Lease or Buy?Jul 9th, 2013
Lease? Or buy? These are the options for Fairbanks drivers. It's always a tough question for auto owners, but here is some info that'll help you make an informed decision.
If you buy, you'll pay the full cost of the vehicle, maybe an initial down payment, monthly payments on the balance that pays down the loan principal, and the finance charge.
Fairbanks drivers who lease finance the portion of the cost of the vehicle that's used up during the term of the lease. You'll pay some money up front: fees, security deposit, first month's payment and maybe a capital reduction. The monthly payments include a depreciation cost and a finance charge. When the lease is up, you return the vehicle to your local Fairbanks area dealership.
So how do Fairbanks drivers decide?
First, how much do you have for a down payment? A lease usually requires a smaller down payment.
How much monthly payment can you afford? Again, lease payments will be much lower for any given down payment.
A lease needs requires better credit, so that's a factor.
How long will you keep the vehicle? Fairbanks drivers who keep their vehicles around for a while will pay less if they buy. But just two or three years? Then leasing is the way to go.
If your car might suffer a ding or two, like a work truck would, then buying's better. The auto leasing company will want their vehicle back at the lease end in tip top shape, and if repairs are needed, you'll pay.
How far do you drive in and around the Fairbanks area? Important to consider because leases have a mileage limit; if you go over, you pay a hefty charge per mile/kilometer when the lease is up. So high mileage AK drivers should definitely buy.
Will the car be used in your business? Check with your accountant, but both financing options have different tax benefits, depending on your circumstances.
Over the short term, leasing is much cheaper. Medium term, leasing and buying costs are about the same. Over the long haul, leasing always costs more.
Leases may sound a bit complicated, and the typical lease decision weighs more on the monthly payment rather than price. So sometimes Fairbanks leasers may pay on a higher purchase price than a buyer would.
Here is a tip: If the salesman asks if you'll be leasing or buying, say you're not sure yet. Make your best deal, then look at your financing options.
Here's another: With a buy or a lease, if you total the vehicle, you'll owe the full amount of the loan, or the balance of the lease payments. Usually, it's less than the vehicle's fair market value, and that's all your AK auto insurance company will pay. But ask your Fairbanks agent about gap insurance, which pays the difference between fair market value and what you owe. Big consideration for a lease.
Remember, you have to return your leased vehicle in excellent condition and may need to do all the vehicle manufacturer's recommended service and maintenance or face penalties. So see your local advisor at your Fairbanks auto repair shop or Gabe's Truck & Auto Repair on a regular basis, get the required work done and save the service records. It's well worth it.