How To Research A Car Lease

Learn how to research a car lease. Knowing if leasing is right for you will save you time and money.

In order to research a car lease, you need to understand what leasing is and how it works. When you lease a car, you are paying for the use of it over a certain period of time. Of course, this sounds like renting, but the two are not the same. Leasing starts at a minimum of twenty-four months, whereas renting can be a minimum of one day.

When leasing a vehicle, you and the dealer come to an agreement on a purchase price just as you would if you were to buy the vehicle. Then, you sign a leasing contract, and the dealer sells the car to a leasing company at the price you have agreed upon. The dealer acts as the agent between you and the leasing company. So based on the agreed-upon price, the leasing company then leases the car to you. The negotiated price becomes very important as it determines your monthly payments.

When you sign a leasing contract, you are agreeing to make regular payments each month, insure the car, maintain the upkeep, and pay taxes and licensing fees. Also, you agree to keep the car typically twenty-four, thirty-six, or forty-eight months. When your lease expires, you return the car to the leasing company and either lease out a new car, buy out the car you were leasing, or walk away.

When researching a car lease, it is important you compare leasing to buying in order to figure out which method of financing is the right one for you. Leasing finances the use of the car, while buying finances the purchase. Each one has its pros and cons. Deciding which is best for you is dependent upon your own preference and personal situation.

If driving a new car every two to three years with no major repair risks and lower monthly payments is more important to you, then leasing may be your option. If ownership and long-term cost is more important, think toward the path of buying the car. The following are important benefits of car leasing.

1. Lower monthly payments

2. A new car every two to three years

3. Fewer maintenance problems with a new car

4. Little or no down-payment required

5. Sales tax spread out and paid with monthly payments in most states

6. No hassles with selling your car

Even if the benefits of leasing appeal to you, also consider the following questions. If you answer yes to any of them, it could be a sign that leasing may not be for you.

1. Is there a chance you'll want to end your lease early? If so, there are always early termination fees, and you will also have to pay all remaining monthly payments that are due on your contract.

2. Do you drive over 15,000 miles per year? When leasing, you can only drive 10,000 to 15,000 miles per year depending on your contract.

3. Do you fail to treat your cars with good care? There are always fees you will pay for turning in a leased car that is damaged past its' normal wear and tear.

4. Do you want to modify your car? You cannot customize or repaint your leased car.

5. Do you want to own your car? You won't build up equity when leasing because you are not paying with a goal of ownership.

6. Do you have a credit score that is flawed? You must have a good credit history to receive a smaller or no down payment, along with a low monthly payment.

It is also a good idea to research the two types of leases. A closed-end lease is the most common lease and lets you return the car when the contract ends. This type of lease assumes you will drive the car 12,000 miles per year and not be abusive towards it. Thus, the residual value at the end of the lease will be predictable. Open-end leases are mostly for commercial business leasing. This means the lessee takes the financial risks and is responsible for paying the difference between estimated residual value and market value when the lease contract is up.

Knowing the benefits and disadvantages of leasing a car should help you decide if it is right for you. Understanding the leasing process will help you make an informed decision about whether it suits you better than buying.

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