Lease vs buy

Have you ever noticed that you seem to recognize car commercials more when you are in the market to want or need a new vehicle? Many people will tell you that you should buy, while others say that leasing is the way to go. The good news is that they are both right. Whether you should buy or lease is ultimately up to you. We will look at both sides and you can then determine if you should buy or lease.

Leasing is basically the use of the vehicle over a contractual period, while you are making monthly payments on it. There is no ownership included. At the end of the lease you do have some options. You either turn the car and keys in, you can buy the vehicle for the residual value (stated in the lease contract), or you can lease another vehicle.

When you purchase a vehicle you are making monthly payments in pursuit of owning the vehicle out-right. You either finance a loan through a bank or dealership, or you pay for it all together with the money you have saved.

One leasing benefit is that the monthly payments are generally smaller and require little, if any type of down payment. Most leases last for 2-3 years, and you don’t have to worry about selling the vehicle after the contract term. This also gives you an opportunity to get into another new vehicle and lease.

Be careful though, most leases restrict the amount of miles you can put on the vehicle during the lease. Going over the contract miles can cause charges when the vehicle is returned. You can calculate the estimated miles you put on a vehicle per year. Find out how far you travel to and from work, to the store, or any family trips where the miles would add up. If you find out that you put a lot of miles on your vehicle each year you may not want to lease.

Consider your personality. Can you live with the factory stereo, or do you need a six-disc CD changer with surround speakers and a sub-woofer. Do you need a ski or luggage rack, or love the collection of ski resort stickers that usually plaster your bumper? If you like to personalize your vehicle than you will definitely want to consider purchasing a vehicle, as most leases will not allow you to make any personal changes to the cars appearance or features.

Do you know your way around the gears and belts of a car? Or, do you take your car into the shop and describe what is wrong by making funny imitating noises? By leasing a vehicle you have the benefit of having the vehicle under warranty and can take it in to get repaired. If you can fix minor problems or recognize big ones and do not mind repairs, than the purchase of a vehicle could suit you. Remember, whether leasing or buying, regular scheduled maintenance (changing the oil, replacing the air filter, or rotating tires) is important to the value of the vehicle. If you lease a vehicle and do not take proper care of it, you can be charged for the abuse.

If in the past you have bought a car, and as soon as it was paid for you were looking into another new vehicle, you may want to consider leasing. It is generally the same idea and you will be able to do so with a lower monthly payment. However if you buy a vehicle and drive it for around ten years, than leasing may not appeal to you.

If you choose to try and get out of a lease contract early, you will be able to, but you will probably incur heavy fees. It is good to make sure that the vehicle you choose will suit your needs for the length of the contract. For example, if you are looking into starting a family in the next couple of years, you may not want to lease a small two-door sports car if in a year you are going to need a larger or safer vehicle for your family.

If you decide to lease or buy your next vehicle it’s important to do your homework. Research a variety of cars, and shop around different dealerships. If you feel pressure from a salesman you can always leave. Ask for help and advice from friends or family members who have purchased or leased a vehicle recently. Bring someone you know who is good with a salesperson. Spend as much time on it as you need to feel 100% comfortable. When you finally choose the right vehicle and terms, make sure to read every word of the contract and ask questions about anything you don’t understand. The more information you know beforehand, the more equipped you are to get the better deal and you will feel more comfortable.

So the next time you see that car commercial and your in the market for that car or truck, do your homework and determine if you a buyer or leaser. Remember, it’s all up to you.

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