I came home with a 2017 428i and an envelope with approximately $3,000 cash, the final five dollars of which were in quarters. Mr. G looked at me baffled, it’s not an unusual look for him when I share the events of my days. He noted that this didn’t happen to other people and that my life was decidely odd.
“Other people need to think outside of the box.” I declared. And I stand by my declaration.
I needed a new car as the lease was ending on my Ford. I already miss my Ford. Sure, the turn radius was awful, my son complained about having to make a 53 point turn to park in the Junior lot, but that HOV lane sticker? That’s one sexy sticker. And $20 a month for gas, who wouldn’t love that? I miss the preferred parking, waving a toe under the bumper to open the trunk, silence at slow speeds, and the anonymity that a mid-priced American car will get you. I don’t miss a mostly useless navigation system, nor do I miss much about driving the CMax over 35 miles per hour.
I had looked at a multitude of cars and lost enthusiasm somewhere along the way. We bought Mr. G a rocketship disguised as a sedan and I wanted a convertible, but with the exception of the Porsche, they all left me a little flat. The prices and the curb weights are too high, and the engines and trunks are too small. I kind of loved the Boxster but not enough to want to own it, just enough to want to lease it, and leasing a Boxster is not a good fiscal plan.
So I bopped around the internet and searched for luxury convertibles lessees who wanted to get out of their contracts. I found quite a few but their cars smelled like cigarettes, had bad crash ratings, or too many miles on them. BMW has impressive residual values so their lease rates are generally quite reasonable. I started there.
Finally, I found a 4 series. It’s white. What the kids would describe as basic. But let’s be frank about who I am. I’m a 47-year-old suburban woman who plays too much tennis, tends to her family, and has a little side-hustle on the web. I’m about as basic as one can be. A white convertible it is! Plus there’s zero drive off, someone else already took care of that.
As I spoke to the man who had the lease on the car I realized that his payments were out of line with the value of the vehicle. We did a little math together and found that during the life of the remainder of the lease the payments he was making were about $2,400 more than what’s reasonable. So we decided that he would pay me $2,400 and I would take over the remainder of the payments along with title of the vehicle.
Well, we brought the car into the dealer for a quick inspection and found that it really did need two tires and an alignment, about $800 of work so we agreed that he’d toss in another $600 bringing us to $3,000.
We submitted the lease transfer request to BMW and things moved slowly on their end. Apparently a lot of folks were not working a lot of hours during the holiday season and we paid the price for it. Another payment was due but it wasn’t yet my car so the payment was his to make. We adjusted the amount due to me by a bit so that my adjusted lease payment would again properly reflect the value of the vehicle.
Now it was time to take possession of the car. Did I mention that the poor guy had a major orthopedic surgery during the time we were waiting on BMW for paperwork?
We scheduled a time to meet at the dealership (it felt like a non-murdery location) and the night before I got a text from him asking if I could take a check in the mail. With everything in writing and his career being both professional and established in the community I said that would be agreeable. I suggested that he could simply postdate a check if he preferred. Something was muttered and I set off the following afternoon to get my car.
He showed up with an envelope full of cash and an apology that he was short $5 but his wife keeps quarters in the house. Then it occurred to me that he needed to write a check at a later date because the checkbook was in his office & the surgery had kept him home. The envelope was thick, the money was there, down to the penny, and I felt a little like a bank robber or a drug dealer or just a really rich lady.
The punchline is that I got a car. It’s cute, it’s a little luxurious, a little slow, a little basic, but someone paid me to take it and now I’ve got 15 months left before I get to do this again.