Car Lease Takeover: Benefits of Taking Over a Car Lease
If you’re shopping for a new car, you may be debating buying versus leasing. But there’s a third way: assuming someone else’s car lease. A car lease takeover could save you money on an almost-new car. But lease swaps aren’t always easy to find and even when you do, there may be penalties to pay. We’ll walk you through the pros and cons, as well as the process of taking over a car lease.
- Advantages of taking over a car lease
- Disadvantages of taking over a car lease
- How to take over a car lease
- Alternatives to a car lease takeover
Advantages of taking over a car lease
Leasing, like buying, typically involves a down payment, money that you wouldn’t have to pay if you took over that lease. In other words, you could benefit from what the current car leasee put down on the car when they first got it, plus any incentives they’re offering to the prospective new leasee.
No down payment
The current leasee of the car may have given a large down payment on the car or traded in a car to make the lease payments lower. By taking over the car lease, you get the low monthly payments without giving the down payment.
Depending on how badly the current car leasee wants out of the lease, they may offer incentives for you to get in the lease, including a lump sum. A typical offer is to cover the transfer fees that a leasing company may charge. That fee could be hundreds, depending on the leasing company.
Best terms on not-the-best credit
You generally need great credit to lease a vehicle. But you may only need good credit to take over a vehicle lease. If the original leasee had great credit when they got the lease and you don’t have the best credit, you may be able to still qualify to receive their top-tier APR and terms.
If you are unsure what your credit score is, you may check your credit score here. And if you’re considering a car lease takeover because you couldn’t find the right loan for a car purchase, consider filling out an online form at LendingTree where you may be matched with up to five different auto loan offers from lenders based on your creditworthiness.
You get all the leasing rights of the first leasee
When you take over a lease, you obtain all the leasing rights that the first leasee had, including warranty coverage and lease-end options.
Many new cars come with a three-year, 36,000-mile “bumper-to-bumper” warranty. Within that time, the cost of parts and labor to repair certain breaks are covered by the automaker. By taking over a car lease while the car is still within that window of time and miles, you don’t have to worry about paying for any repairs out of pocket.
At the end of the lease, you may buy the car for a set amount, turn it in and walk away, or you could trade it in for another car and take advantage of special rebates and incentives that are offered exclusively for customers who trade in a leased car.
Disadvantages of taking over a car lease
There are many reasons why someone would want to get out of a lease: maybe they need a different type of car or they’re simply tired of this one. But there are also reasons that are good for them, but not for you, the new leasee. Maybe the leasee racked up the miles and wear-and-tear on the car. You could wind up paying for those damages and excess miles, even if they happened before you took over the lease. Here are a few other disadvantages to consider:
Taking over a car lease isn’t as easy as going to a dealership whenever you want and picking out a new car. Buyers must do the legwork of finding the right lease takeover, contacting the current leasee and negotiating any fees. We’ll talk about a few websites that connect lease “sellers” and “buyers.”
There many not be an opportunity available for the exact car you want at the time you need a car. You may have to settle for another car or wait.
Potential application and transfer fees
You may have to pay fees to apply to the leasing company for a credit check and you’re not guaranteed to be approved. The leasing company may also charge a transfer free to process all the paperwork and put your name on the lease.
Potential lease-end fees
Leasing companies charge fees for excess wear and tear, and miles on the vehicle. If you don’t check out the vehicle carefully before assuming the lease, you could be liable for damages you didn’t cause and miles you didn’t drive. Lease-trading companies advise that anyone taking over a car lease should schedule an inspection with a professional mechanic.
How to take over a car lease
First, you have to find a car lease. Sites like swapalease.com, leasequit.com and leasetrader.com connect people — typically for a fee — who want out of a car lease and people who want a car lease. You may also be able to find car lease takeover opportunities on sites such as Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace.
Once you find a suitable lease with the right car and the right lease terms, contact the current leasee with any questions you may have. To start the process, you and/or the current leasee need to contact the leasing company. As we mentioned earlier, the lessor will run a credit check on you for a fee. If you qualify, the lessor will guide you through the rest of the process.
Alternatives to a car lease takeover
In case the car you want isn’t available with the right terms at the right time for you, here are some alternatives to a car lease takeover.
Lease a new or used car
Rather than take over a lease from the current leasee, leasing a new car directly may suit you. Also, you may be able to lease a used car that has already been turned in to a dealership for a lower payment than leasing new.
Buy a new or used car
If you’re caught between leasing and buying, you could read this to find out which is the best for you. After all, you may be able to find a good deal on a car purchase. If you do decide to purchase, no matter whether the car you would like to buy is new or used, check out a free online industry guide, such as NADAguides or Kelley Blue Book to determine what it is actually worth. Here are questions to ask when buying a car, which could help you get the best deal.
If you are looking for the absolute least expensive way to get a car for transportation, look at peer-to-peer marketplaces, such as Craigslist, eBay and more. If you’re concerned about buying a car from a peer rather than a dealership, you could read more about how to avoid car scams on Craigslist.