Leasing a car is a popular alternative to buying if you live in Seattle and are looking to drive a brand new vehicle every few years. However, lease deals are typically only available to consumers with good credit, so it can be difficult to qualify if your credit is bad. Even if you’re able to get a bad credit lease deal, you may be better off financing.

Bad Credit Car Lease Requirements

Leasing a Car with Bad Credit in SeattleWhat does it take to get a bad credit car lease in Seattle? To start, you need a credit score that falls into the subprime (501 to 600) or nonprime (601 to 660) range. If you have a credit score below 500, it’s almost impossible to qualify for a lease.

In addition to having the right credit score, lessors dealing with bad credit leasing are probably going to ask for additional documents in order to approve you. These can include:

  • Proof of income – A recent computer-generated pay stub showing year-to-date earnings.
  • Proof of residence – A recent utility bill in your name listing the address on the application.
  • Personal references – A list of five to eight personal references complete with names, addresses, and home and work phone numbers.
  • Security deposit – You must make the first month’s lease payment up front, and you may be asked to make a security deposit (or multiple security deposits). Not to be confused with a down payment, you get the security deposit(s) back at lease end as long as everything's in order on the vehicle.

When it Makes Sense to Buy Instead

What about buying a car? If you’re dealing with bad credit and are on the fence about leasing, you should know that it makes more sense to buy instead of lease a vehicle in Seattle in some cases.

It's easier to get approved for an auto loan with bad credit than it is a lease. Plus, you get the chance to improve your credit score if you're able to make all of your payments on time. This can help you get in a better position to lease in the future.

Bad credit car buyers in Seattle can typically qualify for subprime auto loans, which are offered by subprime lenders that work through special finance dealerships. These lenders consider your credit and generally require a down payment (usually $1,000 or 10% of the vehicle’s selling price, whichever is lower), but consider outside factors such as income, residence stability, and employment to approve credit-challenged buyers.

The downside to financing through a subprime lender is the interest rate. Most bad credit car buyers receive a higher than average interest rate, which increases the overall cost of a loan. The good news is you can lower the overall cost by making a larger down payment, or, in some cases, adding a cosigner or co-borrower to the loan.

Ready to Get Your Next Car in Seattle?

Whether you decide to lease or buy your next vehicle, it’s important you know where your credit score stands, and what options are available to you in the Emerald City. When you’re ready to get the process started, Auto Credit Express is here to help.

We work with a nationwide network of dealers in Seattle and across the country that know how to help people with bad credit get financed. Let us guide you toward a local dealership! Get started by filling out our simple and free auto loan request form.