Benefits Of Leasing
Despite aggressive low-interest financing, cash-back offers and other
purchasing incentives offered by leading auto-makers to buyers, leasing
numbers keep increasing steadily over the years. Leasing is not only an
attractive financial proposition to most auto-consumers, but also a
lifestyle and preference choice.
Benefit Number 1: Keeping up with the latest trends
Leasing is sometimes more of a personal and lifestyle choice than a
financial one. Many people are not comfortable with the idea of owning a
vehicle over a long period of time. They'd rather keep up with the latest
trends of the industry and drive the latest models every two to three
Leasing a car gives you the convenience of having the latest technology
and safety innovation, such as an electronic stability system, DVD
entertainment systems and advanced stereo equipment. If you are willing to
forego ownership for the latest set of wheels, than leasing is your best
Benefit Number 2: Purchasing Flexibility
Leasing also offers purchasing flexibility: it allows you to defer the
purchasing decision while using the car. You don't have to haggle with your
mechanic over repair expenses, deal with hefty maintenance bills or worry
about a depreciating asset. Provided you can keep the vehicle in good
condition and stay within the contracted mileage allowance, you're
effectively getting a test drive for the length of your lease.
At the end of your lease, you can purchase the vehicle or simply turn in
the keys and walk away. No questions asked.
Benefit Number 3: Cash Flow
Leasing offers many short-term benefits. It reduces your initial cash
outlay as you do not have to pay the large down payment required for car
ownership. You only pay for the depreciation on the car - only the part you
will use during your lease, not the entire vehicle. This results in lower
monthly payments and frees even more cash. This cash can be put to use more
intelligently elsewhere than the questionable investment of owning a
depreciating asset. If you are self-employed or use your car for your job,
then you can write off your leasing payment as a business expense.
Benefit Number 4: Negotiating Leverage
Although it may seem a little unorthodox in this industry, almost
everything about leasing is negotiable. If you know all the fees involved,
you can lower your monthly payments, negotiate the purchase price of the
vehicle at the end of the lease and contract additional miles on top of
your mileage limit. You can also do some shopping around and compare deals
from different auto-insurers to get the cheapest GAP insurance for your
Auto Insurance And Leasing
When leasing a car, it's easier to stick with the same company for your
auto insurance. What you don't know, however, is that you may end up
paying too much for your coverage and it's better to look elsewhere for
When you lease, the vehicle that you will drive belongs to the leasing
company. They want to make sure that their investment is covered in the
event the vehicle gets damaged, totalled or stolen. They typically want
to get covered for the difference between what your auto-insurer pays and
your outstanding leasing obligations at the time of the accident or
damage. This is called GAP, short for Guaranteed Auto Protection, and is
usually included in the leasing contract.
If your leasing company is called BMW Financial Services, Chrysler
Financial or any other finance division of an automaker, then chances are
your GAP insurance will be offered by the same lease company.
You are under no obligation to accept GAP insurance included as part of
your lease agreement. Why pay an insurance premium if you could get the
same coverage for a lower price?
Invest some time shopping by comparing quotes from other insurance
companies, including your existing one. Ask for discounts that you already
qualify for and adjust your coverage accordingly.
Fees Involved In Leasing
Mention auto-leasing and most people will automatically assume a low-
monthly payment. There is actually more than what meets the eye, and a
number of fees are involved at various stages of the lease process.
At the beginning of the lease, you have to pay a refundable security
deposit, typically equivalent to one monthly payment, to safeguard against
non-payment and any incidental damage done to the car at the end of the
lease. You are also required to pay an administrative charge, called
acquisition fee. Other fees include licenses, registration, title and any
state or local taxes.
During your lease, and you expected to honour your monthly payment
obligations. Any failure to do so will result in late-payment charges.
You have to pay any traffic tickets, emission and safety inspections and
ongoing maintenance costs. Ending your lease early will result in
substantial early termination charges.
