Taking over someone else's car lease

April 23, 2009 4:21:14 PM PDT
If you can't pay your car loan you may have to sell, but if you are in a lease the options may seem limited. However there is a growing trend that could mean bargains for car shoppers. Little money down and a low monthly payment deals do exist on cars, but when it comes to taking over someone else's lease you have to do a lot of homework.

The 2008 Mustang convertible is a nice ride that Jason Saunders got at a great deal on. His monthly payment is about $275.

Saunders got his Mustang after someone else decided they no longer wanted to keep up the lease. He used the Internet to find the car and says while taking up another person's lease can be a way to get a great deal, the process may not be for everyone.

"When you go to the dealership, there are expectations that you can drive the car away that day or in a couple of days, this process can take several weeks," he warned.

Saunders tells us the finance companies involved had to sign off before he could get the keys and that took time. The Mustang comes from a lease holder in Chicago and that meant shipping fees needed to be paid to get the car to Houston. He also paid a fee to the company that set up the lease trade.

Overall Saunders says the deal was still a good one, but there are things he would have done differently.

"Try to look for something local," Saunders said. "It does get a lot more complex when a vehicle is in another state and you have to know what type of registration and titling you will have to go through."

Saunders will have the car for about a year when he hands it back to the dealership. He may get hit with more fees if he goes over the mileage allotment or if there is damage to the car. That's an important point the Houston Better Business Bureau says anyone considering taking over a lease must consider.

"Usually you get 12,000 to 15,000 miles," said Leah Napoliello with the Houston BBB. "Make sure you know because you do not want to go over that or you will have to pay for it. And in terms of damage, if you have any scratches or dents, make sure you have taken care of that."

One thing that made Jason Saunders deal better was that the old lease holder bought down the monthly payments. It's called an incentive and you should keep an eye out for them when considering assuming a lease.

Where can you find lease holders looking to get rid of their cars?

There are a couple of big companies in the US that have been around for a while. We have links to them and a quick lease trading guide for you to look at on my consumer blog.

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