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To Lease Or Not To Lease?

By Jeff Slokum

Thinking of leasing a car? It’s pretty awesome to always have a new looking car sitting in your driveway! But, you may want to take a few things into consideration before jumping in to a lease head first.

When you lease a vehicle, you’re given the right to use it for a specific number of months and miles. Yes, the monthly payments are lower than if you bought the car outright. And that’s pretty attractive! A low monthly offer definitely captures your attention during car commercials. But at the end of a lease, you’re empty-handed. The lease might allow you to buy the car under certain terms – make sure those terms are stated, if that’s something you think you’re going to be interested in.

It depends on your needs. You may not want to keep a vehicle very long, in which case, leasing could be a valuable option.

Either way, check the beginning, middle, and end of lease costs. Are there mileage limits? Most likely. What upkeep is required? You usually have to abide by manufacturer’s recommendations on servicing the vehicle (changing oil, rotating tires, etc.).

Usually if you end a lease early, you end up having to pay a pretty hefty termination charge. Check out all the fine print so you know exactly what you’re getting into.

Many times you have to agree on a specific number of miles you’d drive a year. (normally 12,000 to 15,000 annually). If you go above that, there’d be additional charges. Take that into consideration of you’re planning a family vacation by car.

Damage, excess wear to the vehicle, and any missing parts incur additional charges, as would be expected.

Naturally, the leasing company requires you to have car insurance.

There might be extra upfront costs, like a down payment, a security deposit, taxes and other fees. So your initial payment might be higher than you first thought. Check it all out before signing on the dotted line.

I have several friends who would only lease, and would never consider buying a car. If you’re the type of person who wants to trade your car in every two years or so, and you take good care of your vehicles, leasing may be for you. On the other hand, if you’re the type to drive a car into the dust and hold onto it forever, leasing would be a more expensive option than an outright purchase.

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