Secondhand car leases can make sense

Secondhand leases can make a lot of sense, especially with some of the car manufacturers doing away with car leases altogether. A secondhand lease can be a win-win situation for those who want out of a lease and for those want to get into one.

Lisa Buyer doesn't like staying in one car for long, so she leases, but not through dealerships. She prefers very short terms and finds them through secondhand leases.

"It gives me the opportunity to switch cars more frequently than I would if I was going through a traditional lease," said Buyer.

A secondhand lease is when you take over the lease from someone who no longer wants it. According to Philip Reed, Senior Consumer Advice Editor at Edmunds.com, the process is simple.

"You're basically dealing mainly with an individual with the help of one of these companies which is facilitating the transfer from one person to another," said Reed.

Tight financing and an increase in the number of resale sites has put the secondhand leasing movement on the fast track. But insiders say consumer anxiety about long-term financing commitments is really driving the trend.

"If halfway through you decide don't want to lease anymore, this can be a huge financial impact," said Reed.

Reed says be careful. If you plan to sell your lease, make sure your leasing company allows the transfer and that you won't be responsible for anything after it's complete.

"Make sure that you're not picking up someone else's poor deal," advised Reed.

If you're taking over a secondhand lease, make sure the car has been inspected for damage and you've got a vehicle history report. Also, make sure that there are no "turn-in charges" at the end of your lease that you don't expect.

Lisa Buyer couldn't be happier with her new secondhand car.

"It was really just a matter of a couple of phone calls and a couple of e-mails and checking the status online which, to me, was just perfect," said Buyer.

Most secondhand lease companies allow you to browse for free, but once you're ready to make contact with a seller you usually pay some combination of fees that cover site registration, credit checks and to take over the lease.


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