At the end of the lease, expect to pay any excess mileage costs, charged
at 10 to 20 p a mile. Any incidental damage done to the car, and deemed to
be above normal, will result in excess tear-and-wear charges. Finally, if
you choose not to purchase the vehicle, then you have to pay a disposition
Using Lease Calculators
Want to calculate your monthly lease payment? Consider using a lease
If you are considering a car lease, then you might want to know some key
figures involved in the deal: the monthly lease payments, the overall cost
of the lease and how much savings can be made compared to purchasing the
A lease calculator relieves you from the stress of having to know the
complex underlying lease formulae used in calculations. You simply plug a
number of figures into the calculator and hey presto! You get a detailed
rundown of detailed payments, taxes and total lease costs.
Figures you need to get from your dealer about a specific lease you're
interested in include: capitalized cost, estimated residual value at the
end of the lease, the number of months in your lease and the money factor.
Make assumptions and change some of the figures to see how it affects your
lease payments. For instance, residual value is an "estimated" value of what
the vehicle will be worth at the end of the lease. You can input different
estimates to cover different scenarios and assumptions.
As a final note of caution, bear in mind that lease calculators only do
calculations and check the accuracy of abstract mathematical formulae. They
do not tell you whether a lease is good or bad.
Luxury Cars And Resale Values
When it comes to ultra-luxury, high-end vehicle leasing, there is no doubt
that the best deals are those cars that hold their value. With this in
mind, we single out a few truths about residual values that consistently
apply to high-end leasing.
The most determining factor when it comes to resale values is public
perception of the brand, not its reliability ratings in quality surveys.
Take the Jaguar for example: it is consistently rated as a quality car, but
because of questionable reliability perception among the public, it takes a
sharp dip in value at the end of its lease-term
Higher-tech options and other cutting-edge features do not necessarily mean
the car will fare better. By the time your car is two years old, better
and cheaper systems will render the laser-guided cruise control, navigation
systems and built-in cell phone obsolete. Look for functional features,
such as automatic transmissions, power windows and wheel-drive to enhance
the vehicle's value in the used-car market.
Used-car buyers view less favorably luxury vehicles that come with big
incentives. These are perceived as questionable in quality and
How To Spot A Good Car Lease
Leasing has been lauded as your cheapest ticket to keep up with the
industry's hottest vehicles and trends. The jury, however, is still out
on leasing: with the industry long on hype and short on detail, it is
difficult to distinguish between a genuinely good deal and a downright
So how do you spot a good deal?
First, you need to find out if there are any down payments on the lease. A
down payment refers to the lump sum amount that you pay upfront, either in
cash, non-cash credit or trading allowance, to reduce your monthly payment.
You should think twice before putting money down on a lease: not only are
you getting a rough deal, as you're essentially forfeiting the general rule
of leasing: not putting any cash upfront, but the money is not recoupable
at the end of your lease. There is another big disadvantage: in the event
of your car getting damaged or stolen, you insurance and the gap cost will
not cover the loss.
Most leasing companies allow you a limit of 45,000 free miles over the
length of a 3-year lease. This may seem like a good deal at first sight,
but when you consider it only comes to 15,000 miles over a 12 month period
it's not difficult to foresee why it might be difficult to stay within this
limit. Even people working from home have little trouble putting 15,000
miles on their cars.
If you exceed the mileage limit, the penalty for each excess mile can be as
high as 20 cents. This can add up quickly over the length of your lease: an
additional 4,000 miles a year over the length of a 3-years lease contract,
will end up costing you an extra $2,400 in excess mileage charges!
Be realistic about your mileage needs, especially if you have to regularly
commute over long-distances, before you sign the contract. Consider padding
the miles that you expect to use since it is less expensive to contract for
the extra before you sign than it is to pay the extra charges at end of
Sales tax is usually capitalized and added to the monthly payments.
However, some dealers choose not to include it in their calculations to
drive the advertised lease payments even lower. What they do instead is
state in the small print that the monthly payment excludes "sales tax".
Make sure you carefully read the fine print for any extra, hidden costs not
included in the advertised monthly payment. Unscrupulous fees that
typically slip through the cracks include sales tax, registration and title
Auto Leasing Scams
Car-leasing has been lauded as a more attractive alternative to buying,
offering in the process the flexibility to drive a new car for less. The
reality, however, is that leasing is an option that is fraught with many
pitfalls for the average customer. Leasing regulation does not require as
much disclosure as buying a vehicle. This has given rise to many leasing
scams that trick the customer into believing they are into a good deal
when, in effect, all he is getting is a rough deal on the dealer's terms.
