OK, thanks. Your checklist was pretty helpful.
I’ll share my experience as well, hopefully it is helpful. I was ~19mos and ~9500 miles into my 24/7.5k e-Golf lease at the beginning of August and discovered that Vroom was willing to give me $21.3k for the car. My buyout at the time was $15.3k, so I immediately started the process. I had Vroom pull my 3rd party dealer buyout, but I wasn’t expecting VW to be quite as greedy as they were - they wanted $19.5k from Vroom.
So I mailed a check off to VW Credit for $15.3k, and requested that they expedite the title (which they did not - first snag). It took VWC about a week to process my check and paperwork and put the original title in the mail, which I received ~15 days after mailing my check (I paid for expedited processing, they lost the separate check for that and snail-mailed it anyway). Since the title took so long to arrive, Vroom revised their quote pretty dramatically - from $21.3k down to just $17.9k. Sigh. Still a good chunk back, but not quite what I was hoping for.
This is where the real trouble starts. I took the title to Autonation, who offered to match Vroom’s quote. The dealer spoke to Autonation corporate, and then informed me that they were unwilling to buy the car with VWC’s name still on the title, even though it had been signed by VWC and I had a lien release letter as well. Vroom told me the same thing a day later - unless the title was in my name exclusively, they wouldn’t touch the deal. In CA, you can use REG-262 to do multiple title transfers without getting a fresh title each time, but neither dealer was willing to do it.
So I started down the path of getting the title transferred, and immediately discovered (as lease_buyout mentioned) that in order to get a CDTFA-111 exemption approved, you need a signed bill of sale showing that you have the car pre-sold to its eventual new home. Well, I wasn’t going to get that from Vroom or Autonation without a fresh title, which meant that I wasn’t going to be able to get the exemption. I would need to find a private party to sell the car to, and I just wasn’t interested in the hassle of that.
At this point, I just gave up and decided to keep the car. I still paid about 20% less than private party value and I love the car (I had planned to lease another one once it was gone), and I chalked it up to “experience is what you get when you don’t get what you want”.
IMO, the only way to sell a lease buyout to a dealer (Vroom, etc) in CA would be to follow these steps in this order:
- Get a buyout quote from your leaseholder and mail them a check. You must stop driving the car at this point. Any use of the car after this will trigger a use tax bill in CA. Pay them for whatever expedited title processing (and hope they don’t lose your check for that, like VWC did mine).
- Wait for the original title to arrive. The day it arrives, take it to the DMV, transfer the title into your name, and pay the sales tax. Pay for expedited title processing to speed this process up. At this point, your 10 day clock starts. ("The sale of a vehicle to a lessee by a lessor may be considered a nontaxable sale for resale. If the lessee transfers title and registration to a third party within 10 days from the date the lessee acquires title from the lessor at the expiration or termination of a lease, the sale will be presumed to be a sale for resale. Transfer of title and registration occurs when the lessee endorses the certificate of ownership.)
- Within 10 days, you need to receive the new title from the DMV and sign a bill of sale with Vroom, Carvana, etc. showing that you sold the car. This may be impossible, given the time it takes to get a title from the DMV, but the way the law is written, this is what is required.
- Use this bill of sale and the paperwork from the original title transfer to show that you sold the car within 10 days and request a refund of the sales tax paid. This should be technically possible using CDTFA-101, but I would contact the CDTFA first to find out exactly what documentation they will ask you to provide (call your local office - mine was incredibly helpful).
I would like to believe that there’s some leeway allowed in the 10-day rule, since my CDTFA office said their leadtime for processing an exemption was 8 days, but that’s another question that you should ask them before you embark on this journey.
This is not a fun process, and because of the way the 10-day exemption is timed (from receipt of original title to sale of vehicle), it may not actually be possible when companies like Vroom/Autonation are involved.
Hope this helps. If you manage to do it, please tell us about it.