Buy-a-Car Tips

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Buy a Car - Leasing Options

Some people would rather lease than buy, and there are as many reasons to lease as there are not to.  Buying a car costs a lot of money, and you have no restrictions on mileage or anything else, but a lease is really just a way of renting a car for a long time.  If you are worried that your car will not be worth much by the time it is paid off, or if you just have new car fever and cannot commit to one car for several years, leasing might be your thing.  With a lease, the dealer basically sells the car to a leasing company, who collect the payments from you and at the end of the agreement, the leasing company can then sell the car to someone else.  Almost all of the time though, the lease agreement will be between you and the dealer, that is, you will not have to communicate directly with the company providing the lease.

There are open leases and closed leases.  With a closed lease, you can just return the car at the end of the agreement, or you can then choose to buy it.  This type of lease is popular, as the cost of the car has already been determined before you leased it, and you can then pay      null
the balance and own the car if you like it.  Should you exceed the allotted mileage or put a lot of wear on the vehicle, you could still be held responsible for extra charges though, and that is one reason why many people choose not to lease.  The open lease is used mainly for businesses, who often put much more wear on a car than a private individual would.  With an open lease, the value of the car is determined after the contract is up, then compared to the initial estimate.  If the pre-determined value is more than the value determined at the end of the lease, you will have to pay the difference.  Obviously not a good idea for the average citizen.

Leasing has some good advantages.  Because you are paying only for the time that you have the car, the payments are generally substantially less than buying the car outright.  The leasing company gets the rest of the money by selling the car after your contract is up.  This means that you can drive a much nicer car when leasing than if you were buying.  Not only that, but the down payment is reduced as well, though you can, if you have it, pay more on the down payment and reduce the monthly payments some.  You also gain a tax advantage in that you do not have to pay the whole tax on the vehicle, only the portion that you are using.  Sales tax is reduced as well, in the same way.  Maintenance is another factor to consider.  The manufacturer’s warranty will cover all major repairs for you, no matter what happens (short of you wrecking the car).  When the lease is up, just take the car back, and you are free to lease another, brand new car, and are relieved of the burden of trying to sell it to someone else.


You should also be aware of some of the pitfalls to leasing.  If, for just about any reason you have to terminate the lease prematurely, it is going to cost you.  Any number of things could happen, like you total the vehicle, or it gets stolen and never found.  In that case, you are out of a car and will be responsible for the balance of the lease.  There are leasing companies that offer a gap insurance that will give you protection should something bad happen.  It’s worth looking into if the leasing company has it.  You might end up paying more in insurance than what you are accustomed to with a lease, as many leasing companies require certain types of insurance.  Mileage is another thing to think about, usually it is only 12,000 to 15,000 miles per year, and if you go over you have to pay per mile.  The rate per mile is up to the leasing company, so find out these things in advance if you intend to lease.  You also have to watch excessive wear and tear, and different companies will define this in different ways, but it can cost you big time if you interpret it differently than the leasing company does.

There are a lot of things to consider when making the decision to buy or lease, and hopefully we gave you something to think about.  Do your research and by all means, try to find someone who has leased before and ask them about the experience.  Only you can decide whether leasing is the right thing to do.

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