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Learn2 Lease a Car
(4 steps)

Drive a hard bargain!

With the average cost of a new car hovering around $20,000, many people are searching for purchase alternatives--but lease contracts are both misleading and mind-boggling. If you always like to drive a new car, or if you don't want to pay for the depreciation of a new car, a lease may be a good idea.

But if you drive your cars hard or keep them until they fall apart, think again: leasing is not so simple as a making some payments and giving the car back. Still, there are some good reasons to pursue this path. After all, one out of four cars today are leased, about three out of four in the luxury car range.

The make-up of the contracts can vary greatly from company to company. For this reason, it's especially important to both understand the agreements and--of course--shop around for what you need.

Before you begin

Let's be clear about what a lease is. If you lease, you have no obligation to keep the car after the end of the lease term (on a closed lease), as long as you have observed the mileage and wear-and-tear stipulations. But you'll also have to find another car. Basically, a lease is a long-term rental agreement.

Make sure you look for the car that is right for you. Don't settle for a good deal on something you don't want. As with any contract, read the small print. An incredibly low monthly payment should send up warning signs: there may be hidden charges.
   Go to Step 1 of 4

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Step 1: Know the language
Step 2: Assess the costs
Step 3: Contract according to your needs
Step 4: Understand end-of-lease charges

All of these items are optional, but still recommended.
  • A pen and paper (for keeping notes)
  • A folder or notebook (for storing ads and notes)
  • A calculator (to double-check the salesperson's math)


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