Swapping A Car Lease

For millions of Americans, car leasing has proven a viable way to get into a brand-new vehicle without the commitment attached to buying. But what if the lease is still too much of a commitment?

Lately, quite a few services have cropped up that match leasees with people who are willing to take over those leases. But as with anything there's a catch. Offering up some tips is Smartmoney.com editor Ray Hennessey.

Most people lease a car because they want to have a bigger car they might not otherwise be able to afford to buy. Unfortunately, you are locked in for years when you lease and they are hard to get out of, which may leave a person feeling stuck.

But now, there are websites popping up offering new programs matching buyers and sellers, like www.swapalease.com and www.leasetrader.com. "What these guys do for a fee, if you have a leased car, you can put it on with the details of the car, and for a fee, people who are looking to buy a car towards the end of its lease can match up," explains Hennessey. "That's good for a lot of people who may want sort of a newer car for a couple of years, but don't want the commitment to buy."

The fees of lease swapping compared to breaking a lease on a car can be substantial. When you break the lease on a car, essentially you are buying it. "Even these services have a catch," says Hennessey. "if you want to go through this and post your car up there, you can expect to pay 300 dollars. It's not necessarily cheap."

All the lease companies hate this lease swapping, so they add a lot transfer fees on this. "When you lease, they do it based on your credit, not the credit of the person assuming the lease," Hennessey adds. Of course, not all car companies will allow you to swap the lease. They have a contract with you, and you are expected to live up to it, and don't want you to get out of it.

Hennessey reminds there may be a lot of fine print to sort through, but these sites can be good for people who are looking for a new car for a short period of time and really don't want to commit to a long term lease.

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by Jenn Eaker

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