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    Best Auto Lease Deals

    keys and contract leasing category

    Leasing never sounded like a good option to us. Monthly payments, mileage restrictions, drive and treat the car like it's their baby, you don't have any equity, and so on, and then we looked into leasing a vehicle.

    If you don't have the cash to buy and wanted something decent, leasing was the way to go. This option is getting more popular these days as one out of three dealership cars is being leased.

    In basic terms, you "rent" a car with certain limitations. You make a small down payment, typically around 20% of the sales price, though everything is negotiable. Pay your monthly bill, take good care of it, and return the car at the end of the lease.

    It sounds simple but involves rather cumbersome research skills beforehand as well as learning a few tricks to make sure your encounter with a sales professional goes as planned.

    Here are a few things to know before you go car shopping.

    Best Auto Lease Deals

    Step 1: Know the Industry

    It helps to know how dealers operate. It doesn't matter if you go with a small or large scale dealer, they all work with tricks; make sure you have some of your own.

    When it comes to inventory, for example, smaller dealers and some heavyweights, too, don't actually have the car pictured online. After they found out what you want, they go search for your dream vehicle everywhere.

    If you're lucky, you could get a decent car for a low price from an auction. Larger dealers naturally have a bigger inventory on-site, but what are the odds of finding the one that has everything you wanted on one lot?

    Step 2: Defining Your Standards

    Make a list of your "must-haves". If you want a reliable, fuel-efficient car with Bluetooth and ended up with neither of the three, then you're going to be disappointed. The actual leasing process can be extremely stressful, so it doesn't hurt to have a list of the most important things that matter to you, i.e., safety features, sound system, reliability ratings, or excellent performance.

    Step 3: Consider Your Financing Options

    Among your options are dealerships or their third party lenders, banks, credit card companies, or private loans. With money in your pocket, you can better negotiate with the dealer as opposed to using their financing options.

    Step 4: Set Your Price Range

    How much can you afford monthly? The bigger the down payment, the lower your monthly rate will be. The overall price goes up a notch after revealing that you are planning on leasing, so mention that last!

    Step 5: Pick Your Dream Car

    Time to put the pieces together. Make, model, features, and possible add ons. You are designing your dream car. Keep insurance fees in mind when it comes to the model’s year and safety features.

    Step 6: Find Out the Invoice Amount

    Next are Kelley Blue Book and Edmunds for finding out the cars' fair market value and its invoice price. The dealer roughly paid the lowest price, so keep that in mind when negotiating. Have a clear price range in mind for both monthly and down payment before you go "out there.”

    Step 7: Go Out There

    Start online. Make up a new email address and go enjoy online shopping! This part matters as you will be prompted to leave your information, and they will immediately start bombarding you with calls, emails, and texts.

    Get an idea of what's available and what you picture yourself driving in. If you're planning on going to a large dealership instead of researching online first, know exactly what you want!

    Step 8: Meet The Sales Professional

    Now find out who actually has your dream car in inventory and if it's within your budget. This part is the hardest, but you have your separate to keep it all together.

    When you decide on a car, you'll probably have to meet the dealer representative at some point. By now, you know what you're doing, so let the games begin.

    Test drives go without saying, and an inspection is always advisable, but that's up to you. Assuming you settled on a particular car - enter negotiations. Now is the time to casually through in that you are also considering leasing it and ask for the terms.

    Are they still within your budget? Is the fine print acceptable? In other words, check for everything! Mileage per year, wear and tear assumptions, total lease months; read the whole thing and don't just initial because the dealer got you all excited!

    Step 9: Wheel and Deal

    Ask for the terms to be rearranged if you have better options. At this point, the dealer would hate to lose you, so try to adjust them to your liking. If you cannot come to an agreement, walk away! They will come back to you.

    If you are alright with the terms - congratulations! You just cut a large amount of money into a manageable monthly payment.

    Step 10: Enjoy Your New Car and Skills

    After a very long processing time, you get the keys. Some dealerships avoid this by delivering your car, so check for that option. When it's all said and done, you should feel thrilled about your negotiation skills and your new vehicle.


    There simply isn't a universal formula to determine the ultimate auto lease deal. It depends on your cash reserves, your credit, research put in, negotiation skills, and a bit of being "at the right place at the right time" luck. Or patience, which is an excellent attribute to have when car shopping but who has it, right?

    With enough foresight into the future, meaning you can maintain the car the entire length of the lease, it's a good option for those short on much cash or wants to change rides every couple of years.

    Nothing wrong with that. Just be sure of the time frame to avoid penalties for early returns. And, needless to say, if you cannot make your payments, the car will be gone. You don't own a vehicle; you lease it.