Buying vs Leasing | Which Is Right For Me?

Here’s the short of it – If you are unsure if you should choose to lease or buy a car, start by calculating your hypothetical monthly costs for leasing vs. owning. You also want to consider how much flexibility will matter to you further down the road. Depending on your costs and needs, you’ll be able to decide if you should to lease or buy.

What If I Want To Lease | Potential Benefits of Leasing

(For More Info Specific to Leasing see Our Page on Leasing)

Depending on your desires and lifestyle, it can still make sense to lease instead of buy. Here are a few potential benefits of leasing:

  • Lower down payment
  • Lower monthly payments available
  • Repairs are typically covered under warranty
  • No selling involved when your lease is up
  • Possible advantage of a new car every few years

But What About Buying? | The Potential Benefits of Buying/Loans

Here are the potential benefits of buying as apposed to leasing:

  • Eventually you will fully own the vehicle
  • More choice in insurance coverage
  • If you are into modifying your vehicle, you may have to fear less about voiding a warranty
  • No mileage limits if you have a long commute or roadtrip often
  • You can sell the car after it’s paid off

Are you in the market for a new vehicle? Maybe your current car is getting a little old, costing more in maintenance and gas than a newer vehicle. If you’re still wondering what the best option is for you let’s look at some factors that should help you make a decision between buying or leasing.

If you’re looking for the most cost-effective option in the long run, buying a used car and keeping it for a few years after you’ve paid it off is often the best choice. But what if you want the cutting edge in technology or the most-up-to-date safety features? Leasing may give you the freedom to make the periodic upgrades you’re looking for without breaking the bank.

The truth is there’s no one-size-fits-all option when it comes to the question of lease vs. buy. Still, going over some key factors can help in making a decision on whether or not it would make more sense to buy or lease.

Let’s look at some of the most important factors that should play a role in determining whether or not you should buy or lease.

Monthly Costs

Monthly Payments

If the main goal is to get the lowest possible monthly payments, leasing could be the ideal option for you. Monthly lease payments are usually lower than loan payments. They tend to be based on the car’s depreciation during the period you are driving it, instead of the actual purchase price.

Lower monthly payments may help balance your budget, but you need to be aware that when you are leasing, your monthly payments won’t add up to direct ownership of the vehicle. That means you will likely lease again, which means more monthly lease payments. Buying a car though, means you know your monthly payments will eventually stop when you pay off the car.

Insurance Costs

When you lease a car, you usually are required to get more coverage than you may want. Leasing companies typically have their own specific standards for what qualifies as acceptable insurance and those standards usually are higher than what you would personally want to have for insurance.

Although insurance standards will vary depending on the leasing company, they usually have to include comprehensive and collision coverage. It could be a good idea to get gap insurance as well, though some lease agreements actually include it at no additional cost. A typical question we are asked is “What is Gap Insurance?”. If you lose your car due to an accident or theft, you’ll likely still be require to pay off your loan or lease. Gap insurance helps you minimize the loss by covering the difference between what you owe and what the insurance company will deem your car’s worth.

Overall Costs

Potential Down Payment

Thinking about potentially financing your next car? Your required down payment could be around 10% to 20% of the car’s total cost. The actual amount of cash you would need depends on several different factors though, including your credit scores. For example, someone with a low credit score who wants to finance a more expensive vehicle would likely have to have a larger down payment. A used car, or a model with less overall features might be the best for a budget-conscious down payment, especially if your credit scores are lower.

That being said, leasing may require a down payment as well. This is especially true if you’re interested in negotiating the lowest potential monthly payment.

Potential Repairs

Do you have the tendency to get a lot of bumps and scratches on your car? If you live in a more dense city center, or have a longer commute, you may put more wear and tear on your vehicle.

The cost of repairs can hit both sides of the spectrum though. Cars are typically leased for three years, so if you lease a brand-new car it will likely be covered by a warranty for the time of your lease. But you will still have to replace worn tires, scratched windows and other damage to the car before you return the vehicle.

On the flip side, as cars get older the cost of repairs can get expensive quickly. If you decide to buy, you should also budget regular maintenance and typical upkeep.

Depreciation Factors

If you own the car, the more miles you put on the odometer, the faster the vehicle depreciates. In fact, putting a ton of mileage on your vehicle is typically the quickest way to reduce the value.

But putting lots of miles on car can be a bigger problem if you lease. Auto leases can come with mileage limits, typically set around 12k per year for a standard lease. Going over that number can mean paying a fee for every mile you are over.

Flexibility

For many, the idea of being locked into a specific vehicle over a long period of time is less than ideal. If that sounds like you, leasing may not be ideal for you.

But leases may also not be as flexible as you think. If you are tired of your vehicle or your needs change, you may want to think twice about turning the car in before your lease ends. If you break a lease early, you could be on the hook to pay some steep penalties. You could even potentially be required to cover all the remaining payments and additional payments on top of fees.

As a regular car buyer, you may have more freedom to get rid of your vehicle. While it’s not ideal to sell your car at certain times, you can still sell whenever you’d like to – without incurring fees, but you still may be responsible for any remaining balance owned on your auto loan.

That’s why knowing how often you’ll want a new car is key factor in determining what’s a smarter choice in the lease vs buy discussion. Not sure how often you will want to switch out vehicles, it may be helpful to think about your past few cars and how frequently you’ve traded or sold them in the past.

Here’s The Point

As with any major purchase, it’s important to do your homework ahead of time. Decide whether or not you want to buy or lease before coming into the dealership. Shopping for good rates and comparing numbers is always a good idea. Here are the main important points and costs to look at before making your decision:

  • Monthly auto payment
  • Insurance
  • Down payment
  • Annual mileage
  • Repairs
  • Depreciation

Ulimately, the best decision will depend on your vehicle preferences, your budget, and how important expenses are that you may incur down the road. If you have any questions or want to reach out to our team for more help in the decision making process – don’t hesitate to chat with us or fill out the form below!

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