I thought it’d be just as easy as showing up to the car dealership, signing a few pieces of paper, and driving off with my new ride. When you see car commercials on TV, you start to believe leasing a car is a quick and straightforward process.
You’re still left with the thought, “is it hard to qualify for a car lease?”
Leasing a car isn’t as easy as the marketers lead you to believe. But its not rocket science either.
I don’t mean to get you down if you’re looking for information on how to get approved for a car lease. I’m just trying to be realistic.
I want to give you the information you need to get approved without hassle – even if you’re trying to lease a Maserati in Miami while making $30,000 a year living in your parents’ basement.
Approval for all is our goal!
What You Will Need to Get Approved For A Car Lease
Before you think about heading down to the dealership, you’ll need to prepare. You’ll need a few things to ensure you get approved without any issues. Start by looking into these items:
Your Credit Score
It’s a no-brainer, but it still needs to be said – you need to find out your credit score before you go hunting for a car to lease. Bad credit isn’t detrimental to getting approved for a car lease, but you will have a higher down payment if you have below-average credit.
Likewise, the best leasing deals will always be available to those with immaculate credit. If your credit isn’t so hot, you may want to look into dealer-subsidized leases.
Related: What Credit Score Do I Need to Lease a Car?
Your Cash Flow
Leasing gives you one huge advantage over financing a car – you’ll typically pay less per month for the exact same vehicle. The flip side of this equation is you won’t have any trade-in value at the end of the lease. To determine if leasing is the right option for you, you’ll want to look at your cash flow.
If an extra $200 in your pocket at the end of each month could be substantial, then leasing may be the best choice.
How to Get Approved For a Car Lease: Step-By-Step Guide
Ultimately, being approved for a lease comes down to your credit score and cash flow. The better credit you have, the easier it will be to find a lease perfect for your needs.
Luckily, over 70% of lease applicants were approved in 2015. If you’re positive leasing is for you, then let’s get started. Here’s how to get approved for a car lease and find the perfect deal for your needs:
Understand the Benefits
While leasing a car can be beneficial in various ways, the main reason most choose to lease a car instead of buy one is this: you can drive a new car for much less than it would cost to purchase it. If a lower monthly payment is what you’re looking for, then leasing will be an excellent choice.
Set Your Budget
You can design your own lease to some extent, but you’ll need to set a budget first and foremost. Once you know what you can afford on a monthly lease payment, you can move on to selecting the terms of the lease.
Standard leasing terms include:
- Number of years
- Miles per year
- Drive-off fees
Three-year leases have been shown to give consumers the best value. Most leased cars include a three-year “bumper-to-bumper” warranty from the manufacturer. Cars leased on four- to five-year plans often break down and force the driver to pay hefty maintenance fees for a car they don’t own.
Shop For a Lease, Not a Car
Once you have your budget set and understand the terms you’re looking for, it’s best to shop for a lease instead of a particular car. If you’re flexible and willing to consider options from many manufacturers, you’ll often find a better deal compared to only looking for Ford or GMC vehicles, for example.
Car makers control the leases on their vehicles. Most leases for Ford cars are handled through Ford Motor Company, not a third party.
This lends hand to many car manufacturers offering lease deals on certain Ford models during different times of the year. Looking for manufacturer lease deals will often yield the best prices for most people.
Related: Why Do Cars Depreciate?
Print It Out
Shopping for a lease online is something every individual in the market must do. You need to know the deals available and what your budget can afford. Once you have found a few leasing deals, make sure you print them out. You’ll want to keep track of all the pricing when you go to a dealership in person.
Test Out the Salesperson
Once you’ve found a leasing deal you find enticing, it’s time to start the qualifying process. You’ll be calling dealerships, finding the car you want, and working with salespeople. Make sure you find a rep you feel comfortable with. Leasing a car is a big financial move, and you need to work with someone who you can trust.
Related: Want a Test Drive? Make The Salesperson Comfy
To ensure you find a reputable car dealership and salesperson, here are a few things to consider:
- Start online. Read reviews of the dealership and see if any of the salespeople are mentioned in reviews.
- Make sure you find someone who returns your calls quickly and answers your questions in a straightforward manner.
- Lastly, make sure to go with your gut. If something feels off about a car dealership or salesperson, then avoid doing business with them.
Once you have printed quotes from online deals, you can start to negotiate with salespeople. Call dealers and see if any of them can beat the prices you found online. If three or four dealers cannot beat that price, then there’s a good chance you’ve found a rock bottom deal.
If you’re determined to go to the dealership and get a deal, make sure you bring the pricing you printed out earlier.
Before you show any of your quotes, see what type of deal the salesperson on the lot will offer you. You never know who may need to close one more deal for the week or month. You may stumble on someone who is looking to play ball.
Once you find a deal you want, make sure you request to see a worksheet showing every number involved in the deal. You’ll be able to reveal any hidden fees this way and further compare quotes you found online.
Sign the Paperwork
Last, but not least – sign all the paperwork. When a deal is closed, you’ll be required to sign an array of documents. Make sure to read the fine print and compare the contract with the numbers in the worksheet. You’ll also want to ensure gap insurance is included in the contract to further protect your investment.
Good To Go! (Right?)
By following the guide above, you’ll not only get approved for a lease – you’ll be able to get a fantastic deal on a great car. If you have any other tips and tricks to ensure a great deal on a lease, feel free to sound off in the comments.