Leasing can be a smart option for individuals who don't want to get locked into purchasing a new vehicle. However, it's not for everyone. There are three factors that come into play when qualifying to lease a car: your credit score, your available funds, and your debt-to-income ratio. Understanding how these factors work together will help you to qualify to lease a car.
Research the vehicle. If you want to qualify to lease a car, you first need to research the type of car you are considering for lease. You will need information on the invoice pricing in order to negotiate the best lease. Additionally, if the payments are too high when compared with your current income and financial obligations, it's unlikely that you'll qualify for the lease.
Check your credit. You'll need to have above-average credit to qualify for a lease. Checking your credit before you attempt to lease a car will give you the chance to clean up any potential problems.
Call several dealers who sell the car you want. If possible, get not only their current prices but also their baseline credit requirements to be sure that you qualify. Don't limit yourself to two or three dealers. If possible, broaden your search to neighboring towns as well.
Clean up your credit, if necessary. If you find that you don't meet the minimum credit requirements, there are a few things you can do. Get current on any past-due balances listed on your credit report. Keep the balances on your credit cards low, and give your credit a few months to bounce back.
Save up. If you haven't already, consider saving for a down payment on the lease. Having a down payment for the lease can get you better payment terms as well as lower pricing across the board.
Visit the dealer who offers the best price. Try to visit during a day and time when sales are low, usually the middle of the day on a weekday. It can also help to visit at the end of the month, when dealers are under pressure to meet quotas for sales.
Negotiate from the invoice price up. Invoice pricing generally provides a slim profit margin for the dealer, and you can increase the offers from there. If you try to negotiate from the sticker price down, you'll usually end up paying too much.
Be sure you can meet the terms of the lease before you sign. Leasing is not the best option for everyone. If you drive a lot, you may risk paying hefty fees at the end of the lease due to mileage overages.