Buying vs Leasing


Buying a vehicle is a fairly straightforward process which offers a number of advantages. You have complete ownership of the vehicle which is titled in your name or you borrow money from an automotive lending agency (we can help with this!), and then make monthly payments until the loan is paid off. As you make payments, you gain equity in the vehicle until it’s eventually all yours. You can keep the vehicle as long as you like and you can do whatever you want to it, from installing aftermarket accessories to giving it a custom paint job. You have the ability to keep the vehicle, trade it in or sell it at any time.


One big advantage of car leasing is flexibility. You aren’t making a long-term commitment and can usually drive a more expensive vehicle with a lower monthly payment. Typically, car leasing is for a relatively short period, 2-3 years being the norm. The average new car loan, on the other hand, is five years. When the lease period is up, you have options, which include simply bringing the car back and walking away.

Our Brown’s Team members can help you discover an option that works for you. Below are some of the major differences between buying and leasing. We are happy to calculate the financial difference between an automotive loan and lease, feel free to call or stop in for an appointment with our Safford Brown Finance Manager.


Buying from Safford Brown

Leasing from Safford Brown

OwnershipYou own the vehicle and get to keep it as long as you want it.You don't own the vehicle. You get to use it but must return it at the end of the lease unless you decide to buy it.
Up Front CostsThey include the cash price or a down payment, taxes, registration and processing fee. Often they require a down payment.They typically include the first month's payment, a refundable security deposit, a down payment, taxes, registration and processing fee. Often there is no down payment required when leasing, or only a low one.
Monthly PaymentsLoan payments are usually higher than lease payments because you're paying off the entire purchase price of the vehicle, plus interest and other finance charges, taxes, and processing fees.Lease payments are almost always lower than loan payments because you're paying only for the vehicle's depreciation during the lease term, plus interest charges (called rent charges), taxes, and processing fees.
Early TerminationYou can sell or trade in your vehicle at any time. If necessary, money from the sale can be used to pay off any loan balance.If you end the lease early, you may be charged early-termination fees.
Vehicle ReturnYou will need to sell or trade-in in your car when you decide you want a different one. (We will buy your car even if you don't buy from us!)You can return the vehicle at lease-end, and walk away. You can also buy it and keep it if you have fallen in love with it!
Future ValueThe vehicle will depreciate but its cash value is yours to use as you like.On the plus side, its future value doesn't affect you financially. On the negative side, you don't have any equity in the vehicle.
MileageYou're free to drive as many miles as you want. (but the value of your vehicle may decline with higher mileage).Most leases limit the number of miles you may drive, often 12,000 to 15,000 per year. (You can negotiate a higher mileage limit at lease inception.) If you do go over, you will be responsible for charges above miles in you lease.
Maintenance & Excess Wear/TearYou choose what and when to repair your vehicle. You don't have to worry about wear and tear, but it could lower the vehicle's trade-in or resale value.The leasing company will set the maintenance guideline and will be responsible for normal wear and tear. If you exceed what is considered normal wear and tear, you may be charged extra.
End of TermAt the end of the loan term (typically five years), you have no further payments and you have built equity to help pay for your next vehicle. You can keep it, sell it or trade it in.At the end of the lease (typically two to four years), you can turn the vehicle in and walk away. If you love it, you can buy/finance the vehicle; or lease or buy another vehicle.
CustomizingThe vehicle is yours to modify or customize as you like.Because the lessor wants the vehicle returned in sellable condition, any modifications or custom parts you add will need to be removed before you return the car. If there is any residual damage, you may be responsible to have it fixed.

Our finance managers are happy to review the benefits of buying versus leasing. Feel free to call or email us with any questions. We always have a finance manager on staff during sales hours that can answer any questions you may have and review advantages of auto buying, financing and leasing. We want to find the best option that fits your lifestyle and driving needs – Buy Happy!