8 Tips On How To Get The Best Car Lease
Eventually, at some point, you are going to need a new mode of transportation. There comes a time in every driver’s life where they must realize that Old Faithful is surviving solely on faith. Maybe your car has broken down one too many times. Car trouble can be the sinister point of many problems! You’ll be seen as unreliable at work, and can even lose your job for being late one too many times. Friends won’t ask you for rides or expect you to ever be on time. You sometimes have to rely on the kindness of strangers to get’er running again. None of these scenarios are good! So, after a lot of hemming and hawing, you’re going to break down and eventually get a new ride.
But what type of financing should you use? And how do you get the best car lease?
We’re here to answer that, and more!
There are two basic styles of financing available: leasing, and buying. Most people are more familiar and comfortable with the later. The former, however, is a great option that you shouldn’t overlook! We’re focusing on leasing today, and why it might be the right decision for you. Leasing can be a lifesaver for people who don’t drive often and would like as smooth of a ride as possible. This is also a great option for people who want to switch out cars more often than the average person. If the scenario we introduced this topic with describes you then you may be a big fan once you learn more about leasing! Tired of relying on beaters and want a taste of the high life? You can have that, and more. Need an excuse not to be the one people ask to do all the driving? A lease gives you a perfect out because of your mileage allotment. Keep reading for more exciting details on this brave new world!
What Is Leasing?
You can think of leasing as being in the same vein as renting. It’s the full experience, but without the ultimate commitment that buying brings. Leasing allows you to drive the car for an agreed upon amount of time. This is typically two or three years. After the lease is up you can go back to the dealership and either enter a different lease, or buy the car from the dealer. It gives you the ability to really decide on whether a car brings you enough joy to buy it. Leasing is basically the ultimate test drive! But what are the ups and downs? We’ll go over them briefly below.
Lower monthly payments
Smaller (or no) down payment
Variety of driving experiences
New car every few years
Financial incentives included
Charges for extra miles
Penalties for wear and tear
Non-stop monthly payments as long as you lease
Can get pretty expensive
High insurance premiums
Types Of Lease
While there are a few different leases out there we’re going to focus on the two most common. There are closed-end and open-end leases, both of which have their own pros and cons. We’ll explain a little about both below.
Closed-End Leases: Another name for a closed-end lease is a “walk-away” lease. This is because you can do exactly what the name says: walk away. You might incur mileage penalties, or have to pay for excessive damage done to the interior or exterior. Even so, closed-end is generally your best bet. You have the option to either buy the car or leave it. The leasing company is the one who’ll pay if the car isn’t worth as much as they thought it would be at the end of the lease. On the other hand, if it’s worth more you can buy it for the price they thought it would be worth, and then sell it for a profit. Not a bad deal either way!
Open-End Leases: An open-end lease is much less common, and definitely not as highly recommended. Choosing this lease means that if the car is worth less than they calculate it to be at the end of the lease you’ll be the one paying the difference. The miles allotted can also vary wildly between leases in open-end contracts. In the end, you may end up paying a significantly higher amount at the end of your lease than you thought you would be. That’s not a gamble that you want to take, especially when you’ll be spending quite a pretty penny as it is!
So, now that you have a better understanding of what this term entails we’ll get to the good stuff. You have most likely decided that leasing is for you (which is probably why you’re here!). So, on that note, we’re going to take you step by step through the process of scoring the best deal. You’ll be able to smooth talk and finesse your way through every step once you’re down!
How To Get The Best Deal On Your Lease
Buy Extra Miles If You Need Them: When you lease a car you’ll have a set number of miles annually that you can’t go over. This is generally above 10,000 miles, but below 20,000. You need to think long and hard about whether or not you need more miles than that. If you have decided that leasing is for you then you probably don’t drive that much (think daily commute, rather than road trips). You’d be surprised, however, how fast 10,000 miles will be used up! If you have any uncertainty about your yearly usage then buy an extra few thousand miles at the beginning to avoid incurring mileage penalties.
Know What You Need: Consider what your ideal car looks like. Get as specific as you can! You need to have a set list of needs and wants when you step onto that car lot. If you don’t you can easily be swindled by salespeople who want to sell you the heftiest price tag they can. What kind of climate do you live in? If it snows, then spring for the all-wheel drive and heated seats. If you live in a hot climate where you rarely even see rain then your needs are different. Do you really need leather seats, or can you settle for cloth? Get these things decided ahead of time to save on both time and money.
