave us that value. We could likely have gotten more ourselves from a private party sale, but we’ve done that before and have found the process a little unnerving (unsure someone will pay, receiving lots of cash at once in public, transferring title at the DMV, etc), so with this price we sold them the car. That Sienna was a really good car, and it was hard to part with it. We hope it helps another family.
Now, the Pilot. We test drove cars that were actually available, such as the Pathfinder (given the lease deals we’re seeing people post here), the Palisade (nice, our second choice), and the non-hybrid Highlander (way too small for our family and huge musical instruments, no hybrids available to test drive). There were no Tellurides available for test drives, either. We emailed every dealer in western Washington for the Out The Door Price on a 2023 Honda Elite to see what kind of deals they would do. As usual, very few responded with actual numbers. We saw the usual suspects in Kirkland and Bellevue marking up $3-4k in “accessories” and extolling the virtue of garbage like the flashing brake light. Others tried to upcharge for window tinting, something that comes standard on the car except the front row. We’re pretty sure a lot of people around Seattle don’t negotiate on cars and pay whatever the dealer asks, because a lot of them around here are terrible deals and always have been.
A fellow named Marvin at Lynnwood Honda responded quickly with numbers right at the outset, and they were reasonably fair. No markup over MSRP, but $400 in add-ons for “door cups” and “door edge guards.” We can accept that as the cost of doing business, and given how upfront and no-BS he was, we wanted to buy from him to reward his approach. Nobody else ended up making a better offer anyway. We paid cash, with an $832 doc fee (seems a bit high, but not outrageous). We got to pick which of the in-transit cars we wanted, so we picked the Sonic Gray. And Keith at Lynnwood Honda was the guy who introduced us to BMW of Seattle as the place to go to get the best deal on selling the BMW. We paid cash for the car, so no finance numbers to compare. We could probably have gotten a slightly better deal, but we figure we’re within $1k of that and Lynnwood Honda was great to work with - we don’t mind paying a tiny bit more for a hassle-free experience.
Each of these experiences went very smoothly and took 5-6 hours all up. We kept waiting for someone in the chain to tell us that no, they couldn’t do what they said, and here is a screwball offer on the car or deal. None of them did.