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Should I Buy or Lease?

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If your clunker of a car is gasping its final breath, you are probably in the midst of deciding whether to lease or purchase a car.

To lease or to buy? It’s one of the age-old questions car buyers ask themselves. Unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. The option that’s right for you depends on a number of factors, including your financial situation, lifestyle and your future plans for the vehicle.

Before choosing the option that’s best for you, it is important to understand the difference between leasing and buying. When you lease, you basically “rent” the vehicle for a predetermined period of time. Leasing allows you to drive a brand new vehicle with lower monthly payments. Typically, lease agreements stipulate a mileage maximum for the lease period. Any additional mileage you put on the vehicle is an extra cost. At the end of your lease, you have the option to return the vehicle or purchase it. Leasing might be right for you if you:

  • Like driving a new car every couple years
  • Want a low monthly payment
  • Find new safety features and options very important
  • Always want a car under warranty so you won’t face major repair bills
  • Don’t care about ownership
  • Drive a limited number of miles
  • Have no depreciation concerns
  • Own a business and use the vehicle only for business purposes, you can claim it as a tax deduction.

An auto analyst resource at Edmunds points out that the decision between leasing and buying a car isn’t actually the difference in finances.  It’s a lifestyle choice.  People who like to drive a new car every few years find a lease much more appealing and they are usually able to drive nicer cars than they could afford to purchase.

When you buy a vehicle, you typically make a down payment, pay sales tax and finance the purchase price at an interest rate predetermined by your financial institution or Loan Company. Over the term of your loan you’ll pay the full cost of the vehicle, and once your loan term is up you own the vehicle and you’re free to sell it at any time. Buying a vehicle might be a good idea if you:

  • Can afford higher monthly payments
  • Like the idea of ownership
  • Don’t want to risk lease-end costs
  • Plan on driving the same vehicle for many years
  • Don’t mind covering repairs after the warranty expires
  • Are a high-mileage driver
  • Want to have a trade-in when getting their next car
  • Want to modify and/or accessorize your car

The bottom line on buying is the car you buy is yours, to sell, modify, or drive for 20 years if you like.  Granted, it won’t be worth as much as you paid for it when you finally put it to rest, but overall, buying usually costs less than leasing and provides you with much more flexibility.

Ultimately, the decision on whether to buy or lease will depend upon your specific circumstances, but being informed and weighing your options should help you find the best value for the vehicle you want.

Before making a decision to buy or lease, contact your local credit union! Their auto loan specialists can help you determine how much you can afford to spend and which option is best for you.

allU.S. Credit Union can help you decide if leasing or purchasing your next car makes the most sense for you.  If you feel that purchasing is your best bet, visit us and we can pre-approve you for the car you can afford that fits your lifestyle and budget.  Whichever you decide we can make purchasing your next car a fun and stress-free experience!  allU.S. Credit Union, Positively Different!

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