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Advantages of Leasing a Vehicle with the Intent to Keep It

Advantages of Leasing a Vehicle with the Intent to Keep It

Written By

Peter O'Neil

Published

Oct 6, 2023

Mercedes GLS SUV
Mercedes GLS SUV
Mercedes GLS SUV
Mercedes GLS SUV

Discover the advantages of leasing a vehicle with the intent to keep it. Explore the financial benefits and potential savings. Make an informed decision today!

At a Glance

  1. Potentially lower monthly payments with leasing

  2. Leasing may offer a lower interest rate or "money factor"

  3. Leasing creates a form of optionality

  4. Aligning leasing with the expected value of the car

  5. The advantage of buying a used car from yourself

Exploring the Topic

Exploring the Topic

Leasing a car is often compared to renting – you have the car for a set period (usually 2-4 years), after which it's returned to the dealership. However, leasing a vehicle with the intention of purchasing it afterward can be a strategic alternative. Here's an in-depth look:

1. Potentially Lower Monthly Payments:

Lease payments can be lower than loan payments, depending on the terms of the lease and the price of the car. This is because lease payments cover the expected depreciation of the vehicle over the lease term, along with a finance charge (interest and fees). This could free up more of your monthly budget for other needs.

2. Leasing May Offer a Lower Interest Rate or "Money Factor":

The interest rate or "money factor" for a lease can sometimes be lower than the interest rate for a car loan, although this will depend on your credit score and current market conditions. It's important to compare the finance charges for both options.

3. Leasing Creates Optionality:

When you lease a car intending to purchase it at the end of the lease, you effectively create an option for yourself. If the car has held its value better than expected, you can choose to buy it at the predetermined residual value, potentially gaining equity instantly. If the car has not held its value as well as expected, you can simply return it at the end of the lease.

4. Aligning with Expected Value of the Car:

When you lease a car, the leasing company sets a residual value - their estimate of what the car will be worth at the end of the lease. If your own estimate of the car's worth aligns with this residual value, leasing can make financial sense.

5. The Advantage of Buying a Used Car from Yourself:

Another advantage of leasing with the intent to buy is that you are effectively buying a used car from yourself. You know the car's entire history, including its maintenance and any potential accidents, which is often not the case when purchasing a used car from another source.

Potential Downside

While leasing may have its advantages, there are potential downsides to consider. For instance, you may end up paying sales tax on the monthly lease payment, which includes the finance charge. This could add to the total cost of leasing the vehicle.

CarOracle's Auto Leasing Program

Interested in exploring leasing options? CarOracle's Auto Leasing Program offers expert guidance to navigate these decisions. We can help you understand leasing intricacies and align the lease terms with your long-term car ownership goals. Learn more about our leasing program.

Conclusion

Leasing a vehicle with the intention to keep it can be a strategic financial move, especially if the terms of the lease are favorable. It's essential to compare the total costs, including monthly payments and finance charges, with other options like traditional car loans. Always consider your financial situation, lifestyle needs, and driving habits before making a decision.

Leasing vs. Buying FAQs

How can I compare leasing to buying the same vehicle?

When considering leasing versus buying the same vehicle, you're essentially comparing two different financing plans for vehicle use. Here are some key factors to keep in mind:

  1. Cost over Time: Your lease payments are based on assumptions about how much the car's value will decrease during the lease term (including wear and tear and mileage), plus interest and fees. However, at the end of the lease, you won't have any equity in the car. Conversely, when you buy, your monthly payments are usually higher, but once you've paid off the loan, you own the car outright and can recoup some of your investment if you sell it. However, with longer loan terms, often stretching to 72 months, your chances of having equity in the vehicle after 36 months (a typical lease period) can be low.

  2. Total Finance Charges: Compare the total finance charges for both options. The leasing option may come with a lower interest rate, or "money factor," which could make it financially advantageous, especially if you consider purchasing the car at the end of the lease.

  3. Monthly Payments: Lease payments are typically lower than loan payments because you're only paying for the expected depreciation and wear during the lease term, along with interest and fees. This could free up more of your monthly budget for other needs or wants.

  4. Vehicle Return vs. Selling: At the end of a lease, you simply return the car to the dealer. If you buy, you'll need to sell the vehicle or trade it in when you want a new one.

  5. Mileage Limits: Leases have mileage limits. If you drive a lot, buying may be more cost-effective.

  6. Wear and Tear: Lessees are responsible for any damage beyond "normal wear and tear." If you're hard on your cars, buying might be a better option.

  7. Flexibility: Leasing allows you to drive a new car every few years, while buying allows you to modify your car and keep it as long as you like.

  8. Warranty and Maintenance: Consider the length of the manufacturer's warranty in relation to your lease or loan term. If your loan term extends beyond the warranty period, you may need to factor in the cost of a vehicle service contract or unexpected repair costs.

In the end, whether leasing or buying is more advantageous depends on your individual situation. Consider your financial goals, lifestyle needs, and driving habits before making a decision. Consulting with a financial advisor can also be helpful.

What happens at the end of a car lease?

At the end of a car lease, you typically have a few options:

  1. Return the Car: This is the most common action at the end of a lease. You'll return the vehicle to the dealership, pay any end-of-lease costs (like over-mileage charges and costs for any damage beyond normal wear and tear), and then you're free to walk away or start a new lease.

  2. Buy the Car: If you've fallen in love with your leased car or if the car's current market value is higher than the residual value in your lease contract, you may choose to buy it. The purchase price should be stipulated in your lease agreement, but keep in mind that additional fees may apply.

  3. Lease a New Car: If you enjoyed the leasing experience and want to drive a newer model, you might consider starting a new lease. Some dealerships even offer lease loyalty programs that can make this option more appealing.

  4. Extend the Lease: If you need more time to make a decision or you're not ready for a new car yet, some leasing companies may allow you to extend your lease.

Remember, it's crucial to be aware of your lease-end date and to communicate with your leasing company about your decision in advance. Each leasing company has different rules about the timeline for these decisions, so make sure to read your contract carefully.

Can I negotiate a car lease?

Yes, you can negotiate a car lease. While many people may not realize it, a car lease has several aspects that can be negotiated. Here are a few key areas:

  1. Price of the Car (Cap Cost): This is essentially the price of the car in the lease agreement. It's similar to the purchase price if you were buying the vehicle outright. Just as you would negotiate the price when buying a car, you can negotiate the capitalized cost in a lease. Lowering the capitalized cost can significantly decrease your monthly payments.

  2. Mileage Limit: Leases come with a pre-set limit on the number of miles you can drive per year, usually between 10,000 to 15,000. If you go over that limit, you'll be charged an excess mileage fee. If you believe you'll need more miles, you can negotiate for a higher mileage limit. Keep in mind, though, that a higher mileage limit may increase your monthly payments because it can lead to higher depreciation.

  3. Money Factor (Interest Rate): While not always as negotiable as the cap cost or mileage limit, the money factor in your lease agreement can sometimes be negotiated. Lowering the money factor will reduce your monthly payments.

  4. Lease Term: The length of the lease can sometimes be adjusted, though this might affect the monthly payment and total cost. A shorter lease term typically means higher monthly payments but a lower total cost, while a longer term usually means lower monthly payments but a higher total cost.

  5. Residual Value: This is the anticipated value of the car at the end of the lease. It’s largely set by the leasing company and based on industry data, making it more difficult to negotiate. However, understanding how it’s determined can provide clarity on your lease agreement.

It's also a good practice to compare lease offers from two or more dealers for similar cars. This allows you to gain a more accurate reflection of the market and gives you a better idea of what you should be negotiating towards.

Always remember, every element of a lease agreement that saves you money on a monthly basis might increase the cost elsewhere, or vice versa. Therefore, it's important to consider each aspect of a lease agreement as part of a whole. For instance, a lower capitalized cost might mean more money upfront, and a lower money factor might require a stronger credit score. So, it's crucial to negotiate a lease agreement that suits your overall financial situation, rather than focusing solely on one aspect.

What does it mean to lease a car?

Leasing a car is similar to renting. When you lease a car, you're paying for the right to use it over a certain period of time, typically between two to four years. This differs from buying, where your payments contribute to full ownership of the vehicle.

Key terms in the leasing process include:

  • Lease Term: This is the duration of the lease agreement. Most leases run for 24 to 48 months.

  • Residual Value: This is the estimated value of the car at the end of the lease term, as determined by the leasing company. This estimated value is primarily based on the car's projected depreciation, mileage, and associated wear over the lease term. The residual value, which can sometimes be negotiated, is significant because it affects your monthly lease payments - the higher the residual value, the lower your monthly payments. However, it's important to understand what the lease-end buyout price is stated in your contract, as the leasing company could potentially adjust the residual value.

  • Money Factor: This is the lease equivalent of an interest rate on a car loan. The money factor, multiplied by 2,400, gives you an approximate annual percentage rate (APR). Lower money factors equate to lower lease payments.

  • Capitalized Cost (Cap Cost): This is essentially the price of the vehicle in a lease agreement. It can be negotiated, just like the price of a car you're buying outright.

  • Cap Cost Reduction: This is anything that reduces the capitalized cost. It could be a down payment, a trade-in, or rebates.

During the lease, you'll make monthly payments and have to adhere to certain conditions, such as mileage limits. At the end of the lease, you typically return the vehicle to the dealer, although you may have the option to purchase it for the lease-end value as stipulated in your contract.

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CarOracle is a California-licensed automotive dealer, License No: 43082, with an autobroker's endorsement, enabling us to represent consumers in the purchase or leasing of new and used vehicles.

©2024 CarOracle. All rights reserved

CarOracle is a California-licensed automotive dealer, License No: 43082, with an autobroker's endorsement, enabling us to represent consumers in the purchase or leasing of new and used vehicles.

©2024 CarOracle. All rights reserved

CarOracle is a California-licensed automotive dealer, License No: 43082, with an autobroker's endorsement, enabling us to represent consumers in the purchase or leasing of new and used vehicles.

©2024 CarOracle. All rights reserved