Here we look at some of these common scams and how to avoid them
Artificially low interest rates:
Some dealers quote a lower interest rate when in reality it's much
higher. They do this by either purposefully quoting the money factor as
the interest rate or calculating the loan without amortizing some closing
fees, like the security deposit, into the loan lease. Take the money
factor for example: this is typically expressed as a four decimal digit,
something like 0.004. Some dealers quote this as a 4% interest rate when
in fact you need to multiply it by 24 to get a rough idea of the interest
rate on your loan. In this example, the interest rate is a much higher 9.6%
than the "quoted" rate of 4%.
Make sure you crunch the numbers and understand the formula they use to
calculate their interest rate. Look out for any fees not factored into the
calculation. If you are not satisfied, do not enter into the lease
Terminate your lease early for a low penalty
This is an all-time leasing scam. You ask your dealer how much you will pay
if you want to terminate your lease and he tells you: "You want to get out
early? Sure thing, you only pay an early termination fee of $300?. What he
is quoting is only the small administrative penalty of early termination,
there is a much stiffer penalty called early termination fee and this runs
into thousands of dollars.
Do not confuse the early termination administrative penalty with the
termination fee. Read the small print carefully and know exactly how much
you will get charged should you terminate your lease before its scheduled
Pay for an extended warranty you don't need
This is another shell game to inflate the dealer's profit at your expense.
The dealer slides an extended-warranty into the deal whilst it's already
factored into the monthly payments, or he tricks you into buying a 36-month
warranty on a 24-month lease.
You do not have to pay extra money for a warranty already built into your
payments or for one that goes well beyond your lease term.
They might slip an extended warranty in. Don't be fooled, the warranty is
already factored in.
No security deposit
Any dealer who advertises a $0 security deposit is not telling you the
whole story. A security deposit is always factored in the lease under the
provision for disposition fees.
Go Green And Save On Your Lease
Hybrid vehicles' popularity has sharply grown from a couple of thousands
in early 2000 to close to 300, 000 by the end of 2005. The trend is
rapidly catching with the auto-leasing industry with generous tax credits
and incentives on offer if you go green.
Beginning in 2006, businesses and taxpayers who lease, or purchase, an
environmentally-friendly and fuel-efficient vehicle will be eligible to
claim federal income tax credits worth thousands of dollars. Individual
states also offer generous incentives, including hybrid state tax credits,
new High-Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes access and discounted thruway tolls
for alternative-fuelled vehicles.
And that's not all you can save from going green! You can now save on your
parking fees at a number of universities and some auto-insurance companies
are offering insurance discounts for hybrid-vehicle owners nationwide.
If you want to take advantage of these incentives and contribute to energy
conservation then visit HybridCenter.org and complete a personal profile
about your driving needs and habits. You will get in-depth advice on hybrid
models that would make economic sense to you and local, state and federal
incentives available where you live.
Leasing With Bad Credit
Have you been refused a car lease? Chances are you have less flawed credit
history. Know what's involved and what you can do to build good credit
Credit score is a measure of your credit worthiness used by leasing agents
to determine whether you are eligible for a lease. You credit score is
based on your past and present credit history, and can range anywhere from
350 to 850. A measure above 720 is considered a "prime score" and will
land you the best rates. If you are below 640, then you are "sub-prime"
and will be considered bad rating by the bulk of leasing agents. This is
where all the trouble in getting that lease comes from.
Ask for your FICO Credit Score from the Fair Isaac Corporation (FICO)
which details your credit score held by all three leading credit score
agencies in the country. Compare the three credit scores and determine if
any agency is holding erroneous credit data about you. Contact the
reporting agency and getting corrected.
If there are no mistakes in your credit report, then you can take some
steps to maximise your score to go above the threshold of 640. Pay your
bills on time and pay down any credit card debts you have. Do not take any
new accounts as this might increase the likelihood of you getting into bad
credit thus worsening your credit score.
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