When looking for a car, you may find yourself wanting to purchase. Leasing, on the other hand, is an option that might be worth considering.
When it comes to leasing a car, there are several benefits and drawbacks that must be considered. Whether or not leasing an automobile is a good idea depends on your own circumstances, driving habits, and financial position.
How Does Leasing a Car Work?
When it comes to leasing or purchasing a vehicle, the choice is somewhat comparable to that of renting vs. purchasing a house. On a monthly basis, renting or leasing may be cheaper, but it would need some concessions that you wouldn’t have to make if you bought.
You are allowed to use a vehicle as you wish after buying one. You’ll be responsible for any maintenance or repairs that aren’t covered by the warranty. Once your loan has been paid off, you’ll own the car outright. It’s yours to sell or trade-in once you’ve decided it’s no longer necessary.
When you lease a vehicle, you don’t acquire it; instead, you pay a fee to use it for a set length of time, generally two to four years. You sign a lease contract with the lessor, usually at a car dealership, and may be required to pay an advance payment. However, this payment is frequently much lower than what it would cost to finance or purchase a vehicle outright.
You’ll pay a set amount for a specific number of months and must follow the conditions in your lease contract during your term. For example, you might be restricted to a certain number of miles each year, and there may be an extra charge if you go over that limit.
A lease agreement will also identify what is covered under warranty and who has responsibility for maintenance and servicing if the warranty does not cover the costs. The lessee may be responsible for these expenditures in some leases, while the lessor pays for them in others. You should always double-check to make sure you know what you’re and aren’t responsible for financially.
When your lease ends, you’ll return the car and maybe charged additional expenses or lessor fees. You have the option of purchasing your lease or leasing another vehicle. According to the FTC, if you return a car with damage that is not considered routine wear and tear, you are financially responsible for these repairs.
What Are the Advantages of Leasing a Vehicle?
Leasing an automobile has several advantages that may be appealing to some drivers:
Lower monthly payments: A lease payment may be lower than a monthly car loan payment, so leasing might save you money each month to drive the same vehicle.
Smaller down payment: Car leases typically necessitate an upfront payment, although they are rarely as expensive as a down payment for a vehicle loan. If you don’t have enough money to pay cash for a car, leasing may help you buy one faster.
New-car experience: If you must drive newer vehicles, a lease may make it more accessible than purchasing. Because leases generally only last two to four years, you may upgrade to new cars with the most up-to-date safety and technology features on a regular basis. You can try out various automobiles more frequently, and because the cars are newer and you will only be driving them for a few years, they are less likely to have mechanical problems.
Reduced hassle: When you no longer want or need your automobile, selling it or trading it in is a hassle. You simply return the vehicle when you lease.
Some covered costs: Unless they have very low mileage, new leased vehicles come with an extended warranty that typically covers any problems you encounter. In some leases, the lessor will pay for repairs or car difficulties not covered by the warranty.
This isn’t always the case, but if your lease includes these expenses, you won’t have to pay for vehicle issues (though you’ll almost certainly be required to pay for regular maintenance such as oil changes and new tires).
What Are the Drawbacks of Leasing a Car?
Although the benefits may have you revving up your car to sign a lease, there are several significant drawbacks to consider. Take a pause and think about the following:
Lack of ownership: Because you don’t own the car, there’s no equity in it. This implies you can’t sell the vehicle and get some money back or take advantage of its trade-in value, as opposed to owning. You’ll also be rid of a monthly auto payment when you finance an automobile. Even if the vehicle depreciates in value, you’ll be stuck with a monthly payment for as long as you have it under leasing.
Restriction of use: Leases often limit the number of miles you can drive, usually 12,000 to 15,000 per year. While you may be able to negotiate higher mileage caps, those who have a longer commute might find it difficult or even impossible to do so. If you relocate outside of your current state or nation, you won’t be able to take the vehicle with you.
Additional costs to consider: Leasing a car entails numerous expenditures, including the down payment and monthly payments, as well as possible costs when the lease expires. Gas, perhaps repairs, and vehicle insurance may be more expensive if you lease a car. You will also typically be charged an early termination charge.
Constant car switching: For some drivers, the ability to swap vehicles frequently may be a benefit, while others may see it as a major bother to go through the process of changing cars every few years.
When Does It Make More Sense to Purchase a Car?
Whether to purchase or lease a vehicle is ultimately a personal choice. Leasing might make sense if you place a high value on driving a new or luxurious car and are frequently replacing your vehicles. However, if you’re happy with only owning one reliable automobile for the long term, purchasing may be more beneficial.
If you want to have equity in your vehicle and make it an asset, leasing makes more sense. Leasing may be less expensive in the short term, but you don’t get the benefits of ownership.
When you buy a car, you can sell it or trade it in to finance the purchase of another automobile. You could make enough money selling a vehicle that you don’t have to finance the next one (or at least decrease the amount of debt). Leasing isn’t as effective as buying a car with cash.
What Credit Score Do You Need to Lease a Car?
If you don’t have excellent credit, you may find it tough to qualify for a car lease. A score of 600 or above is generally needed to lease a vehicle, so if your credit isn’t so hot, you might be unable to qualify
According to Experian’s State of the Automotive Finance Market report, as of the second quarter of 2020, the typical credit score for individuals who leased a new automobile was 729. That’s higher than the 718 average credit score obtained by persons who received new auto loans during that time period.
On the brighter side, renting a car can help you establish credit. Lessors typically submit your monthly payments to the credit bureaus as they would for an automobile loan. This implies that you are responsible for the lease and make your monthly payments on time every time.
Before you lease, check your credit and clean up any negative marks.
It may be a good idea to spend some time working on your credit before leasing a vehicle if you’re interested in leasing. This might include decreasing outstanding obligations and credit card debts, paying off charge-offs and past-due accounts, and continuing to pay all of your bills on time.
If you’re looking to lease a vehicle, check out LetsTalkLeasing to view a whole variety of deals on new and used vehicles.