Buying a new car can be a huge commitment, one that you might not be ready for. However, if you do want access to a vehicle, you might consider leasing a car. If you go this route, bear in mind that there are certain steps you can — and should — take that will make the process much less stressful.
First of all, be sure you know exactly what leasing a car entails. It’s similar to renting a car, but for a much longer time period, at the end of which you return the car to the dealer at a reduced value. And while it’s not as big a responsibility as buying a car, you will have to sign a contract that will bind you to this vehicle and the dealer for a certain length of time. Most leases range anywhere from two to five years; your reasons behind leasing should affect the lease length. For example, if you’re leasing a car because you want to be able to continually drive a new car but can’t afford to buy one, try a three-year lease. After the third year is when new cars tend to show their wear, and once the first lease runs out you can lease a new car. If you’re leasing because you want to find a car to eventually buy, try as short a lease as you can, so you can test out cars for shorter periods of time and move through vehicles more quickly.
Second, do you research and find out if you can take advantage of any car leasing deals or specials. Many manufacturers offer these — just take care to read the fine print, as there could be hidden costs.
Then, try to figure out how much your monthly payment will be so you can avoid paying too much once you sign an actual lease. Many dealerships have calculators on their web sites that will help you figure this out.
Now, the time has come to choose the car you want to lease. You might have your heart set on a particular model, but the more flexible you can be, the better deal you’re likely to get. Make sure you test drive the car before making a final decision; this will also provide ample opportunity to speak with the dealership representative plainly and study the way he or she speaks and behaves. Are you comfortable with this person. Does he or she come off as shifty or untrustworthy? It’s easy to get paranoid about car salespeople — they get a bad rep. However, it’s equally easy to trick yourself into thinking you’re being paranoid. Follow your instincts.