When it comes to leasing a car in Los Angeles, it helps to have impeccable credit. But, if your credit isn't good, it doesn't always mean you can't get a leased vehicle, but it's typically going to be much more difficult to get approved.
Is Leasing for You?
Leasing isn't for everyone, so make sure it's something that fits into your lifestyle before you take the plunge. Leased cars need to be returned to the dealership in good condition, and you're only allowed a certain number of miles.
So, the less you drive the more likely you're going to be able to meet these requirements. Turning in a vehicle with more than normal wear and tear could cost you a bundle in out-of-pocket repair costs, and every mile over the limit that you didn't pay for upfront is going to cost you – typically around 25 cents per mile. LA is a big city and it's easy to do a lot of driving, depending on your daily grind, so you have to be honest when you estimate how much you typically do.
Leasing a Car vs. Financing a Car
Leasing a car isn't the same as financing in The City of Angels. With a lease, you get to drive a new vehicle every few years and the monthly cost is generally more affordable than purchasing a car. However, because you don't own the vehicle, you're not benefiting from any equity in the car once you turn it in.
When you lease, you're only paying for the part of the vehicle you use, plus interest and applicable fees. Part of the amount you pay has to do with the difference between the negotiated price of the car, called the capitalized cost, and the residual value, or the estimated worth of the vehicle at lease end.
In order to help reduce the amount you pay each month, you can negotiate a capitalized cost reduction. This is often the amount of a trade-in or any lease deals you qualify for. Instead of a down payment, which doesn't save you money in leasing as it does in financing, you're responsible for an amount due at signing (typically the first month's payment plus tax and any security deposit), an acquisition fee, and any registration and title fees.
When your lease is over, you now have a few options: buy the car for the agreed upon amount, return the vehicle and walk away, or lease a new car again. Walking away might incur extra charges such as a disposition fee, so be sure you know what you must bring in.
Car Leasing Tips
If you decide leasing is the way to go for you, we have a few tips to help you:
- Know what's negotiable – Some of the prices you encounter in leasing are set by the leasing company, but some are negotiable dealer fees. Make sure you know how to haggle, and don't accept a dealership that takes you for a ride on the little things.
- Get the right vehicle – Just like buying, make sure you're getting the right car for your needs, and make sure it's got a high residual value. The more the vehicle is worth in the end, the lower your monthly payment is going to be.
- Don't focus on monthly payment alone – Leasing typically gets you a lower monthly payment than traditional financing, but it shouldn't be the only cost you focus on. If you take the total lease amount into account, you can more easily compare lease deals to get the best price possible.
- Choose wisely – It's possible that you could get a better deal on a car that's in stock on a dealer's lot. By choosing a vehicle they want to move, you may find there are more incentives available. Also, avoid add-ons that could increase your overall cost. A lot of add-ons can be more affordable elsewhere.
Do You Know Where to Turn?
If you're unable to get approved for a lease after all these steps, it may be time to turn to financing. There are a lot of dealerships in The City of Angels that work with bad credit car buyers, and Auto Credit Express is teamed up with a large network of them. These special finance dealers have lenders that can help people through their credit struggles.
Because not every lender can work with bad credit, and not all dealerships work with lenders that can, don't stress yourself out driving all over Los Angeles looking for the right bad credit car loan. Instead, we'll help take the hassle out of finding financing. Fill out our auto loan request form today, and we'll get to work matching you with a dealer near you in the greater Los Angeles area.