Bring A Strong Second: Anytime you’re looking to purchase a new car you want to bring another person along. This is going to be somebody who is there essentially to play “bad cop”. They’re going to hem and haw over their opinion, urge you to “sleep on it”, and talk about how “that other car” was so much less expensive. You want the salesman to be sweating- not you! This technique can save you a bundle of money, so make sure to put it to good use. Almost anybody can work, but we suggest bringing somebody who is older than you are- a parent, mentor, or somebody similar. With age comes wisdom, and they’re more likely to take your grumpy Grandpa more seriously than you. Their goal is to get you in a car that same day, so make it as hard for them as possible!
There is another pro to bringing your strong second, however. This person isn’t just there to keep the salesperson in check- they’re there to keep YOU in check, too! Make sure you sit down ahead of time and talk about exactly what you need. Once you’ve decided (see above) you’ll go over this list with your partner in car leasing. They remind you that you don’t actually need the extra bells and whistles, and keep you on budget. Make sure you choose somebody who is steadfast and won’t back down! It can be tempting to lock yourself into a bad deal when you want a car badly enough. Your strong second should save you from yourself in that case!
Be On The Spot Savvy: You know that smartphone you’re most likely glued to? No judgment. Most of us are! In fact, smartphones are incredibly useful in day to day life. They run our schedules, remind us of our appointments, give us access to e-mail, and more! As it turns out they’re also fantastic for finding the perfect vehicle. There are several apps on the market (both for iOS and Android) which can move this process along for you. Access KBB with ease and figure out how much the car you’re looking at is actually worth. Look at ratings on the dealership, how much people liked the car, and more! It’ll definitely give you a much better chance at negotiating down if you’re able to call their bluff on every claim.
Check Those Ratings: Choosing a dealership can be difficult. Everybody has an opinion, especially since most people will get a cash incentive for referrals. There are several websites which can give you ratings on both dealerships and salespeople. You can peruse these reviews at your leisure and make sure you land in the right spot when you take the leap. Other customers who have shopped there, and won’t get an incentive for you doing so, are much better at giving an unbiased summary of their experience.
Call Ahead For Quotes: Set some time aside to make phone calls while you’re deciding which dealership to visit. We suggest calling the ones you like and asking them for quotes on the vehicles you’re interested in. Their sales department should be able to help! It’s much more difficult for a salesperson to pull a bait and switch when you have a document from the sales department that promises you a lower price. This will also allow you to figure out which dealership will give you the best deal, and who you’re better off visiting in person.
Always Test-Drive: This goes for any vehicle purchase, really! You need to know whether or not you like to drive the car, and whether it suits your needs. You may be surprised at how it handles, or how the interior seemed spacious before but now seems lacking. Even little, dumb inconveniences are easier to spot! For example, sometimes when the driver’s armrest is down it’s impossible to pick up or put down drinks in the center console. This can be irking to even the calmest driver! Take mental notes of these little details, and keep them in mind as you test the cars you’ve got your eye on.
Look Into Sales Psychology: So, we understand this might seem a little intense. After all, psychology is a huge branch of study, and why the heck would you get so deep into it? As it turns out there is a pretty specific subset just for the art of selling things to people. Marketing uses plenty of psychological tricks to their advantage. Realistically everybody should look into this topic in order to give them a better daily experience with marketing schemes. You’d be surprised what you’ll find!
We’re talking about car leasing specifically, however. So, how does this apply? Easy! You’ll know what the dealer is doing when they’re doing it. You’ll be better able to spot their techniques and neutralize them before you get sucked in. There are plenty of little articles about the basics, and what a salesperson is likely to do to get you to sign that dotted line.
Now you’re ready to lease a car! This process is definitely intensive, and it takes a lot of time to complete. If you’re being smart about it you’ll give yourself plenty of time to prepare and shop around. Don’t wait until you don’t have a working vehicle- the salespeople can basically smell desperation. Take your time, hem and haw, and make sure you get the best fit as well as the best deal. All in all, leasing is definitely a great option for many people. It’s especially good for those who live in the city or tend to use public transportation to commute daily. This means you would only be using your car for things like errands, or trips on your day off, which means you’ll stay well within your yearly mileage cap.
So, really give it some good thought. When you’ve gotten your head clear and yourself completely prepared, get in there and get your dream car! We’re certain that this list of tips will keep your wallet fuller and help you stand up to any sales techniques thrown your way.
- New Cars – Loan or Lease?
- Wikipedia – Vehicle Leasing
- NY Daily News – Pros and Cons of Leasing
- Lease Guide – Types of Car Leases