Auto Lease, Lease Assumption, and the Car Lease Swap

What is a car lease?

Buying and leasing are car are different. When you buy a car, you become responsible for the entire cost of the car, no matter how long you keep it or how often or far you drive it. When you obtain a new car lease, you only pay for a portion of the car-that is, the portion you “use” while you are driving it. And, unlike buying, leasing doesn’t usually require a down-payment; although you may be responsible for paying certain fees and a security deposit. There are also penalties for terminating the car lease early. But whether buying or leasing is best depends upon your individual needs and circumstance. And if you do decide to lease, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re stuck with that car for the duration of the lease term.

What is a lease assumption?

A lease assumption happens when you allow someone else to take over your lease in order to get out of your contract without incurring penalties. For instance, you’ve been driving your leased car for awhile now and want to exchange it for something different. Or perhaps you’ve found a car you’d really like to buy, but you can’t afford both car payments and lease payments. The problem is you’ve still got 12 months left to go on your lease. If you end it now, it’s going to cost you. Cue your brother, who thinks your car is quite nice and wouldn’t mind driving it himself. Since his credit is good enough, your brother can assume your lease, releasing you from your contractual obligations while avoiding any penalties. Now, you’re able to buy the car of your dreams-well, today’s dream anyway.

There are a few benefits to a lease assumption. For the one assuming the lease, there is the shorter-term commitment and lack of money-down requirements. For the one getting out of the lease, there are no penalties incurred and they are free to move on.

What is a lease swap?
A lease swap is a lease assumption that goes both ways. Someone takes over your lease while you take over theirs or someone else’s. Basically, you’re swapping one lease for another, with no need to start over with a full-term lease contract.

Why are lease swaps attractive?
Lease swaps are an attractive way to exchange cars because by swapping your lease you can 1) get out of your original lease without penalties, 2) save thousands on unnecessary lease obligations, and 3) end up with a much shorter-term lease agreement than otherwise possible. Thus, if you decide to swap a lease you have much to gain and little to lose.

For people who enjoy changing cars ever few years, or even every few months, lease swaps are the way to go. But remember, whether leasing for the first time, assuming a lease, or swapping one, once you signed on the dotted line you become responsible for the remaining lease term and amount. So, as with any contractual obligation, make sure to read the fine print before you commit.

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Understanding Car Leasing – 5 Facts You Need to Know

Leasing a car is like paying to rent it for a period anywhere from two to four, or sometimes, five years; you get to use it during that time, but you don’t own it at the end of the lease.

The main benefit to lease is that your car lease payments will be lower than the payments you would be making if you were to take out a loan to purchase that same vehicle. Leasing can seem very complex and confusing if it’s your first time, and all the paperwork the dealership will have for you to sign will not help to ease your anxiety, which is why it’s important to understand leasing before jumping into it.

1. One thing to consider is the length of the lease that will be appropriate for you. Car leases require you to make monthly payments for a specified amount of time, which can range anywhere from 24 months up to 60 months.

2. Another thing to consider when thinking about the length of lease that would be best for you is the number of kilometers you will be using. Most leasing companies offer low kilometer leases, standard kilometer leases and high kilometer leases. It is important to do some figuring and find out approximately how many kilometers you will need, because if you end up going over at the end most leasing companies charge anywhere from seven to ten cents per kilometer you go over on the agreement, which can get pricey very quickly.

3. In contrast, if you don’t calculate the number of kilometers you are going to be using, you could end up paying too much as your monthly payments will be lower with a low kilometer lease because the residual value at the end of the lease will be higher.

4. You will also want to think about how well you take care of your vehicles when considering leasing. Leasing companies understand that it’s normal for a vehicle to show some signs of wear and tear after being used for a few years, but only some not exceeding $1000 or $1500 worth of minor repairs. You are expected to keep the car in good condition, meaning you can’t return it with a fender missing and expect to not have to pay for it.

5. You will also want to be clear about your options at the end of the lease. In many cases, you will be told the amount it will cost you to buyout the vehicle at the end of the lease. You will also have the option to simply walk away, or to step up to a new vehicle